March 1969 Issue By William H. Adam
This is the story of the 502nd Military Police Battalion, from 1943 to 1945, with brief mention of the part it played in the China-Burma-India Theater. We started our basic training at Camp McCain, Miss., in January, 1943. When we first saw what was to be our new home, it was just a puddle of mud. We spent many of our off duty hours in the nearby town of Granada, and also many of us went into Memphis, Tenn., or Jackson, Miss. In Memphis one could see the riverboats on the Mississippi River passing close to shore. During our stay at Camp McCain we took hikes, and learned for the first time to drive large trucks. For relaxation we attended movies, went to the PX, and also had a dayroom. In the early part of July, 1943, we left by train and headed west. We passed through Texas, Arizona, and part of New Mexico; then up through California to Camp Anza at Arlington, Calif. This camp was located 50 miles below Los Angeles. We stayed here three weeks, and during this time we visited Riverside. On the road to Riverside we passed through an avenue of trees which really had a touch of beauty. We boarded the U.S.S. Hermitage at Los Angeles, Calif., July 27, 1943; and we set sail for parts unknown. Our first stop was Wellington, New Zealand. We came into this beautiful harbor, and could see many different houses on the hill - all in bright colors. Also, one could see a tram going up the side of the mountain. We will never forget the rich ice cream and butter we took on beard ship at th's city. We also took a walk through the main part of town out to the point of the harbor. After a short stay we continued our trip on the Pacific Ocean. Aboard ship we played cards, read books, or were just content to watch the fish jumping by the side cf the ship and wondering what we would see next. Our next port of call was Melbourne, Australia. We were allowed at this time to walk on the docks and see at a glance the city down under. We then sailed around to the other side of Australia to Fremantle. which was a submarine base. While at this location we all went in swimming in the Indian Ocean, and was the water ever warm! Here we were joined by two other ships-the Brazil and the Uraquay-and from here our convoy again headed out on the Pacific Ocean for parts unknown. Then one afternoon was a sight we will never forget. In the distance were temples rising out of the water and, as we came closer, we were told this was the city of Bombay in the land of enchantment-far away India. Here we were given Indian money and a nine-hour pass to see the city. We walked up the marn street, and were impressed by the many strange sights that we saw. Of course, we all bought some articles for a remembrance of this strange and beautiful place. We then took a train from Bombay and traveled 100 miles to a British rest camp called Deolali. Here many of us had sickness from the food. While here we took hikes and studied map reading. During our stay here we v'sited the Bazaar at Nassic City. We all went to the movies, and ate in the Chinese restaurants. While at this camp, we were enterta'ned by a bagpipe band. We left Deolali October 14, 1943, and headed for Calcutta.
Down Memory Lane, the Stilwell Road
After a short stay we again started our journey and arrived at Pandu. Here we changed railroads and went north and finally arrived at Ledo (Harmony Church area). While at Ledo we visited the Bazaar at Margurita and also visited villages nearby and pulled guard duty at different posts. Just before Christmas, two squads sailed down the Brahmaputra River to Calcutta, and shortly after went by train to General Stilwell's Headquarters at Ramgarh. Those who went to Ramgarh were Lt. Bacon, Sgt. Kolodziej, Sgt. Merle Knip-ple, Sgt. George Yurick, T/4 Joseph Lanze, Jr., PFC. Wilmer Jensen, PFC. Andrew Kovach, PFC. William Long, PFC. Ralph Jones, PFC. Andrew Mucha, PFC. Leonard Owens, PFC. Robert Sabo, PFC. William Shacklock, PFC. Paul Sherr, Pyt. William Adam, Pvt. Robert Chad-wick, Pvt. William Moss, Pvt. Julius Nagy, Pvt. Coolidge Rollman, Pvt. Francis Slavin, Pvt. Ray Bledsoe, Pvt. Glenn Minnich, Corp. John Willits, Corp. Jerry Trimarco, Pvt. Gilbert Heiberger, Pvt. Henry Lytle. We arrived at Ramgarh 7:00 a.m. and went directly to Brick Barracks. When we had cleaned up, we were taken to the mess hall; and sat down at tables set with plates and silverware. We almost flipped when the waiters said, "How do you want your eggs?". We said, "Gee! any way will be fine." While here, we saw several U.S.O. Shows, including Paulette Goddard and Melvin Douglas. We pulled road patrol and guard duty, and worked with the Chinese M. P.'s and learned enough of their tongue to hold a conversation with them. We had nice cmarters and good food, and our own EM Club. Here we played cards and ate hamburgers and drank cokes- We also spent time at the "Greasy Spoon" and "The Monsoon Inn". After nine months the two squads split up, some going to the 167 M.P. Co. at Chabua; and others going back up the road into Burma and China. On June 3, 1944, C Co. was relieved of duty at Ledo and assigned to traffic duty on the Ledo Road. The rest of the 502nd stayed at Ledo. On September 13, 1944, C Co. was redesignated as the 700th M.P. 'Co. At. the same time back at 502nd M.P. Headquarters, men were sent to form the 167th M.P. Co. at Chabua. Others were sent to other outfits. C. Co., which later became the newly formed 700th M.P. Co., pulled duty at Logali, Namlip. Namyung. Tagap. Kumkido, Nathkaw, Shingbwiyang, Tasic River, Yubang Ga, Tawang River, Tingkawk Sakan, Warazup, Mogaung, Namti, Myit-kyina, Kazoo, Nalong, Myothit, Bhamo, Mu-Se, Namkham, Mong-Yo, Wanfing, all in Burma; and Toppa, Paoshan, Yensrpi and Tsu Yung in China. When we arrived at Chabua, we saw many familar faces; and during our stay here pulled road patrol, traffic duties; and worked at the stockade. It was here that we saw the U.S.O. Show with Jinx Falkenburg and Pat O'Brien, along with Jimmie Dodd, Ruth Carroll and Betty Yeaton. While here we visited Panatola, Dinjan. Tinsukia and Dibrugarh. After a year here we flew to Karachi and pulled traffic duty on Malir Cantonment. While here we visited Karachi many times, or just plain sightseeing. It was here that we met the others of the old 502nd when they were coming home. After saying hello to them they boarded their ship and sailed home. A short time later we boarded the General Callan and also set sail for the good old U.S.A. Our ports of call were Singapore, Pearl Harbor and finally Seattle, Washington. We stayed at Fort Lawton a few days. Then boarded a troop train and made the journey home through the Dakotas and Montana, where we saw our first snow in 2 years. Then through Minnesota, Illinois and finally to New York, then back to Pennsylvania. We were discharged at Indian Town Gap on February 8, 1946.
AN IMPORTANT area in the history of the 502nd Military Police Battalion was the Stilwell Road.
Here two members of the battalion stop to rest before a sign on that road.
Source: Ex-CBI Roundup, April 1969 Issue William H. Adam submitted an excellent account of his personal experiences ("502nd Military Police Battalion" and page 21 letter, March 1969 Roundup). His facts are not all correct, but such contributions are needed to tell the full story of the many fine units of the CBI Theater. To correct the record: (1) The 502nd was not the first MP unit at Ledo. A smaller unit under Capt. Eugene Kirk was there many months before the 502nd arrived. (2) The 167th MP Company was formed in the spring of 1944-not in September. (3) There has been no suggestion that the 159th MP Battalion performed duty at Ledo and beyond. It had enough to do on the Assam L/C and in the Chabua area. (4) The 502nd MP Bn (which did a fine job under Col. Fred Park) was deactivated in Sept. 1944 and did not exist thereafter. The 158th, 159th and 160th Battalions were activated at that time, and the new battalion at Ledo did an excellent job under Col. Elliott Stoutenburgh. Adam was "down the road" with the 700th MP Company and apparently knew nothing of these changes. Perhaps others of the Ledo area Military Police units will follow Adam's example and submit their bits, and someone will assemble them into a comprehensive history as was done in preparing the 159th MP Battalion history. I will be glad to assist any group of ex-MPs in this as I have some knowledge of MP operations throughout the theater (having done MP-Provoat Marshal duty with Theater Hq., SOS Hq., ATC Hq., and at locations from Bombay to Karachi to Calcutta and Kunming.) EARL O. CULLUM