~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
Duty With The 410th MP Company
The 720th MP Battalion was a Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) first and foremost. However, there was a law enforcement mission to be taken care of at Fort Hood. Each company, if at full-strength, was four platoons strong and each had various duties while not deployed.
Fort Hood is a huge installation, with several different housing areas, troop barracks, offices, and so on. There were two different areas of Fort Hood, which were separated by a highway. The main post was at the north end and Grey Army Airfield at the south. South Fort Hood had housing areas, the airfield, and some offices.
When MP’s of the 720th were at Fort Hood, there were several facets, which made up daily life. There was always training to be done, and training was at the forefront of every officer and non-commissioned officer assigned to the battalion.
If I remember correctly, each company had one of three missions while on post. If the 411th was deployed, the 410th could be on the street, while the 401st was in their training cycle.
The training cycle was mainly filled with what we called "busy work." The cycle lasted for one month, I believe. Here is an idea of a typical day while in the training cycle:
0600 – Physical Training. Usually push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Occasionally, there was a battalion or brigade run, which would be up to 4 or 5 miles.
In the 1st Platoon, 410th MP Company, the sergeants always began the day one-hour early and stayed at least one-hour later than the troops. Since I was the only sergeant in the barracks, it was my responsibility to get the troops up, make coffee for the sergeants and get the platoon ready for the day. My day usually began 2 hours early, but I didn’t mind in the least.
During the training cycle, there were weapons qualifications, law-enforcement training, lots of physical training (PT), and just normal down time. Time was spent in the field, or sending soldiers to schools and time to catch up on all of the day-to-day activities for the sergeants and officers.
When the cycle moves to law enforcement, the shift work began. There weren’t a lot of times that the company in the law enforcement cycle could do things as a company, so the platoons would operate under the platoon leadership.
The days on the road were pretty much like days anywhere in the world for working class people. The example is one for a swing shift. Understand that the times for PT would change with the weather. If it was hot during mid day, PT would be conducted at night, after the shift.
1300 – Physical Training
For the MP’s at Fort Hood, the law enforcement mission was not unlike civilian law enforcement. There were three platoons working the street, 24-hours per day.
Each major command at Fort Hood had their own area of operations (AOR). The 89th MP Brigade worked the main area of the post, to include HQ, the Post Exchange (PX), III Corps housing areas, and Grey Army Airfield. The 1st Cavalry Division MP’s worked in the 1st Cavalry area (western main post). The 2nd Armored Division MP’s worked the 2nd Armored area (eastern main post). The divisional areas mainly consisted of troop barracks, and some housing. III Corps also split the responsibility for the ranges on the eastern, and northern areas of the installation.
To give you and idea of the size of Fort Hood, while working as a III Corps desk sergeant, I responded one Sunday morning to a fatal traffic accident up in the northern portion of the installation. I left the MP station in a patrol car, and driving with lights and sirens, it took me over 20 minutes to reach the accident scene. That was at emergency speed and with no traffic.
The 89th MP Brigade was the major command for MP’s at Fort Hood. There was a law enforcement activity (LEA) operation to handle the “skilled” parts of the law enforcement mission. When I say skilled, it’s just for lack of better words.
LEA had MP’s assigned as Investigators, K9, traffic, civilian liaison, game wardens, and desk sergeants. The rest of the LE mission was provided by the line units, and for the most part they (we) did a good job.
The dispatchers were civilian and worked at the MP Station, the people answering the emergency and non-emergency phone lines were the desk sergeants.
Each III Corps platoon had 7 to 10 motorized patrols, and no foot patrols. That number might be off, so don’t hold me to it. Most of the LE work done was in relation to domestic violence, theft, assaults and so on. However, in my two-plus years there, I responded to, or took calls involving: multiple murders (Luby’s Restaurant 1989), single homicides, robberies, sexual assaults, pursuits, foot-chases, officers calling for help, everything that civilian officers get into.
Our MP equipment was about par for the course in 1989 and into 1991. When I first got there, the MP’s were using Chrysler K-cars for patrol. We had .45 cal Colts (some WWII or Korean War vintage) our uniform for the street was always the battle dress uniform (BDU=fatigues) with the MP brassard. There were no gates at Fort Hood at this time, therefore there was no reason to wear the class 'b' or class 'a' uniform. I don’t think there was a white hat on post to be found.
The typical MP combat uniform in the 720th in 1989 was equipped as follows.
The battle dress uniform (BDU), and Privates through Specialist carried a .45 Colt, or 9mm., M16A1 rifle, load bearing equipment (LBE) with ammo and first aid pouches, canteen and poncho. Squad leaders carried the side arm, and the M16A1 with the M203 grenade launcher and the usual items on the LBE.
Some MP’s were equipped with additional items such as: the k-bar knife, extra canteens, and so on. There wasn’t too much made about the extra items as long as we didn’t go too far. SGT Brian T. "Sergeant Mac" McGlawn, Squad Leader, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, 410th MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Brigade, May 1989-February1990.
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