62nd Highway Patrol (MP)
 Germany      1948 - 1958

Stories of the Highway Patrol

 

 

NEO REMEMBERED

 

by Capt. C. VanGemert [ret.]

 

 

 

 

 

After reading so much about the Non-Combatant Evacuation Order in the past several issues of The White Mice, I have decided that the time is right for me to come forth with my experience on the subject. I am not sure if I was one of the first to participate in this type of exercise but, close to it. The time was in the early fifties and the Russians were making all the overtures up against the borders that enclosed the American, French and British occupied areas.

 

The Battalion Commander of the 508th MP Bn. [located in Munich] called a meeting of all officers in the battalion. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possible evacuation of civilians in the event of war, or some other national emergency, he laid it on the line for us. I remember making at least three [3] trips similar to those mentioned in other issues of The White Mice. The Battalion Commander designated Cpt. Weise who at the time was the Commander of Company B, Lt. Ivar Franzen, the Battalion Commo officer and myself [Commander of Company C, the HP Co.] to make the first trip.

 

The rules were a bit different, first we were told to reconnoiter all the roads surrounding Munich and the best routes to the English Channel. We were told not to use the major roads. All roads had to be non military, they were all second class roads. You can just imagine the chaos this presented. The snow that we encountered did not make things easier. The roads we used through the French Alps had hairpin turns, you can just imagine what it would have been like for a woman who might be driving a bus. We would make the trip using a cm sedan and in civilian clothes [no indication that we were military]. We were issued a bundle of German Marks, French Franc's and British Pound notes. We made the trip twice, while the Battalion Commander made the trip with two other officers.

 

The plan was to escort civilians [90% of whom would be military dependents] from the Munich area to a location on the French side of the English Channel. The civilians were to drive their own vehicles, school buses and any other non-military type of vehicles available. The civilian vehicles would have to carry most of their own fuel, rations and medical first aid kits. In order for the evacuation to work, all family members in the Munich area had to work together as a team. All women four [4] months pregnant were left behind with a close friend and in the care of medical personnel. There were several dry [practice] runs locally. Many of the senior officers said from the very beginning that it wouldn't work while others were heard to say "if it won't, come up with something better." The 508th MP Battalion would furnish some protection for the entire route. This was especially true is some areas designated as an ambush site which we were to mark on the map during our trip.

 

Returning to Munich, we finally worked out the plans for the evacuation, such as it was. I don't suppose anyone will ever know just how good, or bad it was. We could only hope for the best in the event of an emergency.

 

After two years with the Highway Patrol, which was choice duty. I got another one in September of 1952, when I rotated back to the states and was assigned to the 1 st Naval District Headquarters as executive officer of the Boston Armed Services Police Detachment. This unit was composed of members from all branches of the service. By the way, Boston is my home city. This assignment lasted until 1957, I was up

 

After two years with the Highway Patrol, which was choice duty. I got another one in September of 1952, when I rotated back to the states and was assigned to the 1st Naval District Headquarters as executive officer of the Boston Armed Services Police Detachment. This unit was composed of members from all branches of the service. By the way, Boston is my home city. This assignment lasted until 1957, I was up for promotion to Major when the Army decided to cut back 50,000 officers in a rift. I was a High School dropout and no College as yet, this I took care of after I retired from the Army. I held every grade from Pvt. To Captain. [was rifted back to SFC and was later promoted to 1st Sgt]. This all happened in 24 years and 10 months’ time

 

 


This story previously appeared in Volume # 4, Issue # 4, July-August 2001 edition of "The White Mice"


 

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