218th MP Co Letters (Blankenship)
I was stationed with the 503rd MP Bn at Ft Bragg, NC, when I was placed on orders to RVN. I was initially assigned to the 127th MP company in the Saigon area.
After arriving at Long Binh, however, I was reassigned to the 218th MP Co (no explanation was given) and was flown to Cam Rahn Bay (CRB) on a C124. I think I actually arrived at CRB about one week after landing at Saigon. This was in August 1967.
The 218th was then commanded by Cpt Dave Garner and the 97th MP Bn Cdr was LTC Delapp. I was surprised to learn that the 218th was the largest MP Co (5 vs 4 platoons) in RVN, supposedly due to the far-flung support being provided around the country. I was initially assigned as a Platoon Leader and later as XO. Most of my earliest responsibilities were related to planning and participating in convoys, traveling to/from our detachments in Dalat, BanMeThuot (BMT) and PhanRang, pulling MP Duty Officer and participating as either Defense or Trial counsel in about 5 court martial proceedings. Other companies in the Bn were the 630th MP CO, 981st MP Co (Sentry Dog) and an Infantry company (?) that was mainly charged with physical security taskings. Cpt Garner DEROS'd in Jan 68 and I assumed command of the 218th shortly before TET 68; I was a 1st LT at the time. I was promoted to CPT on 26 Jun 68. I DEROS'd in Aug 68.
The Phan Rang detachment was either discontinued, or transferred to another command, late in 1967. About this same time we were told to start planning to place a detachment, consisting of at least 1 squad+ (this was later amended to be more like 2+ squads and a Lt); they were increasing the Tuy Hoa base in a substantial way, the airport facility (for more ground-air support) and also the military medical treatment facilities/hospital were getting enlarged. This all resulted in a huge increase in troops that we would need to "control". I think I assigned Lt Illiano as the OIC there. We also started planning, about this same time, to move the Company HQs to Nha Trang from CRB.
The Dalat detachment was co-billeted, in the villa in my pictures, with the MP sentry dog guys who worked at the communication facilities on Long Bien Mtn. The villa also served as the MP Station and they did some town patrols, airport security, accident/incident investigations etc.., probably about the same as the guys did in BMT. The Dalat villa was almost destroyed during the TET offensive of '68, with several wounded, one bad enough to be evacuated to Japan/USA. The BMT facility was also attacked but was not as severely damaged as Dalat.
We actually got started, in Dec 67- Jan 68, our move of the 218th north to Camp McDermott, Nha Trang, and had a sizable presence there during the TET attacks. (Camp McDermott). We took this facility over from B Co, 504th MP Bn which was relocated. At Camp McDermott we continued with the same type missions as before: convoys, town patrol and accident investigations, MPI investigations and other general support activities.
The Vung Ro Bay activity started after my departure, it wasn't something I had even head about.
Hope this helps a little.
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