|If you do
NOT see the Table of Contents frame to the left of this page, then
Click here to open 'USArmyGermany'
Military Police Brigade
US Army, Europe
Looking for more information from military/civilian
personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army
in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any
stories or thoughts on the subject, please email me (webmaster).
MP Brigade History
1965 - June 1976
15th MP Bde
Military Police Journal, June 1970)
MP Brigade Commanders (incomplete)
Robert L. Staver
||25 June 1965 to 10 November 1965
Henry L. Gibson
||1 December 1965 to 17 May 1967
William T. McClary
||17 May 1967 to 25 August 1968
Herbert J. Michau
||25 August 1968 to 5 June 1970
Walter N. Israel
|| 5 June 1970 to 21 August 1971
Baxter M. Bullock
|| 21 August 1971 to 12 June 1973
||12 June 1973 - 25 June 1974
|| BG Paul M. Timmerberg
|| 25 June 1974 to 23 August 1975
||COL Gorden D. Rowe
||18 September 1975 to 14 May 1976
||BG Theodore S. Kanamine
||17 May 1976 to 1 July 1976 (1)
On 1 July 1976, the 15th MP Bde was deactived and OPM established.
(Source: Richard W.Burch, 31st MP Det, 1969-73)
HISTORY OF THE 15th MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE
| On 15 June 1965, the 15th Military Police Brigade was activated in front of the I.G. Farben Building in Frankfurt, Germany. During the ceremony, Colonel Robert L. Staver accepted the Colors and the Command of the newly formed 15th Military Police Brigade, the first such brigade ever activated in the United States Army.
The Brigade was placed under the U.S. Army Area Command, and consisted of the two (2) MP Groups, the 2nd MP Group and the 14th MP Group. The groups’ geographic areas of responsibility coincided with the districts of the U.S. Army Area Command (USAAC) to which the brigade was subordinated. The Groups were further divided into 32 MP Stations and 19 substations. Besides providing law enforcement services to half-million U.S. Forces in Germany, the Brigade was now charged with the functions of conducting military police investigations; providing for the temporary registration of privately owned vehicles and the permanent registration of weapons; operating the police communications system; to include the serious incident reporting (SIR) net; operating confinement facilities within the Federal Republic of Germany; performing physical security at ports, depots and major headquarters, as well as in transit security for critical and sensitive shipments; and performing physical security inspections and surveys.
The 2nd MP Group was moved from Frankfurt to Nürnberg and given responsibility for six (6) of the U.S. Army Area Command’s ten (10) districts. Assigned to the 2nd MP Group were the 709th and 793rd Military Police Battalions, plus the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) and Provost Marshal Detachments that operated the 20 MP Stations and six sub-stations within the area of responsibility (AO) of the 15th MP Brigade.
The 793rd MP BN had been in Nürnberg since shortly after WW II, when it provided security for the Nürnberg War Crimes Trials held there in 1946 and where it has remained conducting a law enforcement mission in the Nürnberg Area.
After relocating to Mannheim briefly, the 709th MP BN returned to the Frankfurt area and took up residence in Bieberer Strasse Kaserne, Offenbach, just outside of Frankfurt. Co A, was divided between Frankfurt and Darmstadt, Company B was distributed among Giessen, Butzbach, Hanau, Kassel, and Fulda and Company C had its headquarters in Bad Kreuznach; with the 3rd Platoon in Mainz and the 2nd Platoon in Baumholder. The 285th MP Company in Karlsruhe and the 537th MP Company in Mannheim were attached to the 709th MP BN.
When the 14th MP Group was activated in Mannheim during July 1, 1964, the 463rd MP Company (Escort Guard) and the 533rd MP Company, were both assigned to function separately under the 14th MP Group. Included in the 14th MP Group's responsibilities were twelve (12) MP stations and seven substations. Although a great deal of further expansion was (planned within) to occur in the Brigade, the basic organization was the same in 1965 as it was in June 1972.
The battalions, through the line companies, had the responsibility of providing Military Police support to the Area Provost Marshals (APM'S). The MP personnel were trained, equipped, and commanded by the (line) units, but during duty hours, they are under the operational control of the Area Provost Marshals. In this way, both the wartime mission of combat support and the peacetime mission of daily law enforcement carried out simultaneously by the brigade.
Both the Area Provost Marshals and the Battalion and Group Commanders were responsible to the Brigade Commander for the fulfillment of their respective missions.
Area Provost Marshal Detachment within the 15th MP Brigade area of operation (AO) with a Law Enforcement Mission:
|17th MP Detachment
||APM, North Baden Area
|20th MP Detachment
||APM, Palatinate Area
|21st MP Detachment
||APM, South Bavaria Area
|31st MP Detachment
||APM, North Wurttemburg Area
|34th MP Detachment
||APM, Franconia Area
|60th MP Detachment
||APM, Rheinland-Pfalz Area
|61st MP Detachment
||APM, Taunus Area
|62nd MP Detachment
||APM, Northern Bavaria Area
|67th MP Detachment
||APM, Vogelsberg Area
|510th MP Detachment
||APM, Hessen Area
| In the beginning, Brigade headquarters was established in Frankfurt, the largest communications and transportation center in West Germany. It was from this base of operations that the Brigade began to function. The last six months of 1965 were mainly occupied with testing the new form of organization and ironing out minor "bugs" in the operation.
The 15th MP Brigade organization included the geographical dispersion of Military Police in Germany. U.S. Military Police were stationed throughout the Federal Republic of Germany, from Bremerhaven on the North Sea to the Austrian border and from the Czech border to France, over an area of 75,000 square miles.
Early in 1965, the Brigade was relieved from assignment to the U.S. Army Area Command (USAACOM) and placed under the 7th Army Support Command (SUPCOM). Shortly afterwards, the Brigade acquired the 385th MP Battalion to round itself out to its present four (4) battalions.
The 385th MP Battalion was originally a railway security battalion, which was activated in 1944, before the shooting stopped; the battalion won a battle streamer for the Rhineland Campaign of 1944-45. After being inactivated in 1948, it was reactivated in 1955 to support the 7th Army. After becoming a part of the 15th MP Brigade, it remained in Stuttgart, with a geographic area of responsibility, which included North Wurttemburg Area.
Its wartime mission, like that of the other battalions in the 15th MP Brigade, was "to enforce military laws, orders, and regulations, to include control of traffic, stragglers, circulation of individuals, protection of property, and operation of checkpoints in support of combat operations." The battalion's peacetime mission was to provide Military Police support to three Area Provost Marshals in their mission of enforcing discipline, law, and order in their respective areas.
One of the most severe tests the Brigade encountered occurred during this time, as a result of a war half a world away. Vietnam drained personnel from the Brigade before it completely got its bearings. The war caused a severe shortage of MP's throughout Germany. 95 Bravos found themselves working harder and longer to fill the gaps left by their Asian-bound buddies. Harder work and longer hours were regrettably the only solution to a tough problem. The men of the 15th adjusted to the situation so successfully that the incident rate throughout USAREUR, actually declined during the year of 1966, the year of the tightest manpower strain.
If the year 1966 will be remembered long though, it will be because it was the year the brigade's unit patch was adopted. The unique "Griffin" patch became available for the men of the brigade after being approved by the Institute of Heraldry, U.S. Army, in April 1966. The new insignia replaced the 7th Army Patch.
The period of 1965-67 was one of intensive training for the Brigade; primarily for its wartime mission. During this phase of the Brigade's history, Griffin units lent military police support to six separate winter exercises, as well as many lesser major field exercises.
Later in the spring of 1967, the Brigade gained another unit, the 570th MP Platoon. The Platoon's sole mission was guarding trains, so the 15th MP Brigade went into the railway security business. This entailed responsibility for the security of all critical U.S. Government rail shipments in West Germany. The 570th guarded U.S. Mail and official consignments, and investigated pilferage of official shipments in transit. It was the only unit of its kind in the U.S. Army.
When war erupted between Israel and its Arab neighbors, it became necessary to send MP’s to the area to help safeguard U.S. civilians in the combat zone. Within six hours of notification on June 8, 1967, Co A, 709th MP BN was airlifted to a staging site in Athens, Greece. Since it was only a Six (6) day war, Co A, wasn't needed and returned some days later. But the brief war once again impressed the necessity of combat preparedness on the men of the 15th MP Brigade and in order to place more emphasis on training for such emergencies, a new USAREUR concept of combat preparedness called REFORGER was implemented in 1968.
In November 1968, REFORGER I required a total Brigade effort to provide for the necessary police support. Military Police were responsible for providing traffic control points, rest stops, roving patrols, and enforcement of law and order among the moving troops. In their assigned areas, the battalions were responsible for directing and convoying REFORGER units.
In the spring of 1968, from the 15th MP Brigade went the 2nd and 14th MP Groups, as well as the 463rd MP Company. These units could be re-deployed back to Europe if required. Under the resulting new organization, the battalions fell directly under brigade headquarters instead of under the MP Groups.
In January 1969, the Brigade shifted to USAREUR command from the 7th Army SUPCOM, becoming directly responsible to the Commander-in-Chief, USAREUR. As a major USAREUR command, the Brigade's headquarters took on several functions that had previously been performed by the 7th Army SUPCOM. This meant (adding) a new Personnel Services Section, a Comptroller section, a Staff Judge Advocate Section, a permanent CMMI team, and an Information Office (which) was renamed the Public Affairs Office (PAO). Altogether, the number of persons assigned or attached to Brigade Headquarters rose from 48 in 1968 to 190 in 1969.
Since the increase in personnel dictated a corresponding increase in office and billeting space, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment moved from Frankfurt to Rhein Ordnance Barracks, near Kaiserslautern.
At about the same time, the Brigade gained two new companies, the 554th MP Company and the 59th MP Company. The 554th was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), making it the only company-sized physical security unit in the Brigade. It also provided the MP Honor Guard to all HQ, USEUCOM ceremonies. Assigned to Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, the unit became a part of the 385th MP Battalion.
The 59th MP Company was headquartered in Bremerhaven, and assigned to the 709th MP Battalion. The 59th MP Company was charged with the task of providing port security and law enforcement, for the Bremerhaven Port area, which was the American forces major port for government shipments to or from Europe.
On 15 May 1969, the 9th MP Group (CI) was activated as a subordinate unit of the 15th MP Brigade. It was the first Criminal Investigation Group to be activated in Europe since World War II. The 9th MP Group was formed upon deactivation of the eight non-divisional CI detachments in Europe. The 9th Group was formed to consolidate the various CI detachments in Europe, previously under various subordinate commands of USAREUR-7th Army, under one Headquarters.
The 9th had the distinction of being the only CI Group in the U.S. Army, which operates in six (6) foreign countries. The forty (40) field offices of the Group were located in Belgium, Germany, England, France, Holland and Italy.
The 42nd MP Group (Customs) was transferred from USAREUR Command to the 15th MP Brigade on 15 May 1969, the same day of the 9th Group's activation. The 42nd MP Group existed pursuant to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and other agreements concluded between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. Those agreements granted members of the U.S. Forces and their dependents in Germany certain exemptions from import duties and other taxes on goods intended for their personal use. To preserve those privileges, the U.S. had agreed to enforce those German customs laws and regulations applicable to U.S. Forces personnel.
The 42nd Group was charged with the mission of enforcing those customs laws and regulations. The Group provided customs support for all three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.
CONFINEMENT FACILITIES ASSIGNED: In July 1969 the last large augmentation of the 15th MP Brigade strength was added, in the form of four confinement detachments:
|43rd MP Det (Confinement Fac)
||Wm. O'Darby Ksn, Fürth
|50th MP Det (Confinement Fac)
||Gutleut Ksn, Frankfurt
|51st MP Det (Confinement Fac)
||Eastman Bks, Dachau
|77th MP Det (Confinement Fac)
||Coleman Bks, Sandhofen
|Upon acquiring the stockades, the Brigade immediately undertook a comprehensive program of re-organization and coordination. Previously, the four units had been under separate commands, which had meant substantial duplication of effort. The four stockades were integrated into an overall program, supervised by the newly created confinement section at brigade.
The largest facility was located at Mannheim, operated by the 77th MP Detachment. This facility was to receive all those prisoners who had been convicted and were serving sentences of more than thirty days (30). The remaining facilities were slated for prisoners awaiting trial or who had less than 30 days to serve. The more efficient reorganization allowed the Mannheim facility to concentrate its resources towards a long term educational and training program, together with a high quality psychiatric and physician treatment program.
A new concept implemented by the confinement section was that of the correctional holding detachment. This made it easier for the Brigade to initiate clemency or take other action independent of the prisoner's former unit. In addition, the concept gives newly released prisoners a fresh start in the Army, at a new unit.
In 1970, the Brigade started supplying regular massive support for the now regular REFORGER exercises. This NATO training operation, involved approximately 25,000 troops and required a month long commitment from those MP's designated to support it. This support included traffic control, VIP escorts and safely conducting the long convoys down autobahns to their destination.
In March 1971, the 15th MP Brigade became a part of the U.S. Army Theater Army Support Command (TASCOM), Europe. 15th MP Brigade retained the “Griffin” patch.
During this time, the 9th MP Group (Criminal Investigation) and 42nd MP Groups (Customs) were transferred from the 15th MP Brigade and would remain under the operational control of the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), due to the highly specialized nature of their missions.
During August 1971, Colonel Baxter M. Bullock, Commanding Officer, 15th MP Brigade Commander established the 15th MP Brigade MP Academy, shortly after his assumption of Command. The MP Academy, was co-located with Brigade Headquarters in Kaiserslautern and began formal instruction for several police specialties and the first course, for Desk Sergeants, started on November 15, 1971. Courses for MP Station Commander's, MP Duty Officers, and Patrol Supervisors have also been developed since then. An MP Basic Course was also initiated to provide volunteers from other MOS's for Military Police work, with a sound knowledge of MP subjects.
Also during November 1971, a Military Police Investigator (MPI) course was established at the Brigade MP Academy and was especially important because it represented an entirely new concept within the 15th MP Brigade. The idea was to start investigating small crimes that wouldn't normally require the attention of CID, but still deserved investigation. (Note: The MPI program was not new within the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. Most Post Provost Marshal operations, both in Germany and the United States had established their own Military Police Investigators (MPI) years before within their area of operations (AO) and were getting great results from their programs.) The program affected some 1,000 criminals a month that committed minor crimes throughout USAREUR.
The 15th MP Brigade's first MP Investigators graduated from the MP Academy on 25 February 1972 and were given an immediate commitment to the expanded campaign against crime in USAREUR. The newly accredited investigators were the nucleus of an elite force of 122 investigators who had completed the course and operate in two and three man teams throughout Germany. Since the MPI has been active in the command, the USAREUR crime rate had dropped for two successive quarters in a row, especially in larcenies and assaults, in which MPI's specialize. As more classes of graduates are turned out, the returns may become even more impressive.
The 15th MP Brigade MP Detachments became involved with the Baader-Meinhof Gang during May 11, 1972 with the bombing of the Terrace Officers Club and the IG Farben Bldg by the Baader-Meinhof gang, and the capture of Andreas Baader near the AFN bldg, by the German police.
After the first V Corps bombing, the Baader-Meinhof group referred to itself as the “Petra Schelm Command” in its famous “Red Army Faction” letter. The letter forecasted a Black Friday for Stuttgart, threatened that three bombs would be planted in autos and detonated between on and two (2) P.M. on June 2, 1972. Well prepared for any indication or report of suspicious vehicle or occurrence, both the German police and the 31st MP Detachment/Area Provost Marshal, North Wurttemburg and the 385th MP Battalion were equipped with helicopter patrols, hovering over the Stuttgart area. Also, the 31st MP Detachment received notification of a vehicle coming from Heidelberg to Stuttgart containing explosives that would explode four (4) minutes after the operator turned off the engine. All Autobahn entrances and exits in the Stuttgart area were blocked off making it virtually impossible for any of the suspect vehicles to enter Stuttgart. In addition MP Patrols sealed off all entrances into Military Housing Areas in the Stuttgart area and provided extra security at key military installations and facilities in the area.
During 23 August 1972, the 15th MP Brigade provided a 150 MP task force from the Brigades four (4) MP Battalions to support the 21st MP Detachment/Area Provost Marshal, South Bavaria, in preparation for the XX Olympiad at the Olympic Village, Munich. Under the immediate command of South Bavaria PM, their mission was difficult -- assist yet remain inconspicuous, and subject to the guidelines set by the German police.
During September 5, 1972 Palestinian guerrillas attacked the Israeli quarters in the Olympic Village, killing two and holding 11 other hostage. As German Police and Military Police units began to arrive at the Olympic Village the Beirut radio was giving credit to the “Black September” guerrilla movement for the early morning actions.
(More to follow when additional details become available)
The 15th Military Police Brigade was inactivated on 30 June, 1976, in Germany.
(Source of Information is from "The Griffin," 15th MP Brigade Newspaper, Thursday, June 25th 1970; 15th MP Brigade’s Fifth Anniversary or "Nothing so constant as change;" from "The Griffin" Newspapers, through out the years from 1970 - 1973; open source information and compiled and written by Richard W. Burch, retired member of the Military Police Corps and Assistant MP Operations Sgt and MP Operations Sgt, 31st MP Detachment from 1970-73).
Tim Michau, son of the late COL Herbert J. Michau)
15th MP Bde Hqs staff, Frankfurt, September 1968 (KB)
15th MP Bde Hqs staf, Kaiserslautern, May 1969 (KB)
MP Bde Hqs Bldg, Rhein Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern (KB)
|(Source: MP School Historical Dept.)
|If you have more
information on the history or organization of the 15th MP Brigade,
please contact me.
Richard W.Burch, 31st MP Det, 1969-73)
I returned to Germany Sep 69 and was deverted by the 15th MP Bde
to the job of 1SG B Co, 385th MP Bn Wilkens Bks. In 1970 I was assigned
to the 31st MP Det/APM North-Wurttemburg Area as PM Opns Sgt. I
was there until 1973. As I couldn't find a website with information
about the 31st MP Detachment I am working on a website for the 31st
MP Det, 15th MP BDE, Stuttgart (http://www.military.com/HomePage/UnitPageCheckPassword/1,11544,727093|94292,00.html).
The Area Provost Marshal/CDR 31st MP Detachment was LTC Thomas J.
Briggs. I worked for him 7 years in the MP Corps. We keep in touch
as do some of the other former fine Officers and NCO's of the 31MP
The 15th Bde History only lists the MP Detachments of the CID. The
15th MP BDE had some fine MP Detachments located throughout Germany
and the only mention of them by unit is in the 709th MP Bn History.
LTC Moscow updated that and other than his detachments which the
709th MP Bn supported, no other MP Dets are mentioned. Those Detachments
conducted the on-the-street MP Duty and wrote the history of the
Law Enforcement Mission by their actions.
As a former member of the MP Corps and 23 years in the Military
Police, 14 in Germany in fine units such as: 508th MP Bn, Munich;
17th MP Det, Heidelberg; PM North, Mannheim; 3rd Plt, 285th MP Co,
which changed to 3rd Plt 709th MP Bn, Mainz, then it became 3rd
Plt, 537th MP CO. and returning in 1969 to 385th MP Bn. Some great
assignments in the MP Corps in Germany.
My site will give the prior members a chance to provide what was
going on during their tour with the Detachment.. I was thinking
and reading the 15th MP BDe History and wondered why you don't open
a site on the same internet Military.com and call it Military Police
Detachments located in Germany in support of the 15th MP BDE Law
Enforcement Mission and ask former members of the Det to provide
some info on each of their assignments in the web site. This would
help gleam some lost information. I have lost lots of my MP NCO
friends in the past 3 years. They were some of the best MP Officers,
NCO'S and Military Policemen assigned to the Detachments that were
available and most were hand picked by the PM's.
| The Griffin Newspaper
|The Griffin - Some of the issues published in Germany
|2nd MP Group
| 2nd Military Police Group DI
(Source: Email from Dick Burch)
| On 1 July 1964, the Army Northern Area Command (NACom) and the Army Southern Area Command (SACom) were inactivated and both were replaced with the activation of the U.S. Army Area Command (USAACOM), which provided one unified support and service headquarters.
During this reorganization and activation of the USAACOM, the 2nd Military Police Group was established under USAACOM to provide police and investigative services to the Command.
The 2nd MP Group was activated with Colonel Robert L. Staver, USAACOM Provost Marshal serving in a dual-hat capacity, that as Provost Marshal, United States Army Area Command and as the Commander, 2nd Military Police Group.
The 2nd MP Group had two (2) sectors: PM NORTH located at Turley Barracks, Mannheim and PM SOUTH (Bavaria), located in William O. Darby Kaserne, Nurnberg,
Due to this reorganization, the 508th Military Police Battalion, Munich under the Southern Area Command (SACom), and the 382nd Military Police Battalion, Kaiserslautern, under the Northern Area Command (NACom) as well as several lesser units were inactivated in Germany.
The new Group was organized with a Headquarters Detachment; two (2) MP Battalions (709th Military Police Battalion and 793rd Military Police Battalion); four (4) separate Companies; one (1) railway security unit; two (2) criminal investigation detachments; and one (1) Stockade detachment.
LTC John S. Gibson was named as the Commanding Officer, 709th Military Police Battalion and as the Provost Marshal, North, headquartered at Turley Barracks, Mannheim. Major Frank Conway assumed Command of the 793rd Military Police Battalion and was named Provost Marshal South (Bavaria) pending arrival of LTC William Brandenberg in late July 1964.
The 2nd MP Group supplied the equipment and personnel for six (6) Stockades, two (2) sector Provost Marshal Offices, twenty nine (29) MP Stations and thirty one (31) MPCI Field Offices.
In support of the 2nd MP Group’s enforcement mission, 7th Army provided military police officers and enlisted personnel at selected MP Stations. Those were under the operational control of the MP Station Commander in coordination with the 7th Army Provost Marshals.
The Confinement Mission of USAAC was accomplished through the operation of six (6) stockades by members of the 2nd MP Group, under the operational control of the respective post commanders.
The 570th MP Platoon (Railway Security) was headquartered in Frankfurt with a detachment in Bremerhaven.
The 42nd MP Group (Customs), the 6th MP (CI) and the 37th MP (CI), were assigned to the 2nd MP Group, however, they were not employed by the U.S. Army Area Command (USAAC). They were assigned and performed certain theater-wide functions and came under the operational control and supervision of the USAREUR Provost Marshal.
With the 15th MP Brigade being activated in Frankfurt, this authorized the activation of 15th MP Brigade Area Provost Marshal (APM) Detachments throughout the 15th MP Brigade area of operation (AO). These Area Provost Marshal Detachments replaced the PM North and PM South, 2nd MP Group, which were inactivated.
(Source of information is from the MP School Historical Department, 14th MP Brigade Griffin newspapers and open source information, which was researched, compiled and written by Richard W. Burch, retired member of the MP Corps, and former member of PM North, MP Operations, 2nd MP Group, Mannheim for the PM North/PM South, 2nd MP Group website)
|14th MP Group
| 14th Military Police Group DI
(Source: Email from Dick Burch)
| HISTORY OF THE 14th MILITARY POLICE GROUP
The 14th MP Group was activated in Mannheim, Germany, on 25 June 1965 and was given the responsibility for 12 MP Stations and seven (7) substations. The 14th MP Group at first was only assigned one (1) MP Battalion, the 94th Military Police Battalion, plus the 463rd MP Company (Escort Guard) and the 533rd MP Company, which functioned separately under the 14th MP Group.
The 94th MP Bn had been re-activated in 1959 and was assigned to the Army Advanced Weapons Support Command (AWSCOM) in Pirmasens, Germany. The battalion was later relieved from AWSCOM and during 1965, relocated to Kaiserslautern. In 1965, the 94th and its subordinate units had the responsibility for the Rheinland – Pfalz area of West Germany. Unlike the other battalions in the 15th MP Brigade, the 94th MP BN was organized under TO&E 19-500D, with numbered rather than lettered companies.
Although a great deal of further augmentation was planned into the 15th MP Brigade, the basic plan was the same in 1965 as it was during the 1970’s. The groups and battalions, through the line companies, had the responsibility of providing Military Police support to the Area Provost Marshals. The MP personnel were trained, equipped and commanded by the line units, but during duty hours they are under the operational control of the Provost Marshals. In this way, both the wartime mission of combat support and the peacetime mission of daily law enforcement could be carried out simultaneously by the Brigade.
Both the Area Provost Marshals and the Battalion and Group commanders are responsible to the Brigade Commander for the fulfillment of their respective missions. Brigade headquarters was up in Frankfurt, the largest communications and transportation center in West Germany. It was from this location that Brigade operations began to function. The last six months of 1965 were mainly occupied with the testing the new form of organization and ironing out minor “bugs” in the operation.
The year 1966, saw the first augmentation of the Brigade as had been planned for in the initial activation. During January 1966, the Brigade was relieved from U.S. Army Area Command (USAACOM) and placed under Seventh Army Support Command (SUPCOM).
Shortly thereafter, the 385th MP Battalion joined the Brigade and was added to the 14th MP Group.
Originally a Railway Security Battalion, the 385th MP Railway Security Battalion was reactivated in 1955 as the 385th MP Battalion with the mission of supporting the 7th U.S. Army. When the 385th MP BN was assigned to the 15th MP Brigade it remained in Stuttgart, with a geographic area of responsibility, which included most of southern Germany. Its wartime mission, like that of the other battalions in the 15th MP Brigade was “to enforce military laws, orders and regulations, to include control of traffic, stragglers, circulation of individuals, protection of property , and operation of checkpoints in support of combat operations”, according to the battalion history.
The battalion’s peacetime mission was to provide Military Police support to three Area Provost Marshals in their mission of enforcing discipline, law, and order in their respective areas.
The year 1968 brought in a new U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) concept of combat preparedness. The new concept, called REFORGER, is a scheme for quick mobilization of Army units for use in Europe. In the spring of 1968, more than 25,000 USAREUR troops were restationed in the U.S. Although in the United States, those troops remained part of the NATO defense force and under the operational command of the U.S. Commander in Chief, Europe.
The15th MP Brigade was one of the USAREUR units to have elements re-deployed in line with REFORGER. The 2nd and 14th MP Groups, as well as the 463rd MP Company (Escort Guard), returned to the United States. From their CONUS bases, they would be re-deployed to Europe if required. The last elements of the 463rd and the 2nd MP Group departed Germany on 10 August 1968. Headquarters, 15th MP Brigade, rather than Groups commanded the battalions under the new reorganization in Germany.
(Source of the history of the 14th MP Brigade was compiled from “The Griffin” Newspapers Fifth Anniversary 1965-70, Thur, 25 June 1970; “The Griffin”, June 1972, Article by SP5 David P. Goodrich “7 Years of Service in FRG” and compiled by Richard W. Burch, Retired member of the Military Police Corps for the 15th MP Brigade website)
Military Police Journal, June 1970)
MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE
"Nothing So Constant As Change"
By SP4 Robert M. Hagan
Specialist Hagan was graduated from the College o/ Communications,
University of Illinois, in 1968. He entered the US Army in early
1969 and, upon completion of basic training, was assigned as the
second member o/ the newly formed 15th MP Brigade Information Section.
|On 25 June 1965
a ceremony was conducted in front of the I. G. Farben Building in
Frankfurt, Germany. During that ceremony, Colonel Robert L. Staver
accepted the colors and the command of the newly formed 15th
Military Police Brigade, the first such brigade ever activated
in the United States Army. At that moment, in the words of Colonel
Staver, the Military Police Corps took "a step forward in our ever
increasing role in support of the United States Army."
This month the 15th MP Brigade celebrates its Fifth Anniversary, marking
five years of growth and five years of military police service in
Germany. The events of those five years have proven Colonel Staver
right in predicting "an ever increasing role" for the Military Police
Corps in the US Army.
The years 1965 to 1970 saw the 15th take-on new units, new missions,
and added responsibilities each year. Throughout those years, the
brigade has been growing and changing. In the words of another commander
of the brigade, Colonel Herbert J. Michau, "there has been nothing
so constant as change" in the short history of the Army's first military
Today, the 15th MP Brigade is a major command of United States Army
Europe (USAREUR), with a strength of 3,700 military and 386 civilian
personnel. The wartime mission of the brigade is to provide military
police support to the combat units of USAREUR and Seventh US Army.
To this end, the brigade units are constantly training and preparing
for field operations. In the past five years brigade units have participated
in USAREUR and NATO exercises such as Reforger I and Car Crew II,
as well as dozens of field exercises, alerts, and inspections all
designed to keep the brigade in a high state of combat readiness.
At the same time, the brigade has been carrying on its peacetime mission
of providing police services to more than half a million US Forces
servicemen and their dependents in the Federal Republic of Germany.
This round-the-clock mission of law enforcement is carried out through
the 47 MP stations and provost marshal offices manned by 15th Brigade
personnel. These MP stations and substations are dispersed throughout
the country, wherever US troops are stationed.
The 15th MP Brigade is also responsible for all non-divisional CID
activity in USAREUR. This mission is performed through the 9th
MP Group (CI), with its detachments and field offices in
the Federal Republic of Germany, West Berlin, and five other European
is another major responsibility of the 15th. The three
US Forces confinement facilities in Germany are all under
the command of the 15th MP Brigade, and a new facility
will soon be added.
Four detachments of the 15th are responsible for providing
physical security at four of the largest US Army Depots
in the Federal Republic, located in Kaiserslautern, Giessen,
Pirmasens, and Nahbollenbach.
Yet another brigade mission is the enforcement of customs
laws which apply to US Forces personnel in Germany. This
mission, which includes investigation of black market
activities, is handled by the 42nd MP
Group (Customs), the second of the two groups
assigned to the brigade.
All of these responsibilities involve, in one way or another,
our NATO allies and the civilians of the countries in
which the 15th operates. The MPs of the 15th Brigade are
in close daily contact with the people of other nations,
and so the maintenance of co-operation and respect between
the military police and the foreign public has become
an important facet of the brigade's mission.
COSTAR-A New Concept
The peacetime and combat missions, and the wide range of responsibilities
encompassed by these missions, make the 15th MP Brigade unique in
military police history. Although all of the activities now under
the brigade's command were performed in Europe prior to 1965, they
were never before brought under one central headquarters and coordinated
through one commander.
The 15th MP Brigade was formed in response to the COSTAR
(Combat Service to the Army) concept,
the result of a five-year study undertaken by the Department of
the Army between 1960 and 1965. COSTAR called for the formation
of a Military Police Brigade because of the advantages of centralization
and flexibility which such a brigade would bring to military police
In 1964 the Department of the Army sent a directive to Headquarters
USAREUR, ordering the formation of a military police brigade in
Europe. This brigade was to be formed from resources already available
in Europe, and was to operate in support of USAREUR and Seventh
The task of implementing this directive fell to USAREUR Provost
Marshal, Brigadier General Harley L. Moore, Jr., and his Deputy,
Colonel Herbert J. Michau. The job was not an easy one. It was clear
from the beginning that the COSTAR brigade concept would have to
be modified in order to be most effective in Europe. In planning
the 15th Brigade, several factors had to be taken into consideration.
The first of these factors was the dual nature of the military police
mission in Europe. The MPs have both an important combat mission
and an equally important peacetime mission. The organizers of the
brigade had to determine the most efficient means of accomplishing
both these missions at the same time.
The second factor affecting the brigade organization was the geographical
dispersion of the military police in Germany. US Army Military Police
are stationed throughout the Federal Republic, from Bremerhaven
on the North Sea to the Austrian border and from the Czech border
to France, over an area of 75,000 square miles. This geographical
dispersion would severely tax the logistical and support functions
of the proposed brigade.
The third factor to be considered in planning the brigade was the
manpower ceiling in existence at that time. The directive authorizing
the formation of the 15th MP Brigade specified that the then authorized
limitations of spaces could not be exceeded.
In 1964, at the time that planning for the 15th Brigade began, the
2d MP Group -- activated in June of
1964 -- was the main MP unit in Germany. It was composed of three
MP battalions which provided the personnel for the day-by-day police
work. Germany was divided into 11 areas, each of which had a provost
marshal's office. The Area PMs were responsible for the daily law
enforcement activities within their areas. Each major garrison town
in Germany also had a CID detachment, all of which were under the
2d Group. Although the 2d MP Group and its subordinate units were
in the US Army Area Command, certain other MP units in Germany,
notably the 6th MP Detachment (CI)
and the CI Crime Laboratory in Frankfurt,
were directly under USAREUR. (Webmaster Note: The article seems to be incomplete - if not inaccurate - at this point. Tom Briggs, Area PM and CO of the 31st MP Det, and Richard Burch, 31st MP Det, have provided some additional details. See their email.)
Taking into account the special needs of the military police in
Europe, and the units available to meet these needs, the COSTAR
concept was tailored to meet the requirements of USAREUR. The brigade,
as it was activated in June of 1965, consisted of two MP Groups,
the 2d and the 14th. The brigade was placed under the United States
Army Area Command and the groups' geographic areas of responsibility
coincided with the districts of the Area Command.
MP Group DUI
2d MP Group was moved from
Frankfurt, its previous headquarters, to Nurnberg and
given the responsibility for six of the Area Command's
ten districts. To accomplish its mission, the 2d was assigned
two MP battalions, plus the CID and provost marshal detachments
that operated the 20 MP stations and six substations within
its area of responsibility.
The two battalions assigned to the 2d MP Group were the
709th and the 793d.
The 709th had been stationed in Frankfurt since June 1945.
When the 2d Group was activated, the 709th headquarters
temporarily moved to Mannheim, but still retained responsibility
for the Frankfurt area. In June 1965 the 2d Group moved
to Nurnberg and the 709th returned to Frankfurt. Shortly
thereafter, battalion headquarters took up residence in
Bierberer Strasse Kaserne, Offenbach, just outside of
| The 709th was
organized under TOE 19-35, with three lettered companies. Company
A was divided between Frankfurt and Darmstadt; Company B was distributed
among Giessen, Butzbach, Hamm, Kassel, and Fulda, and Company C had
its headquarters in Bad Kreuznach, with elements in Mainz and Baumbolder.
In addition, the 285th MP Company in Karlsruhe, and the 537th MP Company
in Mannheim, were attached to the 709th.
The 793d MP Battalion, like the 709th, was an "old veteran" in Germany.
The 793d had arrived in Germany from France in January 1946. Since
1946, the battalion headquarters had been in Nurnberg, and it was
the 793d which provided security for the Nurnberg War Crimes Trials
held there in 1946. When the 15th MP Brigade was activated, the 793d
remained in Nurnberg, with responsibility for a geographic area of
approximately 35,000 square miles. The battalion's area includes,
among other places, the Armed Forces Recreation Centers of Garmisch
and Berchtesgaden, and the Army Training Areas near Grafenwoehr.
MP Group DUI
14th MP Group was activated
in Mannheim, Germany, and assigned one MP Battalion, plus
the 463d MP Company (Escort Guard) and the 533d MP Company,
which would function separately under the Group. The 14th
MP Group was given the responsibility for 12 MP stations
and seven substations.
The 94th MP Battalion was,
at first, the only battalion in the 14th Group. The 94th
had been reactivated in 1959 and assigned to the Army
Advanced Weapons Support Command (AWSCOM) in Pirmasens,
Germany. The battalion was later relieved from AWSCOM
and moved to Kaiserslautern, where it is today. In 1965,
the 94th and its subordinate units had the responsibility
for the Rhineland-Pfalz Area of West Germany. Unlike the
other battalions in the 15th, the 94th was organized under
TOE 19-500D, with numbered rather than lettered companies.
| Although a great
deal of further augmentation was planned into the 15th Brigade, the
basic plan was the same in 1965 as it is today. The groups and battalions,
through the line companies, have the responsibility of providing military
police support to the area provost marshals. The MP personnel are
trained, equipped, and commanded by the line units, but during duty
hours they are under the operational control of the provost marshals.
In this way, both the wartime mission of combat support and the peacetime
mission of daily law enforcement could be carried out simultaneously
by the brigade. Both the area provost marshals and the battalion and
group commanders are responsibile to the brigade commander for the
fulfillment of their respective missions.
Brigade headquarters was established in Frankfurt, the largest communications
and transportation center in West Germany. It was from this location
that brigade operations began to function. The last six months of
1965 were mainly occupied with testing the new form of organization
and effecting a smooth operation.
The year 1966 saw the first augmentation of the brigade, as had been
planned at the time of activation. In January 1966 the brigade was
reassigned from United States Army Area Command to the Seventh US
Army Support Command (SUPCOM). Shortly thereafter the 385th
MP Battalion joined the brigade and was added to the 14th
MP Battalion DUI
a Railway Security Battalion, the 385th, was first activated
in France in 1944. During the war the 385th earned a battle
streamer for the Rhineland Campaign of 1944-45. The battalion
was part of the original US Army of Occupation in Germany,
but was deactivated in 1948. In 1955, the 385th was reactivated
as the 385th MP Battalion with the mission of supporting
Seventh US Army.
When the 385th was assigned to the 15th Brigade in 1966,
it remained in Stuttgart, with a geographic area of responsibility
which included most of southern Germany. Its wartime mission,
like that of the other battalions in the 15th, is "to
enforce military laws, orders, and regulations, to include
control of traffic, stragglers, circulation of individuals,
protection of property, and operation of checkpoints in
support of combat operations." The battalion's peacetime
mission is to provide military police support to three
area provost marshals in their mission of enforcing discipline,
law, and order in their respective areas.
At the same
time as the 385th was joining the brigade, a new problem was being
felt throughout USAREUR, as the result of a war half-a-world away.
Increasing numbers of experienced officers and men were being levied
from the 15th MP Brigade for service in Vietnam. The "Vietnam drawdown"
strained the military police resources in Germany by causing a shortage
of personnel throughout the command. MPs found themselves shorthanded,
working harder and longer to fill the gaps left by the departing
men. Unfortunately, until the Army's resources caught up with the
manpower requirements of the Vietnam conflict, there could be no
other answer than harder work.
The men of the 15th rose to the occasion, putting increased effort
into their work. Their efforts were so successful that the incident
rate throughout USAREUR declined during the year 1966, despite the
shortage of trained MP personnel.
A Symbol of Vigilance
Perhaps the most important psychological achievement of the brigade
in 1966 was the adoption of the unit patch, "the Griffin." The patch
was approved by the Institute of Heraldry in April 1966, and shortly
thereafter the patches became available for all the men of the brigade.
The 15th Brigade patch replaced the Seventh Army patch which was
worn prior to 1966.
The Griffin patch, which has now become a familiar sight throughout
the Federal Republic of Germany, is a green shield with a yellow
embattled border. Within the border is a yellow griffin's head.
A mythological animal, the griffin is the symbol of eternal vigilance
and preparedness, and refers to the 15th's mission of daily law
enforcement and combat preparedness.
The new patch was a visible symbol of the new unit pride felt by
all the men of the brigade. From the standpoint of unit morale,
"the Griffin" gave the men an invaluable sense of esprit de corps
as military policemen.
Throughout the period 1965 to 1967, all the units of the brigade
were undergoing an intensive period of training in preparation for
their wartime mission. The 709th MP Battalion, for example, conducted
extensive field training during the months from December 1965 to
March 1967. According to the battalion history, "each platoon went
independently to the field for two weeks. and a formidable number
of company-sized training periods and tests were conducted."
All of the units of the 15th were undergoing similar training. During
this phase, the brigade's units rendered military police support
for six separate winter exercises as well as for many other major
field operations. Besides training the men, these exercises also
served to test the brigade's combat support capabilities under realistic
In the fall of 1966, the 709th also participated in a more unusual
exercise -- a championship fight. The 709th was tasked to provide
a large part of the police support for the World's Heavyweight Boxing
Championship Match between Cassius Clay and George Mildenberger,
which was held in Frankfurt.
In 1967, the 709th had another unusual mission to perform. A Soviet
pilot, flying a MIG-17 fighter, plane, defected to the West and
landed his plane in West Germany. The 709th provided security for
a convoy which marched to the East German border to return the plane
to the Soviet authorities.
In May 1967 the Brigade gained another platoon, the 570th
MP Platoon (Railway Guard), which had previously been
under the command of USAREUR Headquarters. The 570th, although a
small unit, has one of the most unusual missions in Europe. The
platoon, stationed in Frankfurt, is responsible for the security
of all US Government rail shipments in West Germany. The 570th guards
US Mail and official consignments, and investigates pilferage of
official shipments in transit. The 570th Railway Guard is unique,
not only in Europe, but throughout the US Army.
In June of 1967 the 15th MP Brigade faced another of the recurring
international crises which are the reason for the US Army's presence
in Europe. In that month, war erupted in the Mideast between Israel
and its Arab neighbors. The "Six-Day War" of 1967 required quick
action on the part of the 15th. The 709th MP Battalion was tasked
to dispatch a company into the area to provide security for US citizens
in the combat area. Within six hours of notification on 8 June,
Company A of the 709th was airlifted to a staging site in Athens,
Fortunately, the MPs were never needed during the brief Arab-Israeli
conflict, and Company A was returned to Europe five days later,
on 13 June. The brief flare-up was over, but the necessity of combat
preparedness had once again been impressed upon the men of the 15th.
The year 1968 brought in a new USAREUR concept of combat preparedness.
This new concept, called REFORGER, is a scheme for quick mobilization
of Army units for use in Europe. Under REFORGER, many units would
be kept in the United States, rather than in Europe. These REFORGER
units would remain constantly ready to be airlifted back to Germany
upon short notice in case of a threat to the peace in Europe.
In the spring of 1968, more than 25,000 USAREUR troops were returned
to the United States. Although stationed in the United States, these
troops remained part of the NATO defense force and under the operational
command of the US Commander-in-Chief, Europe. The 15th MP Brigade
was one of the USAREUR units to have elements redeployed in line
with REFORGER. The 2d and the 14th MP Groups, as well as the 463d
MP Company, returned to the United States. From their CONUS bases,
they would be redeployed to Europe if required. The last elements
of the 463d and the 2d Group left Germany on 10 August 1968. Under
the new organization, the battalions came under the direct command
of the brigade, rather than the groups.
On 20 August 1968, Europe faced a new international crisis. That
morning, Soviet armored units crossed the Czechoslovakian border
in force, to crush the newly liberalized communist regime which
had been defying Soviet power for several months. The Russian move
was not completely unexpected by the Western powers. Ever since
the spring of 1968, when Czech Communist Party Secretary Anton Dubcek
had begun to deviate from the Moscow party line, the threat of Russian
tanks had been growing.
Once again, events in the Eastern bloc had justified the presence
of US troops in Europe. An ironic effect of the Soviet invasion
was that it forced the men of the 15th MP Brigade into defending
The Soviet government maintains a Military Liaison Mission (SMLM)
in Frankfurt as a result of the 1947 Huebner-Malinin Agreement,
which provided for the exchange of military liaison missions between
the American and Russian forces in Germany.
In August 1968, an outraged mob of Germans broke into the SMLM compound
in Frankfurt during a demonstration, protesting the Soviet invasion
of Czechoslovakia. Since the buildings, personnel, and material
in the compound are under the protection of the US Forces, the troops
of the 709th MP Battalion were selected to repel the demonstrators.
The MPs succeeded in clearing the compound without any injury to
persons or property, either among the demonstrators or the Soviets,
thus preventing what could have been an international incident.
In November 1968, the first of the massive REFORGER training exercises,
REFORGER I, was initiated. This complex NATO operation was designed
to test the speed and effectiveness of massive troop shipments from
the United States to continental Europe. Under REFORGER I, elements
of several units returned to Germany. These troops were airlifted
to Europe and then moved to pre-positioned sites where their equipment
was stored. Once equipped, they then moved to their respective combat
REFORGER l required a total brigade effort to provide the necessary
military police support. The MPs were responsible for providing
traffic control posts, rest stops, roving patrols, and enforcement
of law and order among the moving troops. In their assigned areas,
the battalions were responsible for directing and convoying the
REFORGER units. These movements were accomplished with speed and
safety, thanks to the efforts of the MPs involved.
1969 - New
Missions, New Units
15 January 1969 the 15th MP Brigade took another major step in reorganization.
On that day, the brigade was shifted to USAREUR from Seventh Army
Support Command, and became a major assigned unit of United States
Army Europe, directly responsible to the Commander-in-Chief, USAREUR.
This reassignment of command was the first step in further augmentation
of the Brigade, and involved several important changes. As a major
USAREUR command, the Brigade Headquarters had to assume several
functions which had previously been handled by Seventh Army Support
Command. To accomplish these new missions, the brigade headquarters
was expanded by a TDA augmentation which created several new staff
sections and expanded already existing sections.
A Personnel Services Section was added to the headquarters to meet
the administrative and personnel needs of the entire brigade, a
function previously met by area servicing companies. A Comptroller
Section was added to give the headquarters the capability of handling
the budget operations of the entire brigade, which had also previously
been administered by Seventh Army Support Command.
A Staff Judge Advocate Section was added to the headquarters with
the mission of advising the brigade commander in all matters relating
to military justice and discipline, legal affairs, and legal services.
An Information Office was formed, to perform the public and command
information activities for brigade headquarters, and to supervise
such activity throughout the brigade. A permanent CMMI team was
formed under the S-4 section, and the other sections of the brigade
were similarly "fleshed out," and their activities expanded. All
of this was part of the continuing effort to perfect the staff expertise
to better perform the new missions, an effort which still continues
today. Altogether, the number of persons assigned or attached to
the brigade headquarters increased from 48 in 1968 to 190 in 1969.
The expansion of the headquarters staff greatly increased space
requirements. The brigade headquarters was forced to seek new accommodations.
In the spring of 1969, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment
moved from Frankfurt to Rhein Ordnance Barracks, near Kaiserslautern.
Before the headquarters was settled into its new offices, the new
augmentation of the brigade began. On 15 May the brigade gained
two MP groups. One, the 42d MP Group (Customs) was transferred from
USAREUR command; the other, the 9th MP Group (CI), was newly activated
within the brigade.
The 42d MP Group exists pursuant to
the NATO Status of Forces Agreement and other agreements concluded
between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. These
agreements grant members of the US Forces and their dependentS in
Germany exemptions from import duties and other taxes on goods intended
for their personal use. To preserve these privileges, the US has
agreed to enforce those German customs laws and regulations applicable
to US Forces personnel.
The 42d MP Group is charged with the mission of enforcing those
customs laws and regulations. The group provides customs support
for all three branches of the US Armed Forces throughout the Federal
Republic of Germany, an area of over 247,860 square kilometers.
This mission involves the 42d in several facets of military police
and customs work. Operating through five area detachments and twelve
sub-detachments, the 42d's customs investigators assist the German
customs officials in investigating black market activities of US
tax-free merchandise involving US Forces members. Joint investigations
are conducted whenever necessary.
The group also operates customs inspection stations at Rhein-Main
Airport in Frankfurt, Stuttgart Airport, the port of Bremerhaven,
and at selected border crossing points. Customs inspectors at these
stations inspect the baggage of US Forces personnel entering or
leaving Germany. These customs inspection points process approximately
200,00 US Forces members arriving and departing Germany each year.
The 42d also performs Postal Customs Inspection. MP Customs Postal
Inspectors in US Forces Post Offices spot-check personal consignments
to and from US Forces personnel to prevent the mailing of contraband
items in violation of customs regulations.
The 42d is further responsible for issuing the customs documents
required of members of US Forces for the duty-free importation of
personal items, the purchase of vehicles from customs bonded warehouses,
and the transfer of dutiable items from members of the American
forces to non-members.
The 9th Military Police Group (CI)
was activated on 15 May, the same day that the 42d joined the brigade.
The 9th is the first Criminal Investigation Group to be activated
in Europe since World War II. It has the additional distinction
of being the only CI Group in the US Army which operates in six
foreign countries. The 40 field offices of the group are located
in Belgium, Germany, England, France, Holland and Italy.
The activation of the 9th MP Group was the result of three years
of planning and consideration. The group was formed upon deactivation
of the eight non-divisional CI detachments in Europe, the 5th, 6th,
11th, 13th, 15th, 25th, 37th, and 52d MP Detachments. The personnel
and equipment resources of these detachments were transferred to
the seven lettered detachments of the new group.
The 9th Group was formed in order to consolidate the various CI
detachments in Europe under one headquarters. According to Colonel
Edward G. Luce, 9th Group Commander, "The reason for consolidation
was to provide central direction to the CID effort and thereby achieve
greater economy in personnel, standardization in CID procedures,
and greater flexibility for rapid response to specific requirements
anywhere in Europe.
"All criminal investigative personnel, no matter where they are,
have an identical type mission. With all CID offices under central
command, we can insure that all elements maintain uniform standards
in the performance of that mission. Previously, the CI detachments
were under various major subordinate commands of US Army Europe
and Seventh Army. As a result, CID personnel sometimes would be
assigned missions quite foreign to their area of responsibility,
and in this way they were not being utilized properly. The local
commands would perhaps not use them as effectively as we would hope
to use them under central direction."
At first, the new group organization was only a paper transfer.
The detachments and field offices remained in the same locations
without a change in mission. But, in the summer and fall of 1969
the 9th undertook an internal reorganization to equalize the CI
workload and resources among the detachments.
In the reorganization, completed in January 1970, portions of the
investigative areas of responsibility of Detachments C and D were
assigned to Detachments E and G. The current missions of the detachments
are as follows:
Detachment A, located in Heidelberg, provides criminal investigative
support to all US Armed Forces and other NATO investigative agencies
located in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to Pakistan. Detachment
A conducts investigations which have been directed by the Provost
Marshal, USAREUR & Seventh Army, without regard to specific
area of responsibility. These special investigations include the
international traffic in drugs and narcotics, and other problems
of special concern to the Commanderin-Chief, USAREUR.
Detachment B, located in Frankfurt, provides criminal investigative
laboratory support to all United States Armed Forces and other NATO
investigative agencies located in Europe, Africa, and the Middle
East to Pakistan. The CI Crime Lab in Frankfurt, one of only four
such labs in the US Army, provides scientific analysis of evidence
in cases under investigation by the CID.
Detachment C, located in Nurnberg, provides area support
to US Forces located in the Northern Bavaria, Franconia, and Vogelsberg
areas of Germany, including the US Army units along the East German
and Czechoslovak borders.
Detachment D, which has its headquarters in Mannheim, provides
area support to US Forces located along the Rhine River, from Switzerland
in the South to Bremerhaven on the North Sea.
Detachment E, headquartered in Munich, has investigative
responsibility for the South Bavaria and Wuerttemberg areas of Germany,
as well as the Southern European Task Force (SETAF) in Italy.
Detachment F, located in West Berlin, furnishes criminal
investigative support to US Army Berlin, including Helmstedt, which
is on the western end of the free access autobahn to Berlin.
Detachment G, with headquarters in Kaiserslautern, provides
support to all US Army elements in Germany west of the Rhine River
and in France, England, Belgium, and Holland.
In June 1969 the brigade gained two new companies, the 554th
MP Company "Honor Guard," and the 59th MP Company. The
554th, a veteran of the Normandy, Northern Europe, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace,
and Central Europe campaigns of World War II, was reactivated in
1964 it Pirmasens. In 1967, the company was reassigned to Headquarters,
US European Command (USEUCOM).
Located at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, the 554th
provides physical security for USEUCOM Headquarters and its direct
support agencies. The company provides the MP Honor Guard, equipped
with distinctive uniforms, for all Headquarters USEUCOM ceremonies.
When it joined the brigade in 1969, the 554th was assigned to the
385th MP Battalion. Under the Wuerttemberg Area Provost Marshal,
the Honor Guard is responsible for law enforcement, crime prevention,
and traffic control on Patch Barracks and in the nearby towns of
Boeblingen and Vaihingen.
The 59th MP Company, which has also
participated in several World War II campaigns, was assigned to
the 709th MP Battalion. The 59th furnishes port security and MP
support to the port of Bremerhaven, which is the major port for
those US government shipments which arrive or depart Europe by sea.
The 59th enjoys the distinction of being the greatest distance from
its battalion headquarters and the brigade headquarters than any
other company in the 15th.
Confinement - A New Responsibility
The last of the major augmentations to the 15th MP Brigade occurred
on 1 July 1969, when the four US Forces confinement facilities in
Germany were assigned to the brigade. The four confinement detachments,
the 43d, 50th, 51st and 77th MP Detachments, represented a whole
new "bundle" of responsibilities -- and headaches -- for the
The four stockades in USAREUR had previously been under Theater
Army Support Command (TASCOM). Located in Frankfurt, Dachau, Mannheim,
and Nurnberg, each of the facilities was under a different support
command, according to their geographical location.
Immediately upon acquiring the stockades, the brigade undertook
a comprehensive program of reorganization and coordination. Because
the four detachments had previously been under separate support
commands, there was some duplication of effort among them. Each
stockade had a prisoner population of men who were at various stages
in the judicial system, and this made it necessary for each facility
to administer numerous different correctional treatment programs.
This resulted in less efficient use of personnel and funds.
Under the newly formed Brigade Confinement Section, responsibilities
and resources were shifted among the four facilities to form a more
efficient confinement system, rather than maintain four independent
The newest and largest US Army confinement facility in Europe, operated
by the 77th MP Detachment, is at Mannheim. Under the brigade reorganization,
the Mannheim facility became the major USAREUR stockade. The 77th
received all those prisoners who had been convicted and were serving
sentences in excess of thirty days. The remaining facilities were
then to be used for those prisoners awaiting trial and for those
serving sentences of less than thirty days.
This shifting of the prisoner population created more homogeneous
prisoner populations in each facility, and allowed the detachments
to conduct correctional programs based on the length of the prisoner's
sentence. Mannheim was able to commit its resources to a long-term
educational training program, together with a high quality psychiatric
and physical treatment program, while the other facilities were
to concentrate on shorter programs which the prisoners would be
able to complete in their relatively short time in confinement.
The Brigade Confinement Section also undertook the full development
of the recently instituted concept of the Correctional Holding Detachment.
The prisoners at Mannheim were assigned to a correctional holding
detachment and removed from their former units. The Correctional
Holding Detachment makes it easier for the brigade to initiate clemency
or elimination procedures with the prisoners, rather than only recommending
such action to the soldier's unit. In addition, the Correctional
Holding Detachment gives the newly released prisoner a "fresh start"
in the Army. Rather than returning to his former unit, the ex-prisoner
is sent to a new unit, where his past record is not generally known
and he has a better chance of proving himself. In these and several
other ways, the Correctional Holding Detachment has aided the confinement
facility in administering a meaningful rehabilitation program.
The realignment of resources and the integration of facilities instituted
by the brigade increased the efficiency of the confinement system
to such an extent that it became possible to close one of the facilities.
The Dachau stockade was accordingly shut down in the summer of 1969.
The reorganization of the USAREUR confinement facilities is still
not completed. A new facility is being built in the Numberg area,
and the 15th MP Brigade will take possession of this modern stockade
sometime late in 1970. R-hen the new facility is open, the old Nurnberg
and Frankfurt stockades will be closed down.
The addition of the confinement facilities was the last major augmentation
of the 15th MP Brigade, at least for the present. According to departing
brigade commander, Colonel Herbert J. Michau, "As far as the immediate
future of the brigade, we don't envision any additional missions
for the next year or two. I think that the brigade as it is now,
which gives us the geographical responsibility for the Federal Republic
of Germany and the CID responsibility, practically speaking, for
all of Europe excepting SHAPE Headquarters, is the way this brigade
The emphasis in the 1970s, as it was in the 60s will be on perfecting
the brigade's performance of its present missions. Because these
missions are so diverse and are always in a state of flux, this
has been a continuing brigade goal since 1965.
Cooperation and Partnership
In accomplishing both the peacetime and the wartime missions of
the brigade, cooperation with our European allies has always been
of the utmost importance. Because of the very nature of military
police work in Europe, the words "NATO Team" are much more than
a cliche to the men of the 15th.
The need for close cooperation exists both in the combat support
role and the peacetime role of the brigade. LTC Carl O. Swanson,
Commander of the 709th, points out that "Our wartime mission brings
us into close contact with civilian and military traffic of our
host nation. Since the population and traffic flow within Germany
is so dense, constant training is required by the 709th MP Battalion
to insure that we are capable of performing effectively. We do this
by working closely with the 740th Feldjaegers (German Military Police),
headquartered in Mainz. In this way we are able to gain insight
into the operational concepts of the German Military Police and
the German Army and constantly improve our capabilities."
For the same reasons, the 793d MP Battalion has been working closely
with the German Bundeswehr's 760th Feldjaegers since 1968. In August
1968, the 793d worked in conjunction with the 760th to establish
and operate joint German-American posts to monitor the movement
of approximately 1200 vehicles from the German Mountains Division
during a training exercise. Since then, the 793d has participated
in numerous Project Partnership activities with their German counterparts.
In January of 1970, for example, several MPs from the 793d joined
the German Mountains Division for four-weeks of special winter training.
The 94th and the 385th MP Battalions have also been quite active
in Project Partnership. The 94th has instituted an exchange program
with the Feldjaegers of the Bundeswehr 1st Airborne Division. In
Project Arbeit (work), German and American MPs conducted
joint patrols of the Kaiserslautern area, giving the men a chance
to compare their police methods on a personal level. The MPs also
participated with their German counterparts in joint training exercises.
Airborne MPs from the 94th jumped with the 1st Airborne during a
field exercise last year.
In July of 1969, the brigade participated in one of the most widely
based Project Partnership programs ever undertaken in Europe. After
an inter-battalion contest, one platoon of the 15th was chosen to
represent the US Military Police at a NATO Military Police demonstration
held at the German Feldjaeger training school in Sonthofen, Germany.
The 385th won the honor of representing the United States at the
NATO exercise, and went on to compare skills with other MPs from
Great Britain, France and Germany.
Project Partnership is just as important in the brigade's day-to-day
police work as it is in the combat training exercises conducted
periodically. The military policeman on street duty in Germany must
deal with foreign citizens and foreign police every day. Incidents
such as traffic accidents which involve both American GIs and German
nationals are very common, and require close cooperation between
the MPs and the German police.
In the operations of the 9th CI Group, this cooperation is even
closer. In order to perform efficient police work, the CI investigators
must maintain continuous liaison with the police agencies of the
host nations, as well as with the investigative agencies of the
other Armed Forces elements serving in Europe, and related US government
CID investigators of the 9th MP Group work closely with their local
counterparts and perform joint investigations in crimes in which
both parties have an interest. The CI regularly provides assistance
to the investigative agencies of the host nations, and also answers
requests for assistance in matters ranging from identity checks
of suspects, to fulltime involvement in investigations in which
US Forces personnel are suspect.
Many of the 372 local nationals employed by the 15th MP Brigade
work in the 9th Group's field offices as investigators and interpreters,
assisting the CID investigators. Other local nationals work in the
area provost marshals' offices and MP stations as interpreters and
secretaries. They translate documents, act as interpreters for the
MPs, and perform local liaison work. Many of the local nationals
working in the brigade have been with the 15th since its inception,
and some are celebrating their twenty-fifth year of employment with
the US Forces this year. The assistance of these local national
employees, not only in Germany but in all the countries in which
the 15th operates, is invaluable in dealing with the local police
and the civilian population.
Military law enforcement in the Federal Republic of Germany requires
good relations with the local population as well as with the local
police agencies. The military policeman, constantly present on the
streets of Germany, is the most visible representative of the US
in Europe. As such, the image lie projects is particularly important.
SGT Frank E. Jones, a patrol supervisor with Company B, 385th, says
that "Duty here is like being a stateside police officer. The emphasis
is on presenting the finest image possible as well as performing
the military police functions of maintaining discipline, law, and
order . . . It's just doing your job and striving for good relations
with the public, just setting a good example while remembering all
the things that the brassard represents."
SGT Ralph L. Byrne, Jr., of Co. A, 385th, feels the same way. "The
Germans recognize an MP by his appearance and deportment, in or
out of uniform," Byrne says, "I feel that I should set an example
as an MP."
The attitude of Sergeants Byrne and Jones is typical of the MPs
in Germany. The men of the 15th know that they are doing an extremely
complex job and take pride in doing it well.
The MP in Europe
The military policeman's job in Europe is more complex than that
of MPs in the United States because the military police responsibility
in Europe is so much greater. The NATO Status of Forces Agreement
commits the US to supporting the German government in all law enforcement
matters pertaining to US troops in Germany. Because of this, criminal
and accident investigation, routine patrolling of off-post areas,
vehicle registrations, and many other law enforcement activities,
which are normally the job of the civil police in the US are the
responsibility of the military police in Germany.
These expanded responsibilities put corresponding pressure on the
provost marshals and on the MPs who patrol the streets.
Administrative services to the military community are yet another
function of the military police in Germany. These administrative
services include registration of pets, personal firearms, and privately
owned vehicles, and processing of reports on missing persons and
An Emphasis on Prevention
Crime prevention, rather than investigation, is the true goal of
all military police work. And the provost marshals and MP unit commanders
pursue this goal in several different ways.
The daily street patrols are the main preventive measure. These
24-hour-a-day patrols operate in all areas where there are concentrations
of US troops, and are generally centered around problem areas which
have been determined by the frequency of offenses previously committed
in those areas. Special crime prevention patrols check the security
of US facilities.
Physical security work is an important part of military police operations
in Germany. Each year, 15th MP Brigade units make physical security
surveys of thousands of activities, such as money-holding activities,
critical item storage areas, drug storage areas, and whole installations,
such as Army depots. Four military police detachments of the brigade,
the 28th, the 69th, 76th, and 167th, provide physical security for
major Army depots in Germany.
Education of the public is another crime prevention measure carried
on by the units of the 15th MP Brigade. The Palatinate Area Provost
Marshal's Office, for example, prepares traffic safety and accident
prevention messages for the local AFN radio station. The 9th CI
Group offers seminars and programs on drug abuse for law enforcement
agencies, unit commanders, and American High Schools in Europe.
Other provost marshals and unit commanders are similarly involved
in education efforts.
Statistics show that the law enforcement job is being done well.
In the Palatinate Provost Marshal Area, for example, the total complaint
rate showed a 17% decrease in 1969, as compared to 1968. In Augsburg,
within the South Bavaria Provost Marshal Area, the number of incidents
involving American soldiers has declined by 50 percent since 1966.
All the provost marshal areas in the 15th Brigade's area of responsibility
have shown similar decreases in recent years.
"Duty, Justice, and Loyalty"
The success of the 15th MP Brigade in fulfilling an important role
in USAREUR is due as much to the men of the brigade as it is to
the organization. The brigade has brought new flexibility and efficiency
to the military police role in Europe, but these benefits were only
realized through the efforts of the men involved. In the five-year
history of the 15th, the only thing "more constant than change"
has been the continuing dedication of both commanders and men to
the brigade motto, "Duty, Justice, and Loyalty."
|(Source: Email from Tom Briggs and Richard Burch)
I was sent to Heidelberg, 1 July 64 to the 17th MP Det. MP Desk Sgt from Munich when the 508th MP BN was deactivated. I was there a short period as I couldn't stand the sorry Station NCOIC. I went to Mannheim in August 1964 to have a interview with the PM North. I knew the PM North MP Opns Sgt, MSG Peoples and he got me in to see LTC John Gibson, PM North, 2nd MP GP, at Turley Barracks over the Mannheim MP Station. I told him that I was looking for a job. He told me I would hear something in a couple of days. I returned to Heidelberg and about 3 days later, while on duty the MP Opns Sgt came running in and said "Burch, do you know your have to be in Mannheim in the morning to go to work for the PM North. I told him,"How can I be there when I am the Desk Sgt, Heidelbert City...(Smile).
I got off work, packed and drove my car to Mannheim (30 miles) and was assigned to PM North, 2nd MP GP and billeted with the 537th MP Co...Turley BKS. I was the SIR Desk Sgt and wrote SIR's for half of Germany, which was split down the center... PM North and PM South... A few months later, there was another reorganization and LTC Gibson called me in and asked where I would like to be assigned!! I told him Mainz, which was the 3rd Platoon, 285th MP Company.
Do you remember the PM North, 2nd MP Group, Turley Barracks, Mannheim and PM South, 2nd MP Group, Nurnburg, Germany? I was reading the 15th MP Bde web page - it left out any mention of the following.
Here is how it really was:
"In 1964, at the time that planning for the 15th Brigade began, the 2d MP Group -- activated in June of 1964 -- was the main MP unit in Germany. It was composed of Provost Marshal North, 2nd MP Group, Turley Barracks, Mannheim, Germany. The PM North was LTC John Gibson. The PM South, 2nd MP Group was located in Nurnburg, Germany. The PM South was LTC William H Brandenburg. (My recollections it was LTC Brandenburg). PM North and South were composed of three MP battalions which provided the personnel for the day-by-day law enforcement activities within their areas. Each major garrison town in Germany also had a CID detachment, all of which were under the 2d Group. Although the 2d MP Group and its subordinate units were in the US Army Area Command, certain other MP units in Germany, notably the 6th MP Detachment (CI) and the CI Crime Laboratory in Frankfurt, were directly under USAREUR."
|(Source: Email from Walt Kaiser, 537th MP Co, 1968-70)
I REALLY enjoyed your website and the history of the 15th. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the 537th MP Co, initially in Mannheim and then sent to the detachment at Finthen Army Airfield near Mainz. I arrived there in October 1968.
We were at Finthen for a very short time before moving across the river to Hindenburg Kaserne in Wiesbaden.
Finthen was a hole. We were billeted in a helicopter hanger where they repaired Huey engines. We worked 12 on 12 off for 57 days straight because of lack of manpower. The mess hall there was the pits. We literally kicked the rats off the table. The mess sgt was selling the meat on the black market. When we moved across the river that all changed. I’ll never forget my first meal at Hindenburg. When the cook asked me how I wanted my steak my teeth almost fell out.
I worked as a patrolman with the 8th Inf Div MPs from Lee Barracks for a while until I took over the desk as desk sgt. In about May or June of 1970 I was called back to Mannheim where I worked as a patrol sup and desk Sgt. I also filled an E6 slot as a platoon leader.
We participated in Operation Front and Center as well as the MP competition mentioned in the history section. I served as the NCOIC of the war room for the 1970 Operation Front and Center games. The CO for the 537th was Cpt John Snodgrass. My best friend drove for the PM, a Col whose name escapes me.
I remember the riots at Coleman Barracks as well as some racial incidents at Turley Bks. I remember providing escort with our 1968 Chevy for missle movements on the autobahn and watching the Soviets trying to photo our cargo.
As you know this was a turbulent time in the history of the Army. We had all the druggies coming back from Nam on their way to the States. I don’t know if the Army deliberately sent them to Germany to dry out before going state side or what but we seemed to have our share of them. Because the Army had sent me to an intensive German school while stationed at Mainz (was at Lee Barracks) I was chosen to work with the CID unit in Mannheim on several operations where I bought drugs from GI’s. This was actually the start of what would become a 32 year career in law enforcement of which 25 would be in Narcotic Enforcement.
As you can see I really did enjoy Germany and am sad to see that all the facilities where I served - Finthen AAF, Hindenburg Kaserne, Turley Barracks - have all been closed. I guess it was destined to happen but it is sad.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane
1. Mainz MP Station (KB)
2. Desk Sergeant (KB)
|(Source: Email from Hubert "Herb" Marlow)
| Unit history: 142nd MP Co post-WW II Germany and Cold War
(Source of information is from the retired MP historical files, TAG, Carlisle Barracks, Pa and researched by Bob Gunnarsson and open literature and information provided from former members by Richard Burch, for this web site).
"Of The Troops and For The Troops"
The 142nd Military Police Escort Guard Company was Constituted and Activated on 30 December 1944 by the US Forces European Theater (USFET) Command (Webmaster: should this actually be ETO?) in France. Personnel already in the theater of operation were further reassigned to fill and bring the 142nd MP Company up to full strength for duty.
The 142nd MP Company was assigned the Mission of securing and transporting Prisoners of War (POW's) within the area of operation. The unit was relocated to Germany at the end of 1944 and was eventually Awarded Credit for Participation in the "Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns". In addition, the unit was Awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation with a streamer embroidered "European Theater".
Towards the end of the war, the 142nd MP Company had been assigned to the 1st Military Railway Service (MRS) and was stationed at Esslingen, Germany awaiting redeployment. The Company remained in Germany until the end of the war and by March of 1946 was alerted and redeployed back to the United States. On 7 April 1946 the 142nd MP Company was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Brunswick, New Jersey. On 13 August 1946, while the Company was still inactive, the number 142nd was allotted to the Regular Army in preparation for reactivation.
(History related to service in Phillipines, 1946-49, and Korea, 1951-54, omitted.)
During June 1956, the 142nd MP Company was assigned to the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), Germany and reactivated on the 15 June 1956 at Schwaebisch Hall with a detachment in Crailsheim, Germany and given a law enforcement mission. During 1956, the Company was divided into Detachments (A through C) and the 142nd MP Company headquarters and a platoon was relocated to Sheridan Barracks, Garmisch, with detachments in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Murnau, and at the MP School, Hawkins Barracks, Oberammergau. The unit was deactivated 1 July 1964 in Germany.
I'm sure you know that during Jun 1957, the 142nd MP Co (Svc), at that time with Hq in Schwaebisch Hall, with a Det in Crailsheim and a Det in Heilbronn, rotated to Garmisch (Hq), with Detachments in Murnau, Oberammergau and Fuessen. Fuessen was returned to the German Army about a year later.
In Garmisch was a Co of the 508th ("D" Co) that moved to another area (Regensburg) and a Co from the 793rd MP Bn took over the area the 142nd vacated. Still have to look up which Co of the 793rd moved to Schwaebisch Hall etc.; it was either Co B or D.
1. New Bde Commander, Col. Herbert J. Michau (KB)
2. MP Honor Guard (KB)
3. More Farewell (KB)
4. A nice visit (KB)
LTC Dale L. Groenenboom, Palatenate District Provost Marshal (KB)