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  2nd Bde  

545th Military Police Company

1st Cavalry Division and Arctic MP BN

A Pictorial History of

Motor Pool Operations

As of January 26, 2012

 

Even the foot patrols and gate guards have to be transported to their posts and throughout the history of the Cavalry Military Policemen, the need for the transport and the maintenance thereof were of paramount importance within the unit. The thankless job of Blacksmith, Ferrier, and Wheelwright in the old horse cavalry and later the Motor Sergeant and the Mechanic in the modern motorized and mechanized Army became just as important if not more so.  The individual military policeman maintained his horse and later his jeep or truck.  They were washed and fueled (or fed in the old horse cavalry) and given the limited maintenance that the MP was personally capable of, but when there was a problem that required expert technical handling, the mode of transportation went to the shop.  The maintenance personnel in the 545th MP Co worked long and hard hours to keep the vehicles on the road, as even in a peace time situation a patrol members life may depend on how fast another patrol can reach him and render assistance or back up.  MP vehicles were constantly on the road and unlike many line units’ vehicles, did not sit in the motor pool and “give a good appearance” for inspection.  The 545th MP vehicles looked good even though they were on the road constantly.  The following is a pictorial history of motor pool operations within the 545th MP Company down through history.

 

The Horse Cavalry

 

In the days of transition from Horse Cavalry to Motorized or Mechanized units, it was not uncommon to find within a Cavalry Regiment and even later within the 1st Cavalry Division both mounted units as well as motorized units assigned to the same organization on the same post.  There are no known photos available (except for some ruins and foundations at old Fort Davis, Texas), but the written record indicates that a group of buildings was quite common around the turn of the century which were called the “Work Shops” which were the forerunner to what we now know as the Motor Pool.  These buildings were constructed in a square with all the shop doors facing the interior of the square which normally had two entrances.  These shops almost always included the following:  Blacksmith, Wheelwright (a maker of spoked wooden wheels for wagons), Ferrier (a horse shoer), Motor Mechanics, Telegraph Office, Engineering and Cooper (which is a barrel maker) and some of the newer more modern ones had a welding shop.  Around the outside of the square and facing the outside were offices for the Signals Officer, Stable Master, Wagon Master and Chief Mule Skinner, Regimental Transport/Trains Officer, Motor Dispatch Officer, Chief Engineers’ Office (forerunner of the Combat Engineers and also the builder/planner of military forts and fortifications) and also the quarters/billets for all the tradesmen associated with these shops.  In some cases quarters for married tradesmen were also placed in this area.  The front side of this square of buildings normally faced a major road or highway which led to the other areas of the fort or post and on the other three sides were the following:  Horse Stables, Wagon Park and the Motor Park.  This was a fairly standard configuration on most Cavalry posts in the western states until the complete elimination of the horses and mules.  Fort Bliss had a similar configuration and the old Provost Sergeants as well as the first members of the original 1st Cav MP Platoon were probably quite familiar with it but as mentioned earlier, there are no known photographs and the old “Work Shops” at Fort Bliss have since been torn down to make room for more modern structures.

 

Australia

 

As of the writing of the document, the TOE for the MP Platoon has not arrived from the National Archives so we do not yet know for sure yet if the unit was authorized its own Motor Sergeant. Headquarters Troop, 1st Cavalry Division was authorized a Motor Sergeant and since the MP Platoon was assigned to Hqs Troop it must be assumed that the vehicles for the MP Platoon were maintained and kept in that Motor Pool.  The HHC Motor Pool was located somewhere near the Division Command Post at Camp Strathpine in Queensland, Australia which was about 15 miles north of Brisbane.  Since the MP Platoon maintained patrols at both the Base Camp and in the town of Brisbane, they must have put a lot of miles on their jeeps even before they were used in combat so they must have required frequent maintenance at the motor pool to maintain them in a state of combat readiness.

 

Pacific Theatre 

 

To date there are no known photographs of a Motor Pool for the MP Platoon in the Pacific Theatre nor is it known if the MP Platoon was authorized its own Motor Sergeant at this time in the units history.  The MP Platoon Hqs kept fairly close the Division CP and Hqs Troop so we must continue to assume (pending receipt of official documents to the contrary) that their Motor Pool continued to be with Hqs Troop. As per SGT Don Allen (a member of our unit association) who was the MP Platoon Motor Sergeant at Camp Drake, Japan from 1945 until 1946, SGT Anderson was the unit Motor Sergeant prior to him and may have been the MP Platoon Motor Sergeant in Manila before the unit moved to Camp Drake as well.

 

 

 

 

Japan

 

 

SGT Donald G. Allen, Motor Sergeant, MP Platoon, HQS Troop, 1st Cavalry Division 1945 – 1946
SGT Allen assumed the duties as Motor Sergeant of the old MP Platoon just as the unit arrived in Japan from Manila and
was the Motor Sergeant that first painted the unit Jeeps Cav yellow. Until his demise in June of 2010, SGT Allen was a member of our Association

 

 

MP Platoon mechanics and dispatcher (bottom row, 2nd from left) 1945
Camp Drake, Japan
Some of these men had been in Combat with the unit in the Pacific Islands
Photo taken by SGT Allen

 

 

Camp Drake Japan and the jeeps and assigned drivers as well as some Japanese mechanics and Japanese jeep wash crew members in the Motor Pool circa 1948 The MP Platoon finally had its own Motor Pool and Motor Sergeant

 

SGT Don Allen was the second MP Platoon Motor Sergeant at Camp Drake and as per an email from him to the writer of this document, the unit had about 40 yellow patrol jeeps and 5 or 6 OD jeeps along with one 6x6 Personnel Carrier and one Weapons Carrier and during his tenure as Motor Sergeant had no motorcycles.  During this period in time LT Buchman was the Motor Officer, Reed Larsen was the Shop Foreman, and Calvin Graybeal was the Dispatcher.  CPL’s Wayne Easterday, Wesley Bauer and? Childress were the three mechanics.  There was also a full time tire man, but his name has been forgotten with time.  This entire Motor Pool Crew rotated back stateside as a unit and the next Motor Sergeant, SSG Schrade and his crew were the ones who built the MP Platoon Motor Pool into the 545th MP Company Motor Pool and were also famous for organizing and maintaining the famous Cav Yellow MP motorcycles

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool, Camp Drake, Japan 1949

 

MP Platoon Motor Sergeant “Pop” Schrade and Snoopy one of the mechanics at Camp Drake, Japan circa 1947 - 1948

 

545th MP Co Motor Sergeant {name unknown} (on the right) and his mechanics at Camp Crawford, Japan 1954

 

545th MP Co jeeps lined up in the Motor Pool at Camp Crawford, Japan 1954

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool at Camp Crawford, Japan

 

 

 

 

Korea

 

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool in Korea 1951

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool area 1951 in Korea

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool Crew in Korea 1951

 

Cpt Holt, Commander, 545th MP Co inspects jeeps and assigned drivers in the Motor Pool at Camp Custer, Korea circa 1963

 

Unidentified 545th Mechanics in the Motor Pool Shop at Camp Custer, Korea circa 1962

 

545th Motor Pool Crew at Camp Custer, Japan circa 1963

 

545th Mechanic in the Grease Pit at Camp Custer, Japan

NOTE:  Sometime in the early 1960’s the Army instituted a program called “Motor Stables” in which every assigned driver and crew member of every vehicle in the US Army had to go to the unit motor pool at a prescribed time every day (usually in the afternoon) and perform 1st echelon maintenance on their vehicle.

 

 

 

 

Vietnam

 

SSG Carotti, Motor Sergeant, 545th MP Co at Phouc Vinh, RVN circa 1969

 

SSG Carotti and his log books – a never ending job!

 

The 545th Motor Pool Crew in all their glory at Phouc Vinh circa 1969

 

Splash me with that hose again and you’re dead meat!!!

Vehicle wash pad at the 545th Motor Pool

 

Don’t worry; we’ll fix it at Phouc Vinh, RVN circa 1969

 

All the grease monkey’s of the 545th at Phouc Vinh and the Commo Sergeant, SSG Wheeler on the right circa 1970

 

SSG Carotti with his morning coffee and a little “Hair of the Dog”

The only two places in Phouc Vinh where you could get a decent cup of coffee was the MP Club or the Motor Pool.

 

545th Maintenance tent after many mortar attacks (all shreds but in use just the same) this was the third one that was erected in a 6 month period of time.  Note the jeep revetments.  Charlie loved to drop mortars and rockets in the motor pool.

 

The 545th also had an impoundment lot where vehicles involved in accidents were towed until the investigation was complete.  Often the units would not come and pick them up when released so after a few months SSG Carotti would use them for parts.  He called it the 545th Bone Yard.  The jeep pictured above is a good example.

 

545th MP Co Motor Pool Crew at Bear Cat Vietnam 1970/71

 

Wide angle shot of the Motor Pool at Bear Cat

 

Replacing the head on an M 151 at Bear Cat

 

 

 

Desert Storm

 

There are presently no photos of the 545th Motor Pool from Desert Storm available.

 

 

The Iraq War

 

A little up armoring in the 545th Motor Pool in Baghdad Iraq circa 2004

 

Topping off at the 545th Motor Pool in Baghdad

 

Your own personal Hummer – Free, Fuel for your Hummer – Free, to have the only Desert Body Armor in the entire unit – Priceless

 

Saddle up at the Iraqi Police Motor Pool in Baghdad and off we go on joint patrol

 

Finding a little shade in the Motor Pool

 

The 545th Motor Pool in Baghdad, Iraq 2004

 

More up armoring in the Motor Pool

 

545th Maintenance Tent and Motor Pool in Baghdad, Iraq

 

 545th MP SPC Smith doing a little maintenance on “His Ride” in the motor pool

 

545h MP SGT Hammond replacing a motor in Baghdad, Iraq

 

545th MP Co Maintenance Crew in Baghdad, Iraq

 

545th MP Company Motor Sergeant, SGT Simmons sends a message!

 

 

 

 

Fort Hood, Texas

 

Man – I should have checked this at the Motor Pool

 

Lt Dennis Thompson checks the 545th Jeeps and MP’s at the Motor Pool prior to Guard Mount at Fort Hood

 

SFC Bill (Mack) Starnes (photo – left) Motor Sergeant of the 545th MP Company, re enlists in the motor pool and is sworn in by 1LT Douglas Fontenot, XO and Motor Officer of the 545th MP Co at Fort Hood circa 1978

 

SFC Bill (Mack) Starnes

Motor Sergeant

545th MP Company

1st Cavalry Division

Fort Hood, Texas

1977 – 1979

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Richardson, Alaska

 

 

 

SGT Meja and SPC Crespo the 545th Motor Pool crew at Ft Richardson 2008

 

  

Inside the 545th Motor Pool Bay 2008

 

Newly assigned Hummers waiting to be driven by 545th MPs at Ft Richardson 2008

 



545th MP vehicles in their new motor pool at Fort Richardson June 2010

 




New Maintenance facility, shop and dispatch office for the 545th MPs in Alaska 2010

 



Interior of the new Motor Pool Shop at Ft Richardson, Alaska 2010

 


Rough day in the 545thMotor Pool

 

 

The 545th Motor Pool Crew at Fort Richardson, Alaska 2011

Botton Row kneeling from right to left:  SGT Edmodston Motor Sergeant, PFC Monholien, POL

Top Row standing right to left:  SGT Wagner POL NCO, SPC Davis WV Mechanic, SPC Thiewes WV Mechanic

 

 

Should anyone have any additions to make to the pictorial history, kindly send them to the contact below.

 

Sam Reinert
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
Founder
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South 9th Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX
http://545thmpassn.com/

samreinert1@545thmpcoassn.org