~ 720th Military Police Battalion History Project ~
1965 Timeline
  Regardless of MOS if you recognize or participated in any of the events listed on this Timeline page and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, old orders, media articles, photographs, or, if you can provide information on any events not listed, please take a moment to contact the History Project Manager (Tom Watson) at the Email Link provided below. Your contributions are important to the recording of your personal service, the Battalion history and are always welcomed here.
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This Page Last Updated  29 March 2018
4th U.S.
III Corps
720th MP
      All major theater activities, stateside incidents, or Cold War and Vietnam War events that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in Italic blue American Typewriter font.
Strategic Army Command (STRAC) Duty, Fort Hood, Texas
     At the start of the year the battalion’s organic units, HQ & HQ Detachment, Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Companies, and the 514th MP Platoon (POW Processing) attached subordinate, was headquartered subordinate to the U.S. 4th Army at Fort Hood Texas.
Personal Reflections
     “All ranks were frozen for all MOS 95B when I was there. I was E-4 acting Corporal and squad leader drawing $212.00 per month with Pro-pay [professional pay]. The CO apologized to me for not being able to get my sergeant stripes. He tried his best but everything was frozen. I turned down OCS because of the long commitment after active duty. Many of the guys, E-5 and E-6 and E-7’s were transferring out of the MP’s into infantry just to be able to make rank.   CPL Donald W. Suiter, Company A, 1963-1965.

     At Fort Hood in 1965, the only war stories the battalion troops were concerned with were those of the continuing buildup in South Vietnam that were dominating the evening television news and headlines of the local papers. Those in command had cause to be concerned. They were well aware that since 1962 the Battalion had already fueled the buildup by redesignating Charlie Company to reactivate the 560th MP Company for service in South Vietnam.

     As for the troops, the main topic that dominated their daily discussions was the latest rumors of who would be next in line for deployment. The short timers ended each day by marking a new X on the calendars they hung in their lockers, and hoping they would beat the deployment clock. As the short days and long cold nights of winter gave way to the start of spring, the deployment rumors became reality.
29 January SGM Lester Toliver of HQ&HQ Detachment was awarded the Army Commendation Medal during the monthly awards ceremony conducted by III Corps.
Wanted: Photograph of SMG Toliver. Please notify the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.

30 January The 1964-1965 III Corps Battalion Basketball League season was winding down with Fort Hood Post tournament championship play in the Post Units Division between the III Corps team and the battalion team in the Fort Hood Main Sports Arena. In the championship final III Corps beat the battalion by a narrow score of 79-72.

     In the eight-team double elimination the battalion MPs, who worked their way up through the losers bracket after sustaining a 44-39 setback to III Corps in the second round, had the games high scorer in Calvin Lewis with 24 points. During the tournament the battalion defeated, 1st Logistical Command 80-60, U.S. Army Garrison 81-65, 63rd Quartermaster Battalion 84-89, 185th Ordnance Battalion 88-67.
Wanted: Photographs of the battalion basketball & other teams from all eras. Please notify the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.
Exact Date Unknown The battalion’s four-member pistol team began competition in the Phase III Fort Hood Non-Divisional Pistol Championship held on post. Phase III is a 30-shot affair consisting of slow and fast fire periods. The battalion’s completion was 319th Military Intelligence Battalion, U.S. Army Garrison, 54th Signal Battalion, 185th Ordnance Battalion, HQ III Corps and U.S. Army Hospital. There was no media information located on how the battalion fared.
1 February The combined post unit’s basketball team named the For Hood Tanker’s, was formed to participate in play from February 5 through March 14 against teams representing, Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Huston, Paul Quinn College, Fort Sill, and in the 4th Army Tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The lone battalion representative selected for the Tanker’s was Walter Lewis, unit unknown.

13 February The following promotion and award of weapons qualifications badges were presented under Headquarters 720th MP Battalion Special Orders No. 26.

     SP/4 Gerald A. Liggitt (HQ & HQ Detachment) promoted to Specialist 5th Class E5, with MOS P716.30.

Expert Badge with Pistol Bar (45 cal.) to 1LT Berkwood M. Farmer (HQ & HQ Detachment); PFC Ronald D. Jackson (Alpha Company). With Rifle Bar (M14) to SP/4 Carman Grier, PFC Richard J. Brady, PFC Ronald D. Jackson, PFC Stephen E. Long, PFC Barry L. Ralph, all of Alpha Company.

Sharpshooter Badge with Pistol Bar (45 cal.) to SP/4 George W. Thompson, Jr. (HQ & HQ Detachment); PFC Stephen E. Long, 2LT William E. Thompson, PFC Dennis P. Carey of Alpha Company; and 1LT John R. Ballard and William D. Norman, of the 514th MP Platoon (POW Processing); and with a Rifle Bar (M14) to PFC George J. Kurowski, Jr. Alpha Company.
Marksman Badge with Pistol Bar (M14) to PFC Kenneth W. Mahaffey, PFC William G. Maupin, PVT Clarence R. Wells, PFC Richard J. Brady, PFC Donald A. Carr, PFC Stephen M. Ramsay, PFC Halrold L. Jones, 2LT Larry S. Edwards, PFC William E. Hamilton, PFC Bobby R. Blake, PVT Ignacio Armenta, Jr., PVT Philip T. Wagner, PVT Arthur L. Smith, all of Alpha Company; and PFC Joseph F. Corvino, SP/4 Frederick W. Elwell, PVT John H. Starkey, Jr., PVT Frederick P. Moll, SP/4 Dominic T. Pacile, of the 514th MP Platoon (POW Processing), with a Rifle Bar (M14) to PFC Jose A. Diaz, Alpha Company.
25 February The following HQ & HQ Detachment personnel were promoted, SP/4 Billy C. Bartlett to Specialist 5th Class, SP/4’s David Lee Boone and Fred A. Jacobsen to Sergeant.
     The following HQ & HQ Detachment personnel were awarded MOS changes, SP/5 Billy C. Bartlett to MOS P711.20, SGT David Lee Boone and SGT Fred A. Jacobsen to MOS P951.60.
     1LT Berkwood M. Farmer of HQ & HQ Detachment was assigned the added responsibility as temporary commander of the 514th MP Platoon (POW Processing) in the absence of 1LT John R. Ballard.
     PFC Michael H. Farmer of Bravo Company was reassigned to HQ & HQ Detachment. PVT E2 Michael J. Tuminellow of HQ & HQ Company, 245th Engineer Battalion, Baton Rouge, LA was assigned to HQ & HQ Detachment.
26 February The following battalion personnel were awarded the Good Conduct Medal (First Award): HQ & HQ Detachment, SP/5 Billy C Bartlett, SGT David Lee Boone, SGT Fred A Jacobsen, SP/4 Lively A. Jackson. Charlie Company, SP/4 Roy D. Mann, SP/4 Carol L. Pogue. Second Award: SGT Tommy W. Rosamond, HQ & HQ Detachment.
Exact Date Unknown The battalion was part of a rapid reaction force and trained for deployments for the protection of President Lyndon B. Johnson during his stays at the Johnson ranch outside of Johnson City, Texas.

Overview of The Bloody Sunday Civil Rights March

     "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.!" Newly elected Governor George C. Wallace (D) Alabama, 14 January 1963.

     The Dallas County (Alabama) Voters League, the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were all working for voting rights in Alabama. John Lewis headed SNCC's voter registration effort.

    On March 7 John Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led the group of 600 silent marchers from the Brown Chapel AME Church to the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and into an event later referred to in American civil right history as "Bloody Sunday."

Gov. Wallace
      Under orders of Governor George C. Wallace, a group of Alabama State Police attempted to turn away the group with force using billy clubs and tear gas resulting in a bloody assault on the marchers forcing them back to Selma. The incident, which was shown on television throughout the country, resulted in a national outrage. Federal District Judge Frank M. Johnson issued an order temporarily halting further marching so he could review the evidence.
8 March The first U.S. combat troops arrive in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines land at Nam O Beach, later nicknamed by the U.S. military as China Beach, located 15 kilometers northwest of Da Nang, to perform defensive screening of the perimeter of the U.S. air base at Da Nang. They joined the 23,000 U.S. military advisors already ion station in the south.

9 March The following battalion personnel were assigned TDY to the Fort Hood NCO Academy for training as indicated: 2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, Motor Officer Maintenance Course-4; PFC Michael H. Farmer, HQ & HQ Detachment, Small Arms Course-129.

     Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. organized a second march now joined by whites and blacks from other parts of the country had joined in their struggle after watching the television report on Bloody Sunday. Restrained by a court order, King led them to the Edmond Pettus Bridge, prayed and turned around returning to Selma.
14 March The battalion hosted a lunch at their mess hall for the forty-member Southwestern University Choir from Georgetown, Texas who appeared at several religious services on post to present their summer tour.
    On 17 March Judge Johnson lifted his restraining order, and ordered Governor Wallace to allow the marchers to continue under the protection of the Alabama State National Guard. An appeal by Governor Wallace to a three-judge circuit court to have Judge Johnson's ruling overturned was dismissed.
The Civil Rights March From Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
     The scheduled march by civil rights demonstrators  for 21 to 25 March was to be led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. starting from Brown's Chapel, Salem, and ending at the Capitol Building in Montgomery, Alabama where they planned to present a list of civil rights grievances. The governor informed President Johnson that the State of Alabama could not afford the cost to mobilize and deploy enough National Guard troops to protect the civil rights marchers. This gave President Johnson the ability to intervene and federalize the Alabama National Guard and deploy Federal Marshals and Regular Army troops.
Wanted: Information, photographs or personal stories relating to Operation STEEP HILL-XIII, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.
19 March The battalion was issued movement orders for deployment to Alabama to provide security for the civil rights marchers in support of Operation STEEP HILL XIII. Attached to the battalion was a medical team from C Company, 47th Medical Battalion, 1st Armored Division consisting of one officer and nine enlisted men commanded by CPT Javier T. Ramirez of Roma, Texas. Fourteen flights were provided to move the battalion elements from Gray Army Air Field, Fort Hood via C-130 transport to Craig Air Force Base, Alabama.
Personal Reflections

     “ I was in the process of clearing post for my discharge from active duty when I happened to be in the office one morning. I received a phone call from Post G2 that they were holding a classified document for me to pick up. I picked it up and the document instructed the battalion to implement Operation STEEP HILL XIII. I obtained the operational plan from the safe and took it to LTC Escola.

     By that evening, I was waiving goodbye to the battalion as they took off from the airport in route to Alabama to guard the Civil Rights Marchers. MAJ Karl E. Nestler the Battalion Executive Officer, wanted me to go with the unit and then fly back on my discharge day. The only problem was that the classified materials safe had to be inventoried and the combination changed whenever any personnel who had access to the safe departed the unit and that had not yet been done.

     The ability to handle all of the logistics to move that many people in such a very short time was truly impressive. “Ready Around the Clock” was proven.” SGT David Lee Boone, HQ & HQ Detachment, 720th MP Battalion, 4th Army, 1965 .

Personal Reflections

     “When I arrived at A Company on Friday morning, March 19th I discovered that the 720th had orders to go to Selma, Alabama to provide protection for a voting rights march that would start in Selma and end in Montgomery at the state capital.

     We spent the day preparing our equipment and ourselves to be flown to Craig Air Force Base outside of Selma. That evening we headed out to the Air Force base nearby Gray Army Air Field. By a fluke I ended up on the first plane to leave (that had some problems and wanted to get underway immediately).” 2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.

1530 hours, the battalion arrived at Craig Army Air Field just outside of Selma, Alabama with a strength of nineteen officer's, two warrant officers, and 443 enlisted men. During the operation, the battalion was attached to the Alabama/Mississippi National Guard's 2nd Brigade of the 31st Infantry “Dixie" Division.

31st Infantry
Dixie Division
2LT Thomas
Personal Reflections
     “Being the first to arrive at Craig (I was a brand new 2nd LT – just out of officer basic in early November of 1964), and received a nice reception. The rest of the 720th came in later that night. Moving all three line companies, headquarters and support units was, in my mind, an amazing feat and a testimony to the quality of the troops and their leaders. We were on the ground in Alabama in just over 12 hours from notification. Most of the day was spent getting the equipment unpacked and scouting the area.”   2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.

     The battalion was part of a Federal Task Force assigned the mission of providing support and security to the marchers from Selma to a point midway between Selma and Montgomery. The security required fixed traffic control points along the route of march, mobile patrols escorting the marchers, a mobile reserve force on call at all times in the vicinity of the marchers, outside perimeter security of the nightly camp sites, and the establishment of a radio net.

     Other units assigned as part of the Task Force were the Alabama National Guard, 503rd MP Battalion from Fort Brag, North Carolina who were air lifted to Maxwell Air Force Base at Montgomery, 2nd Infantry Division Brigade on standby at Fort Bragg, approximately 75 to 100 U.S. Marshals and 100 FBI agents. Arrangements were also made to provide a 75-bed hospital with a staff of five doctors, military litter corpsmen and 43 medical evacuation helicopters to be stationed at government facilities at Selma. In all there were approximately 4,000 Regular Army troops and federalized National Guardsmen.
     The battalion was quartered in the gymnasium at Craig Air Force Base, Selma.
Personal Reflections
     “I was with the group of B Company MPs that were sent to Selma, Alabama for the Dr. Martin King march. I do not have any pictures, I don’t think we were able to take photographs, we moved in the whole company in 4 to 6 hours. It was a time to remember for me.” Thomas Kean, Bravo Company, 1965.
Day One
21 March The progression of the march was documented in a series of letters written by Joseph Califano, Jr., special assistant to the Secretary of Defense. The 720th MP Battalion was mentioned by name in the letters identified as Report #3, 1600 hours, and Report #5 2000 Hours on 22 March 1965, and by team designation (Team C), Report #12 1000 Hours on 25 March, 1965.

     With the battalion assigned as part of the Federal Task Force, the marchers led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph J. Bunche, John Lewis and clergymen of various faiths left the Brown Chapel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church in Selma early in the afternoon with over 3,000 marchers.

     To remain in compliance with the court order that no more than 300 marchers were to occupy the roadways at any one time, most marchers returned to Selma after a time.

     During the march, battalion jeep patrols and Army ordnance teams checked the culverts and bridges for explosives while helicopters and fixed wing aircraft provided surveillance along the route.

Personal Reflections
     “We had MP’s stationed all along the route of the march. The men had their M-14’s but were not given ammunition, a concern for some of us. One of my A Company jeeps led the march.”   2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.
     The battalion was prominently mentioned in an article in the Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) on the front page of its March 22, 1965, issue: “4,000 Demonstrators Trek behind Dr. King on Rights Pilgrimage, Soldiers Protect Marchers, By Fred Pass, News Staff Writer.”
Dallas Morning News

     Selma, Ala.—In silence and in safety, 4,000 men and women, Negro and white, some carrying babies, walked over Edmund Pettus Bridge and out of Selma Sunday afternoon, their eyes on the road to Montgomery.

     Leading the pilgrimage were Dr. Martin Luther King and his guest for the march, United Nations Undersecretary Ralph Bunche. Both are Negroes. Around their necks they wore leis—presents of a delegation from Hawaii.

     If these columns were the downtrodden, then Sunday was the day for them to lift their heads. Their way had been opened by federal court order. And the military might of the United States stood by to protect them.

     At the foot of the bridge where state troopers with clubs and gas had halted them two weeks before, military police of the 720th Battalion from Ft. Hood stood on guard to let them pass. Overhead, three helicopters encircled them, each carrying observers to watch for trouble. Assistant Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark cruised the march route. Federalized National Guardsmen, ordered in by President Johnson, guarded the route of the first day’s march. Bayonets fixed but sheathed, they stood by the road and shuttled along the line in Jeeps. But there was no trouble. A sizable crowd of citizens parked their cars beside the 4-lane stretch of Highway 80 beyond the bridge and watched. They remained almost as silent as the marchers. There was some heckling. Teenagers rode on side streets in a car painted, “Welcome to Selma, Peace and Quiet.”

      The Negroes and their white sympathizers, many of them clergymen, marched to protest discriminatory practices in Alabama voting registrations and other grievances. But it was more. One of their leaders said this was not a show, but a war against the social structure of America.

     At Brown’s Chapel where demonstrators have been launching various kinds of demonstrations in Selma for more than two months now, Dr. King spoke at a service prior to the march, which began a half hour past noon. “We are standing up together to make it clear we intend to see that brotherhood of man is a reality,” he said. King praised President Johnson’s speech to the Congress last week in calling for voting rights legislation. “Never before has a President of the United States spoken more eloquently or more unequivocally on civil rights,” King declared.

     He said that Negroes, smothered in poverty and taught in segregated and inferior schools, have little money and not much education, but he added: “Thank God we have bodies and feet. We’ve waited a long time for freedom. Now is the time.”

     Then the marchers formed in Selma’s Sylvan Street, eight abreast. Near the head was placed an old Negro man, Cager Lee, the grandfather of Jimmy Jackson, who was shot by a state trooper at Marion, Ala., several weeks ago and later died.

     Only minutes before the sun set, the column of people reached their first campsite, 7.3 miles from where they started. There still remains 43 miles and four days to go before they reach Montgomery, the State Capitol, and perhaps Gov. George C. Wallace.

Day Two

22 March 0806 hours, the group, now numbering approximately 392 participants, 45 of whom were white, continued their 50-mile march from Selma to Montgomery. The weather was cold (28 degrees) with heavy frost. The marchers were tired having spent most of the night around the fire to keep warm.

0826 hours, the marchers reached Highway 80 and started east, marching 8 abreast.

1030 hours, the group passed through the woods at Soapstone Creek without incident, about 4 miles from Benton, where the highway becomes two-lane. During the next hour a bus from Selma brought 40 fresh marchers, and picked up 40 tired marchers for return to Selma. The spectators along the way have been mostly Negro. In mid-morning the group received an unconfirmed report that a bomb had been found in a Birmingham School. A demolition team was sent to take care of it.

1230 hours, the marchers stopped for lunch at the start of the two-lane highway to Benton. The State Police were blocking traffic as the marchers sat. The marchers, walking three abreast in the right hand lane were organized into six 30-man groups. The group’s age ranged from 12 to 20 years, one third were females and 37 were whites. Mr. John Lewis, the Field Director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), joined the marchers.

1600 hours, at approximately 1-mile southeast of Benton, the group was down to 286 marchers. Advanced elements erected four tents for the night in a cow pasture near Big Swamp Creek.

1735 hours, the marchers were northeast of the town of Trickem, approximately 3-miles from the cam site. There had been no incidents or other changes, except that the number of marchers increased to 308.

1740 hours, approximate 300 marchers closed at the campsite. Next to the pasture was a store named “Rosey Steel’s Grocery and Filling Station.” The campsite was guarded by the 720th MP Battalion with a close in guard provided by an MP company of the Alabama National Guard. No incidents were reported, and approximately 20-25 cars in the area believed to be spectators were kept under close surveillance. The spirit of the marchers seemed good and they considered holding a small camp rally at 2100 hours.

Day Three

23 March 0807 hours, it had been raining for two hours but the rain started to slack off. The temperature was 40 degrees, and the rain was expected for most of the day. Most of the marchers were wearing light plastic raincoats.

     Rev. King had to go to Cleveland to give a speech; Mr. Young was in charge until his return. Mr. Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was second in command. The group was orderly and no incidents had been reported.

     The rain made it difficult for the trucks to get out of the bivouac area. One latrine truck [stake body truck with several portable toilets in the back] was stuck in the mud but eventually pulled free No difficulties were foreseen in setting up the nights bivouac area. 1105 hours, the marchers crossed the intersection of Route’s 80 and 97, sixteen miles from the Montgomery city limits. About twenty onlookers gathered at the intersection to watch the march, but there were no incidents.

     Because of the continuing rain the marchers asked permission to sleep on the highway instead of the pasture at the night bivouac area. GEN Graham agreed as long as the marchers reached the four-lane highway.

1450 hours, the marchers arrived at the night bivouac area, one mile into the four-lane highway. The pasture was on high ground near the junction of Route’s 80 and 21.

Day Four

24 March 0700 hours, approximately 350 marchers began their walk, the weather was clear, and the temperature was between 45 and 50 degrees. The 720th MP Battalion troops were reassigned to duties at Montgomery, and replaced and by another Regular Army MP unit believed to the 503rd MP Battalion.

     The only incident occurred when one of the logistical support vehicles of the marchers drove into a filling station. A white man in the station punched the vehicle drive in the nose. A small detachment of MPs was sent to protect the logistic vehicles until local police arrived.

1300 hours, the march was proceeding without incident, and the lead marchers have passed Donnally Airfield. The number of marchers grew to approximately 1,200. 1510 hours, the marchers reached the night bivouac area of St. Jude’s School and Hospital complex in Montgomery. The number of marchers grew consistently during the afternoon to approximately 4 to 5,000.

     Only one incident involving an arrest was reported by the FBI, and no further details were available.

Personal Reflections

     “We provided close in security on the evenings of the 22nd and 23rd for the marcher’s camp area. Members of the Alabama National Guard provided the outer security for the camp. I do know that members of B Company handled security at least one night .

     We handed the marchers off to a MP unit that had flown into Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. The unit came out of Fort Bragg but I do not remember the unit name [503rd MP Battalion].”   2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.

Day Five

25 March 1110 hours, the marchers arrived at the capital building in Montgomery, the group had grown to approximately 25,000 and it was raining. The Army forces were split into three teams. Team A was designated as a reserve force to the north and east of the Capital. Team B, was tasked with security, march escort and traffic control along the route and then take a position to the northeast of the Capital.

     The battalion was committed as Team C to a dismounted mission to secure the Capital Building demonstration area, maintain security throughout the rally, and assist in the orderly dispersal of the marchers. Cold C Rations and sore feet as the result of standing at a relaxed parade rest for over six hours was the order of the day.

     All Army forces were informed to be as low key as possible, by close cooperation with civilian authorities. Civilian police traffic posts were set up along the route, and supported by two-man military roadblock teams.

     By the previously issued court order the gathering and ceremony was scheduled to terminate at 1600 hours, however, the marchers started late in the morning and the events were running late.

     It was reported that Governor Wallace agreed to meet with a delegation of twenty of the marchers, as long as they were from Alabama, and the remainder of the marchers had dispersed before he saw the group.

     The marchers dispersed in an orderly fashion via the many chartered buses, two trains and special planes moving the group from Montgomery.

Personal Reflections

     “ We convoyed to Montgomery and were on standby for the rally. Approximately 25,000 attended but it was a peaceful event with no problems.  2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.

1740 hours, with their mission complete, the battalion was released back to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama to await transport back to Fort Hood, Texas.
1845 hours, Governor Wallace made himself unavailable to meet the group of twenty marchers to receive the petitions, having his secretary appear in his stead. The group refused to release the petitions to the secretary and return to the crowd gathered at the Baptist Church.
Personal Reflections

     “I was drafted out of Kentucky and entered the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana where I received my basic training before being sent to the 720th at Fort Hood where I attended MP school. I was sent to Charlie Company and assigned as the personal driver for LTC Escola, who was also the Provost Marshal at the time.

     Our jeep followed the marchers across the bridge the first day. There were more security personnel than marcher’s on the road. Only saw Martin Luther King when he passed the line of marchers going up to the front in a car to join them just before they were to arrive in Montgomery.

     As 2LT Thomas recalled, it was quite an operation and I doubt 50 years later you could do it any quicker. One thing you never hear about is the few of us who had to stay longer at Maxwell Air Force Base after the woman [Viola Liuzzo] from Michigan was shot transporting marchers back to Selma.

     By the way we packed lightly only a blanket to sleep on a concrete floor at the last stop.”   SP/4 Steve L. Osborne, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1964-1965.

     Editors Note: Viola Gregg Liuzzo a civil rights activist who was married and the mother of two children, traveled to Alabama from Detroit, Michigan in March 1965. The night of 25 March Liuzzo was driving another civil rights worker with the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC)--an African-American teenager named Leroy Moton--back to Selma on Highway 80, when another car pulled alongside her vehicle. One of the passengers in the neighboring car shot at Liuzzo, striking her in the face and killing her. The car ended up in a ditch, and Moton survived the attack by pretending to be dead. The following day the police arrested four members of the Ku Klux Klan for the killing: Eugene Thomas, Collie Leroy Wilkins Jr., William O. Eaton and Gary Thomas Rowe, who was later revealed to be an F.B.I. informant who alerted the police to the suspects and gave testimony at their trial).
27-29 March The battalion began its redeployment from Operation STEEP HILL XIII at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, to Fort Hood, Texas. Five groups of flights from Maxwell Air Force Base departed with the bulk of the troops on the 28th. The remaining troops were scheduled for air transport via six flights on the 29th, minus the elements assigned to return via motor transport with the vehicles.
Personal Reflections

     “Some members of Headquarters Company flew back to Gray Army Air Base. The Base Commander and the 1st Armored Band met them with a big welcome. The 720th received lots of praise from the Secretary of Defense to the Craig Base Commanding Officer. Secretary of Defense MacNamara had praised the units at Selma “for the magnificent manner in which they preformed their duties.

     The rest of the 720th came back to Hood the old fashioned way. Three companies with all their vehicles had an approximately 800 mile trip. We still had (if my memory is right) the old M-38 jeeps so the maintenance guys had their hands full. I remember one night spent in a semi-closed army base but I do not know if that was the only over night. It was a long trip."   2LT William E. Thomas, Able Company, 1964-1965.

     The first group of flights to land at Gray Army Airfield were met by LG Ralph E. Haines, Jr. the III Corps and Fort Hood Commander, who cited them for carrying out “as sensitive mission with great professionalism and finesse.”

     Also on the tarmac were the III Corps Chief of Staff, BG E. C. Dunn, and the 1st Armored Division band.

     In commenting on the battalion LG Haines said: “It is with genuine pride that I join representatives of both the government and the press in saluting the exemplary conduct and service of Fort Hood’s 720th Military Police Battalion during your recent assignment in the Selma area. Your unit and other elements of the armed forces, summoned to duty in Alabama, carried out a sensitive mission with great professionalism and finesse, and won respect and admiration of Americans in every walk of life and in every state. My complements and gratitude to you on a job well done.”

     The commanding officer of Craig Air Force Base where the battalion had been billeted, COL Richard L. Ault, reported to LG Haines that the battalion carried out is operations in the area “in an exemplary fashion.”

     He indicated that, “the appearance, discipline and behavior of (your) troops were above reproach.” And he added that, “the units attached here during this emergency conducted themselves in the finest tradition of the United States Army.”

     Earlier, the battalion had been among units praised by Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara for the “magnificent manner in which they performed their duties.”

Post Script

9 September 2013 Mark T. Garcia, son of SP/4 Louis "Louie" Garcia of Bravo Company who participated as part of the march security, got to meet U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis (D) Georgia, then with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery.                                                                                                                      Click on photo for the story >

SP/4 Garcia
Exact Date Unknown FSG Julius E. Givens and SGT Frank R. Courtney of Alpha Company reenlisted.
Charlie Company redesignated as the 615th for deployment to Vietnam

8 April Once again Company C was inactivated and re-designated, this time as the 615th MP Company for deployment to South Vietnam. The majority of personnel were from the newly reformed Charlie Company, along with volunteers from Alpha and Bravo Company.

     PFC Robert F. Pahow age 24 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin serving with Bravo Company, was promoted to the rank of Specialist 4th Class.

10 April The following officers were assigned under Special Orders No. 55 to the newly reactivated 615th MP Company: CPT Jan S. Monningh (Charlie Company); 1LT Jimmy N. Bates (Charlie Company); 2LT Julius L. Germano (Charlie Company); 2LT William E. Thomas (Alpha Company).

20 April The following personnel were transferred: SSG Paul B. Burden from HQ & HQ Detachment to Alpha Company; SFC Herbert L. Mann from HQ & HQ Detachment to Bravo Company; 2LT William E. Thomas from Alpha Company to the 615th MP Company.
27 April Two North Korean MiG-17s attacked a U.S. EC-121 Warning Star reconnaissance plane over the Sea of Japan, 50 miles from the North Korean coast. The aircraft was damaged but managed to land at Yokota, Japan.

Exact Date Unknown At the May meeting of the Girl Scout Neighborhood Association of Fort Hood, various certificates of appreciation were presented to recognize the members departing for other duty assignments, as well as those being recognized for their continuing support. The battalion received a certificate for Sponsorship of Troop 122. The certificate was accepted on behalf of the battalion LTC Albert R. Escola.

     Patty Lambert of Troop 122 also presented LTC Escola a Certificate of Appreciation for providing the troop with transportation, water, and other needed support during the past year, and for their recent sponsorship of a two-day and one-night “in the field” primitive camping outing at Eister Lake on Fort Hood. The volunteer chaperones accompanying the troop during the camping outing were, CPT and Mrs. Bill Jones, CPT and Mrs. A. D. Sexton, SSG and Mrs. K. Carpenter; and Arthur Lambert and Judy Carpenter.

14 May SGT David Lee Boone (Honorably Discharged 25 March 1965) received a Letter of Appreciation from CPT James O. Richardson, Plans & Operations Officer, HQ & HQ Detachment.

Personal Reflection

     "My tenure with the 720th was during the buildup for Vietnam and, while I don’t know the ratio, it was a unit which contained may draftees (including myself), I do know that during my time there, we had a total of 17 men who had been drafted from their jobs with various law enforcement agencies across the country. Of those 17, only one ended up working as a regular MP. The rest all requested, and obtained, transfers to other duties within the unit (clerks, mailman, supply, etc.).

     This was because the duties, restrictions, and equipment of regular Military Police in no way approached when they had been accustomed to in civilian life and because they had been drafted, all they wanted was to count the days they could resume their civilian law enforcement duties (which they believed were just as important as serving their country in the military). It certainly was a different time.”    SGT David Lee Boone, HQ & HQ Detachment, 720th MP Battalion, 4th Army, 1965.

SGT Boone

15 May Chairman Mao Zedong [Mao Tse-tung] of Communist China met with Ho Chi Minh in China to discuss assistance needed by North Vietnam in establishing improved roadways between the two countries to facilitate the war effort.

     As a result, one of the roadways being improved would eventually come to be known as the “Ho Chi Minh Trail.

     On the same day in Korea, a North Korean mini-submarine was discovered in the neutral Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) after entering from the Hahn River estuary.


16 May Up to 10 inches of rain fell during a storm in Central Texas causing the major streams to overflow their banks quickly flooding are area of Killeen and Fort Hood. The city government called on the troops at Fort Hood to assist in rescue and recovery efforts of people trapped in the vehicles and homes throughout the area.

     Responding were elements of the battalion’s Alpha and newly formed 615th MP Company, 17th Engineers and 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry. The troops assisted local authorities in traffic control and rescue operations in Killeen. The battalion also dispatched a patrol to Nolanville where a freight train had been derailed. The troops earned high praise from the citizens, local government officials and police department.

18 May A total of 33 Officers, NCO’s and enlisted personnel of the newly formed 615th MP Company received familiarization training with the M-79 Grenade Launcher prior to their deployment to Vietnam
19 May PFC Darrell L. McCullough age 23 from Waupun, Wisconsin was assigned to the battalion, unit unidentified.
20 May PFC Daniel F. Machacek age 22 from Schulenburg, Texas arrived at the battalion and was assigned to Charlie Company.

Exact Dates Unknown PFC David G. Schutzendorf age 23 from Oshkosh, Wisconsin arrived at the battalion and was assigned to Charlie Company.

     The newly activated 91st MP Detachment (Administrative) was attached to the battalion at Fort Hood, Texas.

17 June Sixteen Battalion officers were appointed to a Summary Court-Martial.
14-25 June The battalion provided an honor guard detail for the welcoming ceremony for a delegation of twelve high ranking officers from the Central Treaty Organization (CETO), representing the countries of Great Britain, Turkey and Iran. The delegation arrived to inspect the armored might of III Corps.
22 June SSG Paul B. Burden retired from active service during a formal retirement service conducted at Sadowski Filed.
26 June The battalion provided an honor guard detail for an awards ceremony for eighteen soldiers held by III Corps on Fort Hood.
27 June The III Corps and Post Units Golf Tournament was completed and the top six open and four senior golfers qualified to enter the Fort Hood Golf Tournament scheduled for 8, 9 and 10 July. The battalion’s representative in the open division, David Hinds, failed to qualify.
Exact Date Unknown The battalion won the Fort Hood “Star Spangled Savings Campaign” with a participation rate of 95.5 percent. The program promotes the sale of savings bonds through the payroll deduction plan, and the post finance office tabulates the results for the award. To qualify to win the Minuteman Flag Award, post units must reach a 90 percent participation rate.

3 July   Editors Note: The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal issued from 1 July 1958 for service in the South Vietnamese Theater of Operations was discontimued, and replaced with the National Defense Service Medal. The change became official 1 April 1966.

20 July In South Vietnam, to facilitate the continuing buildup of U.S. ground forces, MACV established the U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters as a subordinate corps-level support command.
22 July Twenty-nine personnel of HQ & HQ Detachment qualified at the range with the M-14 rifle. Eight qualified as Experts; Twelve as Sharpshooter; Nine as Marksman.

28 July  LTC Albert R. Escola passed command of the battalion to LTC Glen A. Hill.  LTC Hill, who was a “Mustang," enlisted man who received battle field commission to 2LT in WW II, was transferred to the battalion from his assignment as the Consular Advisor to the Brazilian military police. LTC Escola was transferred to Washington, D.C. where he was assigned to the office of the Provost Marshal General.

24 July The battalion provided an honor guard detail of 72 troops to participate in the farewell ceremony at Sadowski Field for MG Edward C. Dunn, III Corps and Fort Hood chief of staff and deputy commander.

30 July 0900 hours, the battalion’s CWO Clyde R. Thompson and SFC Louis A. Digrugilliers retired from active duty in a formal ceremony at Sadowski Field along with sixty-six other retirees. 

    The Army Emergency Relief Fund drive was launched on Fort Hood with an end date of 4 September. The drive funds the Army’s ability to take care of its own via troop-sponsored emergency financial assistance. The year’s goal was set at $24,595 through individual voluntary contributions by the troops. CPT Hector L. Lopez, S3 of HQ & HQ Detachment was designated as the battalion’s unit representative to coordinate and collect donations.

LTC Escola
LTC Hill
Wanted: Photograph of LTC Escola and photographs of the change of command ceremony. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.

Exact Date Unknown Following the battalion’s example for bond sales in July, the 615th MP Company, subordinate to the battalion for all purposes, was presented the Minuteman Award in the “Star Spangled Saving Campaign” held by III Corps, Fort Hood. The award is presented to units that have at least a 70 percent participation in the savings bond program.

     Of the six units presented the award, the 615th, with a strength of 181 personnel of which 167 participated in the program, received the first place honors with a total participation rate of 92 percent. The award plaque was presented to the company by the commander of III Corps and Fort Hood chief of staff, BG Ephraim F. Graham, Jr.

3 August The battalion provided an honor guard detail to participate in the welcoming ceremony at Sadowski Field for BG Ephraim F. Graham, Jr. the new III Corps and Fort Hood chief of staff and deputy commander.

     The 615th MP Company commanded by CPT John A. Kochenour, consisting of four officers and 178 enlisted personnel departed Fort Hood, Texas for Vietnam.

     The 91st MP Detachment (Administrative) commanded by CPT Jim M. Parrack, consisting of two officers and seventeen enlisted personnel departed Fort Hood, Texas for Vietnam.

     Editors Note: In South Vietnam in 1966 they were attached to the 89th MP Group, and by July 1966 were assigned to Long Binh Post, III Corps Tactical Zone, Bien Hoa Province for duty at the USARV Confinement Facility Stockade (Long Binh Jail).

CPT Kochenour

22 August The Viet Cong (VC) were in nominal control of most of the South Vietnamese countryside, and had set up a major military infrastructure in the Central Highlands to the northeast of Saigon.

     Just across the border in Cambodia the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) formed sanctuary bases that were relatively immune from attack. Large groups of NVA regulars moved into the Central Highlands (Ia Drang Valley) area in order to conduct major offensive operations. They believed the U.S. was planning a buildup to support the South Vietnamese Army, so they increased their attacks to the southeast from these bases with the goal of cutting South Vietnam in two, and forcing a quick surrender.

     The 514th MP Platoon, POW (Prisoners Of War) commanded by 1LT John R. Ballard, is attached to the battalion for transport. The platoon consisting of one officer and twenty enlisted personnel departed Fort Hood, Texas for Vietnam.

     Editors Note: In South Vietnam in 1966 they were attached to the 89th MP Group in Saigon, Capital Military District, Gia Dinh Province, and on 11 May 1966 the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) ordered the platoon inactivated with all personnel and equipment being assigned to other units needing POW advisors.

Personal Reflections
     "I was with the 514th MP Platoon from the concept until we split up once we reached Vietnam and became MACV advisors with the 89th MP Group to the various Corps in Vietnam. The group I was assigned with went to II Corps Tactical Zone in Pleiku, and built the POW compound ground up with assistance from the local engineers. I don't remember all of the members of my group, except we were lead by CPT Weeks."    William D. Norman, 514th MP Platoon.
September 16 The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) placed the Rattlesnake Inn club on Highway 196, Copperas Grove, Texas off limits to all U.S. military personnel until further notice.
29 October 0900 hours, the battalion provided an honor guard detail for a formal pass and review retirement ceremony at Sadowski Field for eighty-two soldiers from the 1st. and 2nd.

14-16 November The first major ground battles between U.S. combat forces of the 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile, and the Peoples Army of Vietnam (PAVN-North Vietnamese) was fought in the Ia Drang Valley. Their first engagement from the 14th to 16th was by all estimates a draw. The enemy gained no ground and was unable to destroy the Air Cavalry. The Air Cavalry gained no ground but were able to survive an overwhelming attack while greatly outnumbered. Their casualties were seventy-nine killed and 121 wounded or injured. An estimated 1,500 NVA troops were killed or wounded.

17-18 November The second battle was fought by the Air Cavalry relief force, which, while departing the first battle area on foot to a new landing zone, when they were ambushed. Their fatal error was the commander calling all his company commanders, accompanied by their radio operators to the rear of a long strung out column for a briefing. It was then the enemy struck, and before it was over 155 U.S. troops were killed and 125 wounded in what was to be the largest loss of life in an ambush of a U.S. force during the entire war. Both sides saw the first large-scale confrontation as a victory for their side.
12 December The 1st Armored Division organized ceremonies to honor the Mary Hardin-Baylor Choir as an annual event to recognize and thank the ladies from the Belton Campus for their frequent appearances at Fort Hood services during the past year. The 40-voice a-cappella Choir was scheduled to perform at post services during the day, and in the evening will be the dinner guests of the 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry and the 720th MP Battalion.
     The battalion continued its normal routine for the remainder of the year, and on 27 April 1966 they would receive their alert for overseas deployment for Vietnam and begin training and preparation prior to their departure on 1 October. That chapter of their proud history is told in Book II, Volume I, The History of the 720th Military Police Battalion, Vietnam Journal, We did it all and then some! October 1966 ~ August 1972, and Volume II, Operation STABILIZE September 1967 ~ July 1970.
1965 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1965 that have yet to be directly linked to any specific Battalion Timeline event. If you can date any of the events depicted, or identify them as part of a specific event, operation, exercise or special duty assignment, please use the Email Link on the photograph or this page to notify the History Project Manager.
A "?" preceding the photo number denotes further identifications are needed, and an Email Link is provided.
Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment
B0016 ?
 March-Command inspection of Battalion vehicles.
Alfa Company
B0023 ?
 Standing inspection.
Bravo Company
 SPC/5 Bobby J. Nix at the airfield during STRAC alert.
 SP/4 Louis "Louie" Garcia.
 SFC Esteban Nebebar catching for the battalion softball team.
Charlie Company
B0042 ?
 Company party.
 PFC's Pace and Hamilton.