Fort Drum has been used as a military
training site since 1908; however the Army’s presence in the North
Country may be traced back to the early 1800’s.
With the outbreak of WW II, the area now
known as Pine Camp was selected for a major expansion and an
additional 75,000 acres of land was purchased, with that purchase,
525 local families were displaced. Five entire villages were
eliminated, while others were reduced from one-third to one-half
their size. By Labor Day 1941, 100 tracts of land were taken over.
Eight hundred buildings were constructed
to house the many military organizations scheduled to be assigned to
this post. Among them were General George Patton’s 4th Armored
Division (Gen. Creighton Abrams was a battalion commander here at
the time), the 45th Infantry Division and the 5th Armored Division.
The post also served as a Prisoner of War
Camp. Of those prisoners who died here, one Italian and six
Germans are still buried in the Sheepfold Cemetery near Remington
Pine Camp became Camp Drum in 1951, named
after Lt. Gen. Hugh A. Drum who commanded the First Army during
World War II. During and after the Korean Conflict a number of
units were stationed and trained here to take advantage of the
terrain and climate.
The post was designated Fort Drum in 1974
and a permanent garrison was assigned. In January 1984, the
Department of the Army announced it was studying selected Army posts
to house a new light infantry division. On September 11, 1984,
the announcement was made that Fort Drum would be the new home of
the 10th Light Infantry Division. Today, Fort Drum consists of
On February 14, 1982, 2nd Platoon, 545th
MP Company deployed to Fort Drum in direct support of the 2nd
Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division for Operation Blue Northern.
Platoon leadership was as follows:
1Lt William Strite (545th MP Co. Assn. member)
SFC Carl Landry
SSG Sharp, SSG Trevino and SGT Cutchfield
Information and photos provided by 1LT
Bill Strite and the Home Page for Fort Drum
By WAYNE BLANKENBILLER
“Don’t leave home without us,” is the
motto of the First Team’s 545th MP Co. So when the 2nd Bde. Went to
Fort Drum, not only were the MP’s not left at home; they
distinguished themselves in the eyes of the brigade commander, Col.
William S. Streeter, as “the most tactical unit in the field.”
“It was a great opportunity for us to
demonstrate to the other units just what our function is all about
in the field. Back at Fort Hood, they see us as the guys who
give out traffic tickets, but here at Fort Drum, many were surprised
to find out that we are out there to help in the field too.” Said
1st Lt. William Strite, platoon leader, 2nd Plt., 545th MP Co.
The MP’s accomplished their mission of
supporting the Blackjack brigade and their units during the Army
Readiness Training Evaluation Programs with 30 MP’s and two
mechanics, according to Strite.
There were many different functions
fulfilled by the 545th’s troopers. One of these was
circulation control which included keeping both personnel and
vehicles moving in a smooth flow of traffic during field exercises.
The vehicular traffic was the biggest challenge here, because as
Strite explained, “in a challenge between a Volkswagen and a tank,
you know who is going to win.”
Under wartime conditions the circulation
control of personnel would be great as well, she said.
Personnel would include those civilians displaced by military
action, and stragglers from the battle area.
This flow of personnel requires the
maintenance of security and the gathering of relevant intelligence
concerning the forward area, said Strite.
Another function of the MP’s was to
conduct route reconnaissance from which to develop map overlays,
showing type and level of traffic each route could handle.
A third requirement was for the MP’s to
act as convoy escorts during the transportation of such sensitive
items as food, fuel and ammunition, according to SFC. Carl Landry,
platoon sergeant, 2nd Plt., 545th MP Co.
They also provided rear area protection
for the brigade support area, security at the brigade tactical
operations center, conducted prisoner of war operations, maintained
a mini-MP station in the field, and provided physical security for
armaments and other sensitive items.
In addition, these First Teamers
supported the Fort Drum MP’s on a one-to-one basis and acted as the
liaison between the local MP’s and the Blackjack commander.
“We brought all of our own vehicles and
equipment, so we have been self-sustaining throughout the
operation.” explained Landry, “except for the administrative
support we have received from our “Big Daddy” DISCOM.
“Not only did the other units find out
more about how we can help them in the field, we found out how the
other units help us.” said Strite.
“This experience will make for even
better working relationships with these units when we return to Fort
Hood,” continued Strite.
2nd Platoon CP during Operation Blue
Northern at Fort Drum
Unofficial 2nd Platoon, 545th MP Co.
Gideon at Fort Drum
1LT Bill Strite at Fort Drum
Blue Northern at Ft Drum SP4 Angel Fuentes, SGT
Bill Crutchfield, PV2 Chad B. McRee and PV2 Brian Harris1982.