Music - Alan Jackson - "Pop A Top"
545th Military Police Company
Military Police Clubs
A Pictorial History
As of December 27, 2013
Throughout the history of the Military Police Corps and especially in the 1st Cavalry Division, Military Policemen have found it difficult to relax off duty and let their hair down in the presence of other soldiers. Not only was it difficult for them, but soldiers from units that the MPís policed were uncomfortable in bars and clubs when they knew that off duty MPís were present while they were letting their hair down. It is difficult for MPís to enter an off duty bar or club where soldiers that they have issued traffic tickets or DRís to or apprehended for military offenses are enjoying themselves and when alcoholic beverages are involved Ė it is even more difficult. Such actions have been cause for altercations of the worst kind. To preclude this type of incident and to allow the MPís to enjoy themselves while off duty, the 1st Cavalry MPís have usually managed to set up an MP Club which was for the exclusive patronage of MPís within the Division. Oftentimes, they not only had an MP Club on base, but one downtown as well and it was usually authorized for use by the MPís coming off duty after curfew. Many of these off base clubs had special permission from the Division Provost Marshal to remain open after curfew for the sole purpose of allowing MPís coming off the 1600 -2400 shift to have a place to go and unwind after their shift. In many cases on duty patrols were also allowed access to these after hourís clubs for a meal or cup of coffee Ė of course with the permission of the Desk Sergeant. The following is a pictorial history of such clubs and I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did putting it together.
Fort Bliss Texas
As of this date there is no record of an MP Club at Fort Bliss for the Cav MPís.
As of this date there is no record of an MP Club in Australia for the Cav MPís, although I was informed by SGT Harold Lehman who served in the old MP Platoon at Camp Drake, Japan that he had heard from some old timers that they did have one in downtown Brisbane.
As of this date there is no record of any MP Club for the Cav MPís during WW II although they probably did have one in Manila at the end of the war.
Unidentified MP Platoon MPís off duty in the MP 45 club at Camp Drake Japan
They even had Club Cards for the MP Club at Camp Drake, Japan in the 1940ís
Interior of the Enlisted MP Club at Camp Drake
Prior to the establishment of the MP Club, the Cav MPís attended the Roof Top Beer Garden at the Ernie Pile Theater at Camp Drake, 1945 Note the Allied soldiers from Australia
Unidentified 545th MPís off duty at the MP Club at Camp Drake, Japan 1940ís. MSG Roger Everhart reminds me that there was also a Company Snack Bar in the barracks as well and it was run by the company mess personnel.
There is no photo available at this time of the MP Club which was downtown behind the MP Station in Sapporo Japan and next to the Class VII Liquor Store. This was during the Camp Crawford era in the 1950ís
Fort Gulick, Panama
Off duty 545th MPís enjoying themselves in their off duty Ė off post club
Some of the night life available to the 545th MPís in the Canal Zone in the 1950ís at one of their favorite night spots
One of the many night club shows put on for the 545th MPís in Panama.
And what would a floor show be without a chorus line
If you have a chorus line then there must also be an exotic dancer as well.
Our boys in the 545th really had it rough back then!
A roadside refreshment stand somewhere in North Korea where the 545th MPís got a cold beer and something to eat while on route recon and TCP during the Korean War 1950/51 and they would stop here between assignments and stand down for a few hours. I might add that this was not sanctioned by CPT Mehl, the Company Commander.
The 1st Platoon of the 545th MP Co had its own patio at Camp Custer, Korea where they enjoyed Bar-B-Qís and a beer on post 1963/64 with PFC Robert Goble on the far left and PFC George Wright on the far right. MSG Goble is a member of our association
Slicky Boy Corner, Musan, Korea 1963 where the MPís had an off post Club where they often got a meal
545th MP NCO Club at Camp Custer, Korea 1961
The beginnings of the Hon Kong Valley MP/NCO Club at An Khe about 1965 in Vietnam with 545th NCO Art Bernicchi counting the days until it is open
The finished product Ė complete with sign with 545th MP Bill Price and a cold one in his hand 1965
This finished product Ė An Khe MP Club in the background
545th MPís enjoying a company Bar-B-Q at Camp Radcliff, An Khe, Vietnam in 1966. When the 545th first arrived in Vietnam there were very few buildings and few GP Medium tents as well. Two of our members seem to remember that there were two buildings and one of them was portioned off as an NCO Club. SFC Jimmy Waynick says that when he arrived at An Khe, there were two buildings at the end of the Company area Ė one was the PM hooch and one was the MP Club which was at the end of the company street. SGT Joe Smeck was the company barber and used to give hair cuts in the MP Club for beer money. Later on in 1967 the MP Club was portioned off and half was made into an MP NCO Club. One of the NCOís painted a really nice mural on the wall
Fresh Meat on the way to another 545th Bar-B-Q 1966/67
Bar in the 545th MP Club during Christmas at An Khe 1966
There was a lot of holiday cheer in the 545th MP Club at An Khe in 1966
CPT Sam Reinert and 1SG Bill Sykes in the MP Club with Santa. Phouc Vinh, Vietnam 1969
Christmas Card from the Cav troopers in Vietnam
Party time at one of the many LZís the 545th manned and secured.
Of course, no pictorial history of Cav MP Clubs in Vietnam would be complete without a photo of a bottle of Bah Me Bah (complete with formaldehyde additive/preservative) if you werenít blind or crazy before you drank it Ė you sure were afterwards.
Interior of the 545th MP Club at Phouc Vinh, RVN 1969 (shirts had to be worn after 1800 due to mosquitoes/Malaria control)
Another interior shot of the 545th MP Club at Phouc Vinh RVN where youíll note the padded chairs, fans, custom made curtains and A/C unit. It also had running water and mahogany paneling and a solid, one piece mahogany bar top. This club was constructed from scrounged materials and the labor of just about every MP in the company. The division officers club had folding metal chairs at this time which really ticked off the Chief of Staff
CPT Reinert and an unknown MP out behind the MP Club under the shade of the Cargo Chute and you can see the water barrel for the running water in the MP Club just behind and to the right of CPT Reinert
Cargo Chute and Bar-B-Q area behind the MP Club at Phouc Vinh, RVN, complete with sound stage and lots of colored lights at night 1970
545th MPís at LZ Two Bits in their platoon Bar-B-Q area
Although of humble appearance, this MP Club at Quan Loi has a lot of history. When 1LT Aylward was at Quan Loi and CPT Withrow was the Platoon Leader, Dirty Dan, who was a Vietnamese Civilian who conducted maintenance and sand bag details for the 545th MPís and who also had his tongue cut out by the VC for informing on them to the US Forces used to sell sodas to the members of the convoy details and to the MPís to make a few extra bucks for his family. CPT Withrow had him partition off part of one of the Southeast Asia Huts and make it into a club for the MPís and allowed Dirty Dan to sell his sodas there. Someone suggested that it ought to have a name and LT Aylward suggested ďAlís TavernĒ (Overseas Branch). It seems that LT Aylwardís father and brother owned a bar in Brooklyn Heights, New York, located at #44 Henry Street. Although the actual name of the bar was ďAylwardísĒ all the local customers called it ďAlís TavernĒ. Long story short Ė the Quan Loi MP Club became known as Alís Tavern. Initially, CPT Withrow allowed Dirty Dan to sell sodaís to almost anyone, but as usually happens, some of the grunts complained that the MPís were no good SOBís and should not be allowed to run a club at all, so it was finally decided to sell to MPís only which included the K-9 Detachment and some of the MPís from the 11th ACR and from then on it was a MP Club in the true sense of the word.
Dirty Dan stringing Barbed Wire around the Motor Pool for the 545th MP Company
Interior of 545th MP Club at Bien Hoa (Division Rear) 1968
Another interior shot of the 545th MP Club at Bien Hoa. Youíll note that there was no dress code other than you be clean Ė flip flops, boxer shorts, T Shirts and have on long sleeves after 1800 hrs Ė no one cared as it was only for MPís. I asked SFC Curry (The NCOIC of the Bien Hoa Det.) why the assortment of types of bar stools and he told me that each one had come from a different bar fight in town. The GIís would use them for weapons in a bar fight and often they would get thrown out in the street where one of the MP Patrols would throw it in the back of the jeep and bring it back to the club. I canít remember seeing two of them alike.
Although they had no MP Club in Afghanistan, the 545th MPís managed to find the time and the place to party occasionally and they needed to unwind after transporting detainees to GITMO and classifying hundreds of them in country
There are no known photos of MP Clubs for the 545th in Kuwait
The 545th MPís were so busy during Desert Storm rounding up all the EPWís that kept flowing south that they never found the time to set up a MP Club of any kind
There wasnít a real MP Club in Iraq either but the 545th MPís
sure found a place to party Ė especially at Christmas time in Baghdad OIF.
"One More Drinkin' Song " by Jerrod Niemann
It is this writers understanding that there were several off post Clubs and night spots that were popular with the 545th MPís at Fort Hood from the 1970ís until the units deactivation but sadly there are no photos of them yet available. During the 1970ís and early 1980ís the Company Day Room served as the MP Club as they served beer in the coke vending machines and had almost nightly pool tournaments.
As per LTC Juan Rodriguez who served with the 545th at Ft Hood in the 1st Platoon from 1973 Ė 1974, the platoons of the 545th MP Co at the time used to have competitions to see which one could throw the best company party. These parties were usually held in and between the barracks, out of sight from passersby. The word was that if you did not stagger/crawl away after the party that you had not partied properly. There was usually a ľ ton jeep trailer filled with ice and beer (sounds like the parties we had in Vietnam) and the biggest bottles of hard liquor you ever saw. Everyone from the PM to the lowest Private (which included PVT Rodriguez at the time) was in attendance and most times no one could say who won the competition.
545th MP Company Association, MP Club
SSG Victor Alvarez, Charles and CPT Sam at the MP Club Bar, 545th MP Assn Hqs, 2013
Anyone having photos to add to this photo history, kindly contact CPT Sam Reinert at the address shown below:
545th MP Co Association
626 1/2 South
765 962 4627 phone & FAX