Ex-CBI Roundup
February 1999 Issue

In the famous Marine Hymn there is a line that says 'you will find that Heaven's Gates are guarded by the United States Marines'. And we're willing to wager that those of us who garner enough points to effect an admission through those pearly gates will find that these United States Marines are wearing M.P. brassards. Don't be surprised if you find an M.P. at the other place to take care of the G.I. who consigned him there.

With the birth of 1943, the 1114th Military Police Company (Aviation) was activated at Robins Field, Georgia. With an organizing genius that is never understood outside the army, and rarely within, the personnel was made up of lawyers and farmers and students and clerks and day laborers and juke box mechanics and coal miners and truck drivers - but not a single cop. They were tall and short and lean and fat, and all were immensely unhappy to know that they were among the chosen few who had been selected to guard the G.I. and the materiel and installations that would help him to win the war. They knew that the G.I. would realize that the M.P. was carrying out orders and would help him in every way possible. But somewhere along the road the nasty ole' debbil built a new Tower of Babble and since then the G.I. and the M.P. haven't been able to find a common language.

Eight months were used in the States for training purposes - weeding out some apparent misfits, teaching the others how to handle weapons and crowds and riots and billy-clubs and traffic and still keep smiling. Learning that as long as the G.I. keeps his hands at his side and keeps moving, what comes out of his mouth isn't too important - up to a certain point.

Five of these months were spent in tents - with slit trenches for plumbing and steel helmets for showers. It is a tribute to the army's genius that no sleeping quarters since being overseas have been quite so uncomfortable as those they endured in the Georgia dust and heat.

The organization sailed from San Francisco and a preview of heaven on 2nd September, 1943, and spent the crossing pulling M.P. duty on a boat loaded with some of Merrill's original Marauders and paratroopers. With deep foresight, every soldier aboard the vessel carried ammunition for his weapon - with the exception of the M.P. A brassard, club and tact were evidently considered enough for him.

Ten days in India's version of the 40 & 8, through a maze of wide and narrow gauge tracks, starving and bloated children, crippled old men and women, and placid, rib-showing cows, brought us to Mohanbari, Assam. Two things we learned on that trip: every Indian Is born with starvation in his belly and baksheesh on his lips.

Mohanbari, we discovered, was an ATC base hacked out of a jungle wilderness in Upper Assam. A few years ago, Frank Buck used this as a happy hunting ground from which to bring 'em back alive - though we found out later that he had not quite exhausted the available supply.

The ATC introduced us to our first two overseas stripes, brought us oil tanks and warehouses and gates and Red Cross quarters and generals to guard, put us in charge of a stockade, gave us a town to patrol, and brought us a battle star and a presidential citation.

Assam gave us a few laughs and some tragedy - two days before we left, a G.I. with bars was killed in a jeep accident. With that as a memory, we stepped aboard C-47s and a few hours later landed in Sahmaw, Burma. Thanksgiving Day - with pup tents for shelter and K-rations for turkey - our introduction to Burma and to the Tenth Air Force.

We found we were assigned to the Tenth Air Force and attached to the 33d Fighter Group for duty.

A bomb smacking near the runway gave us our first actual big time clasp thrill, but we still maintain that the only civilized way to watch a war is from a lodges seat with a good cigar in your mouth.

We located our area on the far side of a stream, away from the runway. There, in addition to building up an area, part of the stream was dammed and a swimming pool built. Deer became a staple food, and despite some alerts and vague rumors of enemy forces, the area settled into regularity, performing the guard duties assigned to our organization. Then, a detachment was ordered to Bhamo.

We moved to the area occupied by the old liaison group. There we policed and built and fixed another swimming pool. Men were sent to Myitkyina. V-E Day came and went. A small detachment was sent to China.

One evening a phone call came, the men packed, organizational equipment was readied, and the next day we were flown out - not to China but to India. A long winding train trip from northern India to Piardoba. A few days there, then, leaving a detachment, moved on.

Life settled into another round of guard duties and rumors. Until the fateful night of 10 August 1945. V-J Day. But was it? Rumors and denials and confirmations and waiting. And now, on the morning of 15 August 1945, V-J Day was official.

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