62nd Highway Patrol (MP)
 Germany      1948 - 1958

Stories of the Highway Patrol


Highway Patrol 501

by Edward F. Smith





I am sure that most of you are familiar with HP unit # 501.  This was the company commanders car, and in most cases driven by the commander to visit the different detachments, and at other times when needed.  On occasions it was also driven by other members of the company for various reasons.  One of these was for a member of the unit attending Traffic School at Oberlmmergau as I did in the spring of 1957.


Sgt. Richard Plummer and I were to attend the traffic School.  In addition to attending, we would also put on a demonstration using the vehicle for the class.  Sgt. Plummer was from Det. A at Wurzburg and was transported to the station at Det. B.  I had already picked up the sedan #501 from Heidelberg and we were soon on our way South.  Needless to say that we didn't let the grass grow under the wheels of #501 (55 Ford).  In early afternoon as we approached the Augsburg stations I picked up the microphone and called the station using the call sign HP 501 and advised that we would be arriving soon, no explanation as to who was in the vehicle.  Upon arrival we discovered that the station was empty except for the desk sergeant who just happened to be Sgt. Monte Deere.  As we walked into the station we notice that he kept looking around and I am sure searching for the company commander Maj. Joseph B. Byrnes.  After a few minutes we let him know just what we did and that we were alone.


We proceeded to the Snack Bar located in the same building and had a nice lunch.  As we prepared to leave I noticed that our two rear tires were flat.  We used the spare and swapped the other one from another patrol car.  Not sure who the joke was on that day.


Another encounter with HP # 501 happened on a Saturday afternoon while I was on patrol.  I was headed South on the off ramp of the Kaiserslautern Autobahn onto the Frankfurt to Mannheim Autobahn.


As I came off the ramp I fell in behind HP # 501 at approximately 50 MPH.  I had no problem identifying the operator as the company commander, Maj. Byrnes.  I also noticed that the vehicle was unsteady in its lane (weaving. back and forth).  I quickly decided that it could be in my best interest (and perhaps for Maj. Byrnes as well) to remain where I was, following at a distance.  I followed HP # 501 on to the Heidelberg Autobahn and just short of reaching the end, HP 501 pulled to the right and off the road where he came to a stop.  I pulled in behind, checked my brassard for pens; exited the vehicle and moved slowly toward Maj. Byrnes.  As I approached, I reported and gave him a snappy salute.  Before I could say anything else the Maj. looked at me and said, Smith, I have been watching you, you’re a pretty dam good driver.  I want you to call SFC Todd at Headquarters and have him come pick-up my sedan, and I would like for you to take me home.


With the Maj. in my vehicle, we started in the direction of Patrick Henry Village.  I also called the station and advised them to call Hq. and have someone pick up the Maj.'s vehicle, that I had the Maj. in my car and was enroute to Patrick Henry Village.  The Maj. indicated that he wasn't feeling well (you be the judge.)



This story previously appeared in Volume #3, Issue # 3, June - July, 2000 of "THE WHITE MICE".


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