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
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
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
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
MP’S SPEND WEEKEND READYING FOR POSSIBLE
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
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
“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.
THE FORT HOOD SENTINEL
MP’S SUPPORT CUBAN REFUGEE CENTER
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
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
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX