~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association Vietnam History Project ~
1966 ~ 188th MP Company Time Line
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Last Updated
29 November 2012
2nd Army
89th MP
92nd MP
Preparation for Overseas Movement

January to July The majority of the complement of officers and noncommissioned officers (NCO’s) had been formed and enlisted personnel were arriving to fill the ranks at Fort Meade, Maryland, located in the 2nd Army region.

     Some of the first enlisted men to arrive fresh out of military police school at Fort Gordon, Georgia were PVT's Lawrence D. Brown, James M. Beach, Thomas A. Bisio and Thurston Birdwell. The company was in a training mode for overseas service having been informed they were being prepared to replace an Army military police unit in Thailand.

     The overseas training continued through the spring and into early summer. The company training was "combat" related and much of it was conducted in the field with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. They were trained in Traffic Control Points (TCP’s) while in concert with the cavalry unit.

     There was also separate field training in infantry squad, platoon and fire team tactics, the standard MP training in riot, crown control, and everyone's favorite, a reorientation with the tear gas chamber.

     During the training period an officer from the military police unit they were replacing in Thailand came to Fort Meade and gave the company orientation training on Thai culture and what their new duties would encompass.

     They were informed that the company would be separated into two platoons and would rotate between facility security at an air base in Korat, and town patrol in Ban Sattahip.

     One week before the main body was scheduled to depart Fort Meade a company formation was called and the men were informed that their overseas orders had been changed and the new destination was South Vietnam. A company detail was put to work repainting the addresses on the crates of equipment from APO Thailand to APO Vietnam.

2 July The main body departed Fort Meade by aircraft, flying non stop from Baltimore Friendship Airport on a chartered flight aboard a Globe Airways Boeing 707, to Oakland International Airport, California.

     In Oakland they boarded a World War II era troop ship, the USNS General Walter H. Gordon, where they were directed to a forward berthing area on the lowest deck of the ship.

3 July The USNS General Gordon departed Oakland in the evening and stopped at San Diego, California the next morning.

4 July At San Diego 800 U.S. Marines boarded the ship bringing the total troop complement on board to approximately 4,000 passengers before heading west into the Pacific Ocean to their next scheduled stop at Okinawa, Japan.

     During the trip to Okinawa the ship was stopped several times for system’s repairs and once to render assistance to a merchant ship. The rumor at the time was the old boiler system kept springing leaks and they had to stop to relieve pressure before welding patches over the leaks.

     The merchant ship needing assistance radioed that they had an injured crewman needing medical care. The crewman was transferred from the merchant to the troop ship and was dropped off when they arrived at Okinawa.

     The General Gordon stopped briefly (several hours) at Okinawa, Japan where the contingent of Marines disembarked. The ship then continued on to the South China Sea.

     During this leg of the trip that the ship encountered a serious storm. All troops were ordered below decks and the water tight hatches were secured. The resulting pitching and rolling resulted in numerous cases of seasickness and the ships heads (bathrooms) crowded to capacity, were the primary destination of most of the men on board

The Water Came Up Over My Feet! I left from San Diego on the USNS Gordon in July of 1966. I think it took us about 28 days to cross. We did have to stop for repairs and once turned around to pick up a sick crewman from another ship. I remember the storm, it was pretty bad. I sneaked out and was standing on the fan tail watching the ship rise and fall, so much that I could see the edge of the props when they came out of the water. At one point I had to run because the water came up over my feet. It was more dangerous than I had thought. After that I went back below. SP/4 Robert C. Parisi, 188th MP Company, 92nd MP Battalion, United States Army Vietnam (USARV) & 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, July 1966 to May 1967.
The 188th Military Police Company Arrives In Vietnam

        31 July The ship made several landings along the South Vietnam coast, DaNang, an unidentified port, and Cam Rahn Bay, where other troop elements disembarked before reaching it’s final destination at the port of Vung Tau.

     The 188th disembarked coming ashore in Army LCU landing craft. From Vung Tau they were transported to the replacement processing compound, Camp Alfa at Ton Son Nhut Air Base outside Saigon.

     From there they went to Pershing Field (Tent City), Shea Compound. The company area was a collections tents surrounded by a high fence and a low sandbag wall bordered by the air base and the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) compound.

     The 188th, with a strength of 182 men, was assigned as a physical security company to the 92nd MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, United States Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) to work in the Capital Special Zone (Saigon) and  Corps Tactical Zone III  (Vung Tau).   

     The company command structure at that time was CPT James R. Crinan, Company Commander, 1LT Max E. Blumenthal, Executive Officer, James D. Hinds, First Sergeant, Platoon Leaders, 1LT Robert Sigiloff, 1LT Norman Haber, 2LT Lawrence (?) Gray, Platoon Sergeants, MSG James Daley, SFC Earl Dowdy, SSG Robert Mills, SFC Robert J. Kahley, Operations Sergeant, SSG Archie J. Trader, Mess Sergeant, SSG Shepard B. Hobson, Supply Sergeant and SGT Carl T. Cephas, Motor Sergeant.

     Within days of arrival the 188th was given in-country orientation consisting of lectures, and live fire familiarization (one magazine each) with an M16 rifle. The standard issue company rifle was still the M14.

      The companies first assignment was the Saigon port and docks facilities. The dock security assignment involved guard duty at the entrance and exit gates, checking incoming civilian and military personnel and vehicles for proper credentials, weapons and explosives. The outgoing for contraband, and bills of lading against proper cargo, etc. They patrolled the dock area on foot, in vehicles and manned static post within specific high priority cargo warehouses.

     In addition, the patrols would also board merchant freighters, enter the holds and observe the civilian stevedores as the cargo’s were being unloaded.

     Short run convoy escorts were also conducted from the docks to several outlying areas around Saigon.

     Traffic control points were manned on various roads outside Saigon with the mission to interdict enemy forces and their material, arms and ammunition.

     Within two weeks after their arrival the 188th MP Company formed a platoon into the Vung Tau Detachment that was sent to the port to augment the 560th MP Company conducting ship security there.

     Before the end of the year they also staffed a detachment at Nha Be providing security for the cargo ships anchored in the river and the huge petroleum, oil, and lubricant (POL) depot.

22 August CPT James R. Crinan passed command of the 188th MP Company to CPT Jacob C. Quickel.

     I recently found my old MP helmet in a box in the garage. It still looks pretty good. Amazing how long a good coat of neutral Kiwi shoe polish will last! When I returned to Saigon from Ship Security in Vung Tau I bought this helmet from another MP, Perry Carter, his name is still faintly visible on the webbing inside. We didn't wear them on the ships, so I had to find one when I got there.

     The issued helmet liners were pretty rough so everyone usually had one hand painted by a Vietnamese guy in town. We all wanted to look sharp so a nice shiny hat was a must. I don't remember what the going price was but I'm sure it wasn't much. When I was later transferred to the 560th MPs for my last couple of months in-country I held on to this helmet and sent it home.

Courtesy of SP/4 Larry D. Brown, 188th MP Company, 92nd MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), January 1966-June 1967.

8 September The 18th Military Police Brigade arrived in South Vietnam and was tasked with the command of all military police units not assigned to American tactical units. The 89th MP Group, 92nd MP Battalion, 188th MP Company were reassigned from operational control of USARV to the 18th MP Brigade.

10 to 20 November A small detachment of the 188th MP Company were deployed to assist in resupply operations in Tay Ninh III Corps Tactical Zone in support of Operation Attleboro,  Where they operated vehicles transporting supplies and munitions.

From MP to Truck Driver Sometime in September of 1966 I had been transferred from Nha Be to the 188th MP Company compound at Pershing Field near Saigon.   Early one morning, I believe in early November, I was sitting with my hands clasped behind my head when a sergeant came to me and told me to go get 100 rounds of ammo, 3 days C-rations, and be ready to go within the hour.

     I asked, "Where am I going?"   He replied that he didn't know.  That was the beginning of my participation in "Operation Attleboro".  I would later learn that it was the largest U.S. combat operation of the war to that date.

     There were just a few of us from the 188th given the assignment.  Our duties would be converted to that of being a truck driver and our assignment would be to drive the trucks loaded with supplies to a location north/west of Saigon in support of the 1st and 25th Infantry Divisions that were engaged in heavy combat near Dau Tieng.    As I recall there was probably about a half dozen trucks with two men per truck assigned.  We were just a handful of the total number of soldiers from in and around Saigon that were given the temporary duty of driving a deuce and a half.  I would continue to drive the truck until replaced by some new in-country MP's.  I believe our replacements were from the 720th. PFC Keith Hittson, 188th MP Company, 92nd MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Vietnam, 1966-1967.

Miscellaneous Photograph Index
1965 Fort Meade, MD
 Tait, Frank Pastine, and Ed Hako with apprehended puppies in hand.
1966 Pershing Field, Saigon
 SP/4 Jim Holmes at the Vung Tau Sub-Port Guard Shack.
 SP/4 Bob Parisi, Ship Security Detachment Vung Tau, on board the SS Bay State.
 SP/4 Joe Bunch, Ship Security Detachment Vung Tau, on board an unidentified ship.
 SP/4 Parisi at the Nha Be Detachment.
 PFC Larry Brown of the "Tug Boat MPs" on the Patrick.
 Cantonment Tent at Pershing Field.
 SP/4 Dennis J. O'Neil at Nah Be.
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