Army tales

Girard, IL

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Me and Cleaver at Miesau Army Depot, Germany, in Jan 1985

I enlisted in the Army on the Delayed Entry Program on 20 Nov 1976, while I was still a senior in high school. I entered active duty on 20 Jul 1977, a month and a half after graduation; I went to the reception station at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where I was originally scheduled to take basic training. I found out at the end of reception that between the time I enlisted and the time that I entered active duty, the Army had developed One Station Unit Training (OSUT) for military police at Fort McClellan, Ala., so after an entire week in the Army and the end of reception Wayne Klein and I were taken to CIF for a supplemental issue of khakis/TWs and dressed up like soldiers, and taken to the Greyhound bus station with travel orders and vouchers to get us to Anniston, Ala., and Fort McClellan. Roughly a day and a half later we arrived, only to be placed in a unit that was still filling, Bravo Company 12th MP Training BN. Klein and I both wound up in the third platoon with Drill SGTs SSG Jackie Gregg, SSG Jim Whittaker and SSG Ron Mason. We started basic training the first week of August 1977 and wound up basic 6 weeks later around the middle of September, then started the MP School training or AIT portion of training. I finished up around the middle of November and was off back home for a 2-week leave before reporting to my first duty assignment in Italy. Arriving in Italy I spent 3-4 days in the 221st MP Company in Vicenza before they told me "You are going to Darby." I said WHO?? they said not who but where: Camp Darby in Pisa; they have a beach there, you will love it! At Darby I was assigned to the first squad with SSG Freddie Hockenberry as squad leader and my career was off to a start. Duty at Camp Darby consisted of Law & Order, gate duty, and physical security patrols in the ammunition storage area and general supply depot. During this time I got to meet and work around some Air Force dog handler types who came down from Aviano Air force Base and I decided that dog handling was something that I would be interested in. The Career Management folks picked up on that and patrol dog handler school was the carrot dangled over my head to get me to re-enlist for the very first time. I left Italy after 2 1/2 years in Jun 1980 bound for patrol dog school at Lackland AFB, Texas, and an assignment to the 561st MP Company at Fort Myer, Va. Fort Myer is in Arlington and adjoins Arlington National Cemetery; part of the MP Company mission besides Law & Order was to provide ceremonial support to the 3rd Infantry Regiment, THE OLD GUARD of the Army. During my time at Myer I was assigned to the Kennels Section working patrol dogs Baron, Fang and Cleaver with SSG Pete Davola, SSG Ed Basham and SSG Gary Dewitt serving as Kennel Master at various times during my tour. After 3 years at Fort Myer, I moved on to HHC Miesau Army Depot in Germany; HHC was a combined unit with an Ordnance Corps Commander, 1 platoon made up of ammo handlers and support types, and the security platoon consisting of the Kennels Section and regular MPs making up the Directorate for Security which was the shattered remnants of what had once been the 189th MP Company. After 3 years in Germany, I received orders for the Fort McClellan MP Company returning to Fort McClellan as the Kennel Master - the bad news there being that I had to leave Cleaver, who had moved from Virginia to Germany with me, behind in Germany after working that crazy mutt for the better part of 5-plus years it was a hard pill to swallow. I arrived back at Fort McClellan in Dec 1986, at that time unaware it would not be until Oct 1993 before I left. While in the Fort McClellan MP Company I served as Kennel Master, MP Operations SGT/NCO, Civil Liaison, Squad Leader and Vehicle Registration NCO. Sometime during the nearly 7 years that I was on McClellan the MP Assignments Branch managed to quite effectively lose me and thought that I was back in Germany somewhere. Once they figured out where I was I put in a personnel request to go back to Italy and received a nifty postcard thanking me for my volunteer of service but all slots in my grade in Italy were filled, but I did get an assignment instruction for Korea. I wound up in the 142nd MP Company 8th MP BDE at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul for a one-year assignment. After leaving Korea I was assigned to the United States Army Infantry Center MP Company at Fort Benning, Ga., where I served my final 2 1/2-plus years serving as a Desk SGT, Patrol Supervisor/Squad Leader, Squad Leader/ Assistant Platoon SGT with the Community Oriented Police Platoon, and Physical Security NCO.

Branch of Service:
Army


Fort McClellan MP Company Reunion in Jun 2015

Department of Illinois Convention 2014

Submitted by:
Michael Vance

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