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                   Music - Anne Murray  "I can See Arkansas"


Fort Chaffee

The flower of America’s youth walked past these native sandstone gatehouses, bound for overseas combat.
Many boys left Ft. Chaffee to fight under Eisenhower, Patton, MacArthur and Bradley.


Fort Chaffee was established in western Arkansas in September 1941.  Originally designated as Camp Chaffee, the site included 76,075 acres of predominantly farmland.

Combat training was initiated at Camp Chaffee in 1941 and most of the major buildings on the site were completed in 1943.  From 1942 to 1946, Camp Chaffee was also used as a German prisoner of war facility.  For several years after World War II, Camp Chaffee was placed on inactive stand by status until the advent of the Korean War in 1950, which resulted in its reactivation a the Headquarters of the 4th Armored Division.

In 1956, the site was chosen as the U.S. Army Training Center for Field Artillery and the name of the Facility was changed to Fort Chaffee.  Between 1961 and 1974, Fort Chaffee was declared inactive and placed under caretaker status, and then reactivated on several different occasions.

In 1975, Fort Chaffee was used as a relocation center for the Vietnamese refugee program and then for Cuban refugees from 1980 to 1982.

The 545th Military Police Company, 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, 28 August 1981 in support of the Cuban Refugee Resettlement Task Force where they remained until 30 October 1981.  This was the second deployment for the 545th during this time frame.  The 545th was the next to last unit to depart before the CRRFT ceased operations.  The 545th MP Co. was augmented by the 1st Platoon, 263rd Escort Guard Company, Fort Leonard Wood,  Missouri.

The 545th MP Co. had two platoons mounted in ¼ ton jeeps and 2 platoons in school busses.  The Cuban area was patrolled by the Federal Protective Service (FPS).  The MP’s manned the fence and the towers as well as roving motorized patrols to the edge of Fort Chaffee proper.  If the Cubans managed to get off post, the Border Patrol was responsible for their apprehension.  There was also a mini Federal Prison set up on the post.

While at Fort Chaffee, the 545th MP Co continued their mandatory Riot Control Training as well as river crossing training with the 8th Combat Engineer Battalion.  The 545th also conducted occasional sweeps of the Cuban living quarters for contraband.

Company Leadership at Ft. Chaffee:
CPT Glenn Petree
2LT Jackie Cumbo, 1st Platoon
1LT Bill Strite, 2nd Platoon
1LT Dennis Thompson, 3rd Platoon
1LT Mike Bragg, 4th Platoon (263rd Escort Guard Company)

Rear Detachment at Fort Hood:
1LT Steve Cotrell, XO (Unit rear commander)
2LT Johnny Williams
1SG David Stalter


THURSDAY, MAY 22, 1980


By:  Rick Fulton

Members of the 89th MP Group were ordered to report to their places of duty early last Friday afternoon, and to prepare for possible deployment in support of the Cuban refugee operation.

Local civilian radio and television stations operating in nearby communities aided in the recall effort, and the various MP duty sections quickly became bee-hives of activity as soldiers quickly reported in, and were put to work.

In addition to the more than 500 MP’s who were affected by the recall order here 25 Spanish-speaking soldiers currently on temporary duty at Fort Chaffee, Ark. were also alerted.  These personnel are members of the 4th Psychological Operations Group, John F. Kennedy Center, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Lynn Ligon, acting III Corps and Fort Hood public affairs officer, said late Friday that the soldiers had not received orders to go anywhere, adding that when and if they did move, an appropriate announcement would be made at that time.

The recall operation terminated early Sunday morning, and the soldiers who had been standing by returned to their homes or to their normal places of duty.

“Everybody seems to complain and moan about the all-volunteer Army, but if the reaction that I saw Friday of the soldiers being recalled and working on the operation are any example of the capabilities of the Army, then we are in good shape.”

So said Lt. Col. John Lundberg, commander of the 1st P&A Bn., 13th COSCOM, the unit running the processing center for the recall operation.

Lundberg said the processing operation “worked out very well” and that he was extremely pleased with the coordination, cooperation, and hard work put in by all concerned.  He particularly cited the efforts of soldier of the 546th Personnel Co., 27th Finance Co., troop medical clinics, and the Judge Advocate General’s office.

“It was a joint III Corps operation from start to finish,” Lundberg said, noting that soldiers of the 1st Cav. Div and the 2nd Armd. Div were well represented among those operating the processing center.

“We started pulling people in early in the afternoon, and they worked straight through until past 10 p.m. when the job was done,” he said.

Lundberg pointed out many functions needed to be taken care of, such as checks of current identification cards, dog tags, wills, powers of attorney, records of emergency data, pay, immunizations, and financial support of dependents.

“I was extremely pleased with the work everyone did,” he said.






By Billy R. Shepherd

In two weeks, most of us will be sitting around our Christmas tree with our families, waiting for the football games to start, or the turkey to finish cooking.  At Fort Chaffee, Ark., where 134 military policemen from the 1st Cav. Div. are on temporary duty supporting the Cuban Refugee Relocation Center, Christmas will be a normal duty day.

“You’ll find the people (at Fort Chaffee) are working long hours, but morale is high because they can see they’re really doing something,” said Capt. Larry G. Thomas, who spent last month there.  Thomas, who will take over as the First Team’s assistant provost marshal next week, is impressed with the way the soldiers from the 1st Cav. Div. are carrying out this mission.

The mission at Fort Chaffee is not a reinforcement mission, according to Thomas, but a replacement one.  Approximately 300 military policemen from Fort Hood relieved soldiers from Forts Polk, Bragg, and Ord.

The First Team’s MP’s are broken into three groups:  an alert force, perimeter control, and DLO (Discipline, Law and Order), explained acting 1st Sgt. Arthur R. Johnson.  “The alert force, or Special Reaction Team (SRT), has only one purpose, and that is to respond quickly to potential problems,” he said.

The SRT team stays in one place and is on alert 24 hours a day.  So far, they’ve been used one time for a small outburst.  According to Johnson, the situation cleared without incident when the team took their positions.

The Perimeter control group’s job is to control access to certain gates surrounding the relocation center.  “If a disturbance occurs, they would become the first-line riot control group.”  Johnson said.

The DLO was described by Johnson as a “miniature Provost Marshal’s Office.”  It’s responsible for maintaining law and order on Fort Chaffee, but not in the relocation center.  The DLO could also be used for riot control.

“This is really challenging,” said Sp/4 Mark J. Ursch, 545th MP Co.  “Morale is high, and everybody is really working together,” he added.

The Fort Chaffee experience was a positive one for the next assistant provost marshal.  “I’m looking forward to taking over here,” Thomas said.  “There’s no doubt that the 545th MP Co is a well organized unit, marching to the right tune,” he added.


Fort Chaffee Photo Album 

Fort Chaffee Photo Album









Sam Reinert
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South 9th Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX