Occupation Diary, First Cavalry Division (1945-1950)
By First Lieutenant Charles A. Rogers
At noon on September 5, 1945, a reconnaissance party headed by Colonel Charles A. Sheldon, the First Cavalry Division’s Chief-of-Staff, entered Tokyo. While the formal entrance was to come later, this actually marked the first official movement of American personnel into the capital of Japan’s once-mighty empire. The reconnaissance was without incident. Its mission was to find bivouac areas for the division within the city itself.
Although there had been some doubt as to reactions of the Japanese populace when the troops had first come ashore, no friction or untoward incidents developed. In the Kanto Plain area surrounding Tokyo was a large segment of the Japanese army which was commencing its own disarmament. The units included 14 infantry divisions, 17 independent mixed brigades, one armored division, and one infantry regiment. Had any part of this force decided to rebel at the provisions of the peace agreement, the First Cavalry Division might have been badly hit before it had gained a firm foothold in Japan. On the contrary, both the Japanese and the Americans were highly pleased at the behavior of each other The troopers’ experience with the unyielding do-or-die conduct of the Japanese soldier on the battlefield made it almost inconceivable that he would permit these “foreign barbarians” to walk upon the sacred soil of Nippon without displaying some kind of resistance even though it would be of a futile, token-like nature. Instead, the Japanese people exhibited a fine willingness to cooperate to the utmost of their ability. Long years of war propaganda had taught them that the arrival of the Americans would be followed by an orgy of raping and looting. Their women and private property would not be safe for a minute. ‘When the large-scale outrages failed to materialize. the Japanese began to breathe easier.
At 8 A.M. on September 8, 1945, a history making convoy left Hara-Machida with Tokyo as its destination. Headed by Major General William C. Chase, commanding general of the First Cavalry Division, the party included a veteran from each troop in the division so that all units would be represented on this climatic trek of the war. Passing through Hachioji, Fuchu and Chofu, the convoy halted briefly at the Tokyo City Limits. General Chase stepped across the line thereby putting the American Army officially in Tokyo and adding another “First” to the record of the “First Team.” To Pfc Paul Davis of Fairland, Ottawa County, Oklahoma. who followed the general, went the honor of being the first enlisted man to enter the city officially. This won him an award of $1000 offered by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of his home county to the first soldier from the county to set foot in Tokyo. Davis was a member of “D” Troop, 12th Cavalary.
On the same morning, veteran cavalrymen raised the flag atop the American embassy building. Their comrades stood at attention while the division band played the national anthem. The flag was the one which had been flying over the Capitol at Washington on Pearl Harbor Day and had flown over the Battleship Missouri while the surrender documents were being signed. The Flag of Liberation was also the first American flag to be flown over Rome, Italy, at the conclusion of hostilities with that country. It was the first American flag to fly over Berlin after VE-Day. This flag is now in the national Capitol, having been delivered to Senator Vandenberg and House Speaker Martin on April 6, 1948 by the commander of the First Cavalry Division, Major General Hobart R. Gay.
Major General Gay was Chief of Staff of the Third U.S. Army in Europe during World War II under the late General George S. Patton. Jr.. He assumed command of the First Cavalry Division in mid-September 1949 through February 1951.
The division’s first mission in Tokyo was to assume control of the central portion of the city. Troops of the 7th Cavalry guarded the American Embassy where General MacArthur had taken up residence, and the Meiji Shrine, one of the most sacred geographical points in Japan, according to Japanese belief. Daily patrols began the long task of locating, investigating and reporting all Japanese installations which had contributed to the nation’s war effort, and there were many. All arsenals, factories, barracks and storage grounds had to be examined and reports made of their contents. In addition, the division was concerned with the status of demobilization of the Japanese armed forces. Although the Imperial Army and Navy were being disbanded under supervision of Japanese officials, the First Cavalry Division maintained liaison with them and checked on the progress of their work.It is to the credit of the Japanese that they were generally cooperative in answering the questions of the reconnaissance patrols and giving, to the best of their ability, information concerning the installations in their charge. A few of the officials queried by the patrols appeared to be hostile in attitude, but when this condition was reported, the situation was rectified. In some instances, incomplete or apparently evasive information was given but this was attributable, to a large degree, to the fact that the persons with a more complete knowledge had departed before the patrols arrived.
On September 11, members of the First Cavalry Division assisted in frustrating the suicide attempt of Hideki Tojo, war-time premier of Japan, whose name had been placed at the head of the list of Japanese war criminals. Tojo shot himself with a small pistol but before he could die the death of a martyr, he was evacuated from his residence in a First Cavalry ambulance and given medical treatment. He survived to stand trial by the International Tribunal.
One of the many Japanese war criminals to receive justice at trials held by the War Crimes at Yokohama where troopers of the Eighth Cavalry Regiment served as guards during the first three years of the occupation
Now that the war had ended and it had become apparent that the occupation of Japan would not require any tremendous force of arms, redeployment of veterans with long service moved forward on a large scale. Some of the U.S. Army divisions who had come to Japan only a few days before commenced preparations for inactivation or movement home to the United States. This meant that the First Division, one of the units to remain overseas, would be charged with the responsibility for an increasingly larger zone of occupation. On September 16, the First Cavalry was given responsibility for occupying all of the city of Tokyo.in addition to adjacent parts of Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture.
An important project during the early days of the occupation was to find adequate housing facilities for the troops. Although September was not a particularly cold month in Japan, the tent camp at Yoyogi proved unsuitable as winter quarters for troopers who blood had been thinned by two years in the tropics. A typhoon, which damaged the camp on September 16, emphasized the need for more permanent billets. By September 25, all the elements of the division had moved into buildings of wood or masonry construction.. Much cleaning and some repair was required to put these billets into the condition demanded by the U.S. Army
As the occupation continued, the various units of the division were shifted from place to place so that they could accomplish their missions most effectively. At the end of the first 18 months of occupation, the command posts of the 1st Brigade, 5th Cavalry and 12th Cavalry were situated at Camp McGill at Otawa, about 20 miles south of Yokohama. The 2nd Cavalry Brigade had its command post at the Imperial Guard Headquarters Building in Tokyo while the 7th Cavalry was at the Merchant Marine School. The 8th Cavalry continued to occupy the 3rd Imperial Guard Regiment Barracks in Tokyo. The Division Artillery Headquarters at Ojima, in Gumma Prefecture, was so located that it could maintain control over the four artillery battalions which had the duty of occupying the mountainous prefectures. These comprised the northern portion of the division’s zone of responsibility. Division Headquarters and other units of the division were stationed at Camp Drake near Tokyo..
Huge 105 Millimeter Howitzers of Battery “A” 77th Field Artillery Battalion fire hundreds of pounds of ammunition on a simulated enemy stronghold during their training at Camp Manus, adjacent to Mount Fuji.
On September 25, 1945, there began a great shifting and turnover of personnel which continued thence forward and added considerably to the difficulties of carrying out the occupation mission. Men with high adjusted service rating scores were transferred to the 43rd Infantry Division for shipment home and discharge. Later, as other units were inactivated or deployed to the States, many low point men were turned over to the First Cavalry Division to complete their tours of duty. However, these additions and the trickle of replacements which came directly from the United States did not equal the division’s losses through re deployment. During the period from July 1, 1945 to January 31, 1947, 32,494 personnel were redeployed to the States from the First Cavalry Division, a turnover of approximately three times the authorized strength of the division.
On September 30, 1945, one of the major tasks in the early stages of the occupation was performed by the 2nd Cavalry Brigade when it closed 21 banking institutions in Tokyo and seized all records, pending an investigation of foreign financial activities by these firms. Twenty-one teams consisting of guards, interpreters and counter-intelligence corps personnel descended simultaneously on the 21 installations and effected the closing without incident.
Major General William C. Chase, who led the famous “Flying Column” of the division into Manila in February 1945 to liberate the civilian internees at Santo Tomas Internment Camp, was commander of the division from July 31, 1945 until February 1949.
As the First Cavalry Division completed its first month of occupation duties, the demilitarization of Japanese war industries was in full swing. During the ensuing year the major effort of the division was devoted toward locating,inventorying, and assisting in the destruction of arms, ammunition and military supplies.Factories which had been producing for the Japanese war machines were seized and either destroyed or held for reparations. As the arsenals, military posts and airfields were cleaned up,the search was broadened to include numerous caves, mountain hideouts, and other points to which the war material had been dispersed.
Early in the conflict,the Japanese had begun to make provision for the movement of their war industries to underground retreats.The destruction of their great cities by aerial bombing,during The spring of 1945, had hastened this procedure. The dispersion of war plants and stocks of vital material continued right up until the time American troops had actually landed in Japan. When the cavalry patrols searched the countryside, they found thousands of caves which literly honey-combed the landscape. Many of them contained nothing, but but in a great number of others, caches of arms,ammunition and machinery were found and seized.Complete underground factories with ventilating and sewage systems, dormitories,and offices were discovered.The war had ended before most of them could get into production.The demilitarization became a grim game of hide and seek. At the beginning of the occupation, schools, temples, and shrines were spared from search by the occupation forces,but after it became known that certain of these institutions were being used for the storage of munitions, a systematic and revealing survey was made. After a year and a half of occupation, unreported and undestroyed implements of war were still being turned up in small amounts.
The victory flag that was raised by First Cavalry Division troops over the American Embassy in Tokyo to mark Japan’s total defeat is presented to leaders of the Congressional bodies by the division’s present commander, Major General Hobart R. Gay. Former Speaker of the House Joseph Martin, holding flag, and Senator Arthur J. Vandenberg receive the flag from General Gay on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C., on April 6, 1948. This same flag flew over the Nation’s Capitol on Pearl Harbor Day, over Rome when Italy capitulated, over Berlin when the Nazis were crushed and over the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese accepted total surrender.
In October 1945, the First Cavalry Division commenced the seizure of stocks, precious metals, jewelry, foreign currency, and narcotics, which were in the possession of Japanese business firms and industrial plants. By the end of January 1947, more than 76,000,000 grams of gold, a billion grams of silver, 7,000,000 grams of platinum, and a large quantity of diamonds had been confiscated by the division and impounded in the vaults of the Bank of Japan. About 60,000,000 grams of narcotics had been seized and either destroyed or turned over to the Japanese Home Ministry.
Headquarters Company and Headquarters Detachment cooks put the ingredients of a salad together for an evenings’ dinner at the combined mess, Camp Drake.
In addition to seizing and disposing of munitions and precious items, the First Cavalry Division conducted an inventory of all lumber mills in its zone of responsibility to determine production capacity and the stocks of lumber on hand. One hundred sixty-nine mills were canvassed during this survey.
On November 6, 1945, the division took over the operation of the repatriation center at the port of Uraga, south of Yokohama on Tokyo Bay. Japanese nationals, including army, navy, civil service, and diplomatic personnel, being returned from overseas were received, processed, and sent to their homes in Japan. Non-citizens of Japan passed through the port on their way back to their own countries. Among the problems that added to the difficulty of operating the port was prevalence of diseases such as cholera and typhus aboard the incoming ships. Quarantine measures were enforced and the danger of an epidemic in Japan was allayed. In all, more than 560,000 incoming Japanese, 61,000 cases of funeral ashes and more than 12,000 outgoing Formosans and Ryukyuans were processed through the port of Uraga under the supervision of the 1st Cavalry Brigade.
On October 11, 1945, patrols from the First Cavalry Division officiated at the release of 34 political prisoners who had been confined by the Japanese Government for periods ranging up to 18 years. Another duty which befell the First Cavalry Division was the seizure of the Tokyo embassies of the puppet Chinese and Manchurian Governments which had come into being during the development of the “Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere.” These buildings were placed under guard and their contents impounded.
Major General William C. Chase, Commanding General of the division from the beginning of the occupation until early 1949, officially opened Service Club No. 29 at Camp Drake on Manila Day, 1947, by cutting the dedication cake while Major General Charles A. Ryder, IX Corps Commander looks on. The club was later designated “Club Cavalcade.”
In furtherance of the ideas of freedom of speech and assembly which the Allies brought to the people of Japan, numerous mass meetings and rallies were permitted and encouraged by the occupation authorities.
To insure that these meetings were not molested by the police or other unsympathetic elements, the First Cavalry Division provided observers who stood by unobtrusively and were equipped to summon help by radio if, for any reason, a peaceful assembly degenerated into a riotous mob.
In searching the countryside, the patrols occasionally came across the wreckage of crashed planes which were either casualties of the war or the result of accidents to operational flights during the occupation period. In all cases, the patrols took steps to identify the plane and any of its personnel who had been killed.
Most members of the First Cavalry Division welcomed the arrival of 1946. For them it was the dawning of a new era, a time of peace. The days of privation, hardship, suffering and death were over for the first time since December 7, 1941, and Pearl Harbor. It found the First Cavalry Division in secure control of Tokyo and vicinity, the capital of the former war-built Japanese Empire.
January of 1946 was spent pursuing the gigantic task of rendering Japan powerless to wage wars of aggression. Vast supplies of weapons, aircraft, ammunition and similar instruments of death and destruction were destroyed. During this month, 6,052 tons of ammunition was shipped to out loading docks within the division’s sector of responsibility, although a severe shortage of personnel hindered the operation.
As quickly as all machines of war were reduced to scrap, the remains were turned over to the Japanese Home Ministry for use in the reconversion of all the industry of Japan to peace time pursuits. Large amounts of food, clothing and medical supplies, intended for use by the Japanese armed forces, were also delivered to the Japanese Home Ministry for civilian use. In this fashion the First Cavalry Division continued to destroy the potential war-making powers of the Imperial Japanese Government.
Football is one of the favorite spectator sports with soldiers stationed in Japan. Two regimental teams of the division are shown above battling it out at the Nile Kinnick Stadium near Tokyo. The stadium has the appearance and facilities of the best football stadiums in the United States. Games are played there weekly during the Fall.
On December 15,1945,the First Cavalry Division extended its area of occupational responsibility to include Chiba Prefecture. On January 1, the relief of the 112th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team had been effected completely by the 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry. The order, adding Chiba Prefecture to the First Cavalry sector of responsibility, necessitated spreading the troops of one squadron over an area twice as large as Tokyo Prefecture, and it further increased the heavy burden already placed upon the division’s supply and communication networks. However, the end of January found the division executing the occupational duties in this area with the same superior standard of efficiency that it had performed more difficult tasks during the trying days of the war. The division knew that assuming responsibility for this prefecture was only the prelude to the huge task that would be confronted in the succeeding two months.
With the acceleration of the program to repatriate Koreans to their native land, additional repatriation duties were assumed by the First Cavalry Division. Upon order of IX Corps, the division assumed its share of guard responsibility for safely convoying trains carrying Korean passengers on their way to out loading ports. Various subordinate tactical units rotated the guards for these trains and effected relief of 11th Airborne Division guards at Tabata station, Tokyo. All the Airborne Division guards who were relieved at Tabata station were furnished food and quarters by the 7th Cavalry Regiment before returning to Sendai. During the month of January, 16 trains carrying Korean repatriates passed through the division sector of responsibility.
Early 1946 also saw the Military Police Platoon smash a large black market ring with the arrest of two large scale Japanese operators in Tokyo. It was made possible by an excellent display of courage and detective work on the part of Sergeant Donnel C. Hawks of the Military Police Platoon. Sergeant Hawks acted as a member of the black market ring in order to locate the leaders in conjunction with Sergeant Thomas N. Dyson of the 8th Engineer Squadron, who furnished the original information that led to the exposure and arrest of these criminals.
On January 8, 1946, the First Cavalry Division played host to Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson who made a four hour visit to the division as part of his world wide inspection tour of occupied countries. Gun salutes and a formal review were rendered in his honor by the cavalrymen, and upon returning to Washington, the honorable Secretary of War wrote the Division Commander, Major General William C. Chase, the following letter of commendation, which read in part:“I want to tell you how much I enjoyed my short visit to your division. From what I saw I would say that you had a very fine organization and wish you would extend to all your personnel my commendation for the splendid way in which they are performing their occupational duties.”
Among the many visiting dignitaries to Tokyo in 1949 was former Secretary of the Army, Mr. Kenneth C. Royall, here accompanied by Lt. General Walton H. Walker, Eighth Army Commander and. Major General William C. Chase, then division commander.
During February of 1946, the First Cavalry Division saw the abandonment of a cloistered life by Emperor Hirohito, the hanging of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and the sentencing of General Masaharu Homma to be shot. General Yamashita, one of Japan’s foremost military leaders, had led the Japanese troops that opposed the First Cavalry Division in the Philippines. His execution as a war criminal, stripped of uniform, decorations and other appurtenances signifying membership in the military profession, took place near Los Banos, P.I. on February 23, 1946.
Operations during February were still being carried out in accordance with directives from higher headquarters. Some localities still required a thorough searching for war material that had been unreported either because it had been secreted or simply overlooked. As evidence or this fact, a 12th Cavalry patrol, accompanied by Japanese Police, discovered 20 boxes of dynamite and 2,600 meters of primer cord at the Kanawa Christian Church just four miles northwest of Hiratsuka. Further investigation revealed that information of this cache had been given to the Hiratsuka Police the previous October, but no one had transmitted it to the occupation authorities until February 8.
An even greater delinquency in failure to report war material was the discovery, by members of the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion, of 100 20 mm guns, without mounts, inside the dockyard workmen’s entrance at the port of Uraga. These guns had never been reported by the Japanese Police.
With an accent on the acceleration of the destruction of Japanese ammunition, the First Cavalry Division far surpassed its previous tonnage shipments of ammunition for destruction at sea when it transported 10,545 tons during the month of February 1946.
On March 1, 1946, the First Cavalry Division assumed the occupational responsibility for seven prefectures of Japan in addition to the four prefectures occupied during previous months. The division now had coast-to-coast control of Central Honshu. This increased responsibility was necessitated by the inactivation of the XI Corps and the 97th Infantry Division. The First Cavalry Division went under the control of the IX Corps.
Major General John M. Devine, who commanded the Second Armored Division in Europe during World War II, was division commander from middle February 1949 until August 1949.
Early 1949 saw the Broadway hit “Mr. Roberts” presented by soldier-actors of the First Cavalry Division with a premier at the Camp Drake theater and later presentations at all division outposts.
In order to occupy such a large area, it was necessary to redeploy the troops of the division and move troop concentrations to new localities. The movement took place during the latter part of February and was completed by March 1 with the units fully prepared to relieve the former occupying forces. The only significant move during March was made by the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion from the Uraga area, south of Yokohama, to the Miizugahara Airfield near Kagohara.
Operations during March were much the same as in previous months. Some localities still required a thorough searching for war material. This was particularly true of the area around the port town of Uraga, where large, fortified, coastal installations were uncovered, many with guns still in place. These positions were just another indication of the extensive measures taken by Japan in preparing the defense of the homeland.
Daily patrols conducted inspections of educational institutions for any display of militaristic tendencies, and to correct those observed immediately. Fewer violations were noted during March than any previous period. Patrols were also dispatched daily to investigate factories that were in operation to see that they were operating in compliance with current directives of the Economic and Scientific Section, SCAP.
On March 9, 1946, a ceremony and review was held by elements of the division at the east gate of the Imperial Palace grounds in Tokyo. Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, 8th Army Commander, honored units of the division by presenting them with battle streamers for the Luzon, Leyte-Samar, New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago campaigns of World War II. Twenty-five hundred troops of the division participated with every unit represented.
Although occupation duties required a great portion of the men’s time, training was conducted whenever possible, with the six firing ranges throughout the division being in almost constant use. Another school was added to the list of those already being conducted by the division when the 16th Quartermaster Cooks and Bakers School began on April 1, 1946. Commanders were temporarily shuffled on March 25 when the division commander, Major
Major General John M. Devine, right, presents a momento in the form of a riding crop to Major General Thomas W. Herren, former commander of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, prior to his leaving for the States and reassignment in mid-1949
Commanders were temporarily shuffled on March 25 when the division commander, Major General William C. Chase returned stateside on temporary duty. Brigadier General William B. Bradford, the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Brigade, assumed command of the division with Colonel John B. Reybold filling the vacancy in the brigade. Colonel William E. Lobit assumed command of the 12th Cavalry, Colonel Reybold’s former command.
The end of March 1946 saw spring well on the way in Japan and troops were looking forward to that season of cherry blossoms and magnolia. Continued re deployment to the United States for discharge was the brightest hope of many and the announcement by the Commanding General, Eighth Army, that the dependents of service men would be reaching the area in May, bolstered the spirits of many troopers.
April of 1946 and spring came to Japan together in the first year of peace since the outset of World War II. Troopers of the First Cavalry Division, patrolling throughout the great industrial and agricultural area of the Kanto Plain, found little evidence remaining of the once-pcwerful Japanese war machine. First Cavalry Division troopers with their gold and black shoulder patches were a familiar sight to the crowds in Tokyo and Yokohama, who gathered in groups and masses to discuss and to plan their new found democracy. Farmers swarming onto the airfields and every available plot of ground scarcely looked up from their labor of turning bomber and fighter bases into fields of grain, as jeep-riding cavalry patrols swept by on their way to distant outposts.
In the division’s zone of responsibility, new houses were springing up amid the scars of bomb-blasted war factories. Gardens were growing in the ruins and new life was stirring in the new ways of peace.
For the division, now occupying 11 prefectures, from Kanagawa in the south to Niigata in the north, most of the demilitarization of military targets had been completed. Only occasionally came word of some hitherto undiscovered store of military goods or hidden cache of arms. Forty-six caves and numerous small warehouses at Zushi contained stores of machine guns, smoke bombs and aerial torpedoes, which had been over-looked by the Japanese in their reports of stored munitions. Two caves at Tomioka Seaplane Base contained 500-pound and 1,000-pound bombs and small arms totaling 650 rifles, 707 sabers and two pistols, were confiscated by patrols from collecting points at police stations throughout the area.
Club Cavalcade, enlisted men’s service club at Camp Drake, is a former Japanese country club. It daily offers a variety of activities for all men stationed at Camp Drake and North Camp Drake and is directed and operated by attractive service club hostesses.
Occupation duties were rotated among troops in the division in order to allow the necessary time for training. Division small arms ranges were in constant use while specialist and on-the-job training received particular attention. The Division Officers’ School, graduating its tenth class in Troop Administration for company officers on April 27, was planning a new course in Military Justice Procedure to begin in May.
As April drew to a close, increased unrest among labor groups and signs of possible disturb-ances in the metropolitan areas necessitated placing the division on an alert status on the 30th which lasted until May 2.
The month of May 1946 in central Japan opened in a fashion truly indicative of the new found freedom of the Japanese people. For the first time in over a quarter of a century, Japanese members of the world-wide Communist party were allowed to celebrate May-day without restrictions as the anniversary of the founding of their party. Thousands gathered in the cities, towns and villages throughout Japan for a day of parading, banner waving and speech making. In Tokyo, members of the party and other individuals interested only in being part of the celebration began gathering at the outlying railway stations of the city well before dawn on May 1. At nine o’clock, they began their separate parades, all converging at the plaza before the Imperial Palace in the heart of Tokyo. By 11 A.M., approximately 300,000 persons were crowding the plaza and over-flowing into nearby Hibiya Park. Troopers throughout the First Cavalry Division were alerted well in advance lie celebration and were fully prepared to take if any damage or injury was done to U.S. property or personnel. However, the crowds remained orderly and no disturbances occurred.
Frequent inspections from the Company Commander to the Corps Commander keep First Cavalry Division troops and equipment in tip-top shape. Here, Major General Leland S. Hobbs, extreme right, IX Corps Commander inspects a unit of the Eighth Cavalry Regiment during mid-1949, accompanied by Major General John M. Devine, then division commander, shown on the corps commander’s right
An additional show of allied strength was made in Tokyo during early May with the arrival of a battalion of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. The battalion, a unit of the 34th Australian Brigade, was attached to the 2nd Cavalry Brigade and established billets at the former Japanese Naval Technical Institute. Guard responsibility at four installations was assumed by the Australians and posts at the Imperial Palace grounds were mounted jointly with troopers of 7th Cavalary.
Operations for May were similar to the previous months. However, on May 12, members of the division conducted a review in Tokyo in honor of General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff. General Eisenhower visited the billets of the 8th Cavalry prior to the review, and in the following two days inspected elements of the 12th Cavalry and the 271st Field Artillery Battalion.
The decrease in the number of men required for guard duty and other occupation tasks permitted an increase in the time allotted to formal training of division troops during the month. Small arms ranges were in constant use with troopers firing the rifle, carbine, automatic rifle, sub-machine gun, light and heavy machine gun. Specialist’s training, at schools conducted within division and by higher echelons, was continued with a marked improvement in the efficiency the schools and the interest of the students. On May 31, a total of 233 students from the division were attending 11 different specialists schools conducted by the division and Eighth Army.
May came to a close with the occupation progressing smoothly and peacefully. The food situation for the Japanese was serious, but was not at the famine stage. Distribution of grain from the United States and harvest of local wheat crops in early June was expected to alleviate the shortage to a great extent. The “new government” elected in April at the first free election in Japan passed successfully through the early unsettled days of office and was progressing along democratic lines.
With boundaries remaining unchanged throughout June, activities of the First Cavalry Division continued to center around the patrol of a chagrined, gradually changing Japan-a Japan desolate and hungry, but for the most part, submissive to the ministrations of her conquerors.
Specialist and technical training in schools conducted within the division and by higher echelons was continued. Slightly over 2900 students attended schools within and outside of the division during June. A breakdown showed that 2466 men attended division unit schools. Approximately 200 went to the Tokyo University and 25 to Sendai Army School. One hundred and thirty-five students were in Corps and Army schools of four different types. One hundred and seven students were in division schools at the end of the month.
Major General Hobart R. Gay, division commander, center, looks on as Colonel Wayland B. Augur, right, division chief of staff for two years, bids farewell to staff officers at Camp Drake, prior to leaving for a Stateside assignment in February 1950.
June came to a close with a little more “stateside” atmosphere around Camp Drake and the Tokyo area. This was brought about by the arrival of the first ship-load of dependents to Japan for the occupation forces. “Operation Diaper” ended June 24th, when the Fred C. Ainsworth docked at Yokohama bringing seven wives and four children of members of the First Cavalry Division to make their homes in Japan for a year or more.
July of 1946 began with an impressive Fourth of July ceremony in Tokyo by elements of the First Cavalry Division. All separate squadrons, troops and regiments were represented by over 3000 troopers. They were formed in line on the Palace Plaza for the formal presentation of the new colors and unit flags to the respective commanding officers by the commanding general of the division.
The balance of the month continued without noteworthy incident. Operations continued as in prior months, beaches in the 1st Cavalry Brigade area yielded eight tons of grenades, and the division went on a command post exercise on July 19.
Oriental architecture combined with the first heavy snow of 1950 produced this effective scene of the Division Command Post at Camp Drake.
To the troopers of the First Cavalry Division who had “sweat out” D Day a year ago, August of 1946 in Japan revealed an era that showed little resemblance to the vast military machine they had conquered piece-meal on their island hopping campaigns of the Pacific
The wheels that turned for war in every fac-and shop were now truly turning in ways of Except for the bomb-scarred sections of Tokyo, even now mercifully covered with weeds or tiny gardens plots, little evidence remained of war. It was hard to imagine the nightly horror like B-29s or the tramp of Tojo’s war-crazed men. One year of occupation by the First Cavalry Division had proved a success.
On August 14, elements of the division conducted a review at the Imperial Palace Plaza, Tokyo, where once, the proud armies of Japan were reviewed by their Emperor. This ceremony commemoration was reviewed by Major General Charles W. Ryder, commanding general of IX Corps.
Adequate housing for dependents of First Cavalry Division troopers eligible to have their families with them evidenced by this modern duplex home in Momote Village, near Camp Drake.
Patrolling during August, for the purposes of intelligence, security and police, showed an increase over that in July. A total of 2,331 patrols were dispatched. A large number of these were for the purpose of enforcing rules of conduct at recreational areas throughout the division zone of occupation and in Shizuoka Prefecture. Many ;intelligence patrols were also dispatched in searching out the hiding places and seizing precious metals, illegally-held and hidden in violation of SCAP directives. A patrol of the 5th Cavalry located 16 aerial bombs at Mirawa Mura early in the month and a 12th Cavalry patrol located a large quantity of 14-inch projectiles, mines and torpedoes cached in the Kami Karskona Primary School for use against our forces when troopers were to “hit the beaches” the previous year.
The division training program was highlighted by weapons demonstrations held at the maneuver grounds at Camp Weir, Camp McNair and Camp Palmer, which were attended and conducted by elements of all divisional units.
During the month of September 1946, training exercises were of paramount interest. On September 3, the 1st Cavalry Brigade conducted a weapons demonstration at Camp Weir. The exhibition was witnessed by many elements of the division. Cannon Troop of the 5th Cavalry Regiment fired a 105mm service practice at Camp Weir on September 9. The culmination of many weeks training at Division Artillery was the participation of the several artillery battalions in a command post exercise on the ll th.
Bowling alleys operated at most camps of the division afford healthful recreation and exercise for the Cavalry ten-pin enthusiasts. Seventh Cavalry troopers, above, try out their new alleys in Tokyo as they were opened in the Spring of 1949.
The individual training phase of an amphibious operation was continued during the month. On September 23, advance parties comprised of the medical collecting troop, shore party and the operations detail, reported to the Yokosuka Amphibious Training Center, where they were submitted to intensive training activities preparatory to the actual landings scheduled to take place later in the year.
The division also completed further demilitarization of former Japanese war plants with the removal of 150 tons of war making ordnance materials and supplies from the 1st Tokyo Arsenal, Kawagoe.
The critical losses in personnel continued to hamper the duties of the division during the period. However, the effort of all personnel then present, who had full knowledge of the job to be accomplished, did much to bring about successful completion of all missions and assignments.
Until the middle of October, planning and advance preparations were being made for the amphibious training exercise scheduled to begin on the 23rd. But it had long been apparent that unless replacements were immediately received, it would be useless to attempt a training exercise of the scope contemplated. Nevertheless, plans went forward until word was finally received from IX Corps that the First Cavalry Division amphibious exercises were indefinitely postponed.
Summertime brings First Cavalrymen out in droves to the division’s many outdoor pools for a cooling swim. Three Camp Drake men here are enjoying the Club Cavalcade pool and strike a pose for an alert photographer.
The number of guarded installations showed a marked decrease. From a total of 85 at the end of September, the number fell to a new low of 60. This was a far cry from the 252 shown on the operation report of January 5, when demilitarization activities were at their peak. But it was no inconsiderable number either, with man power at such a premium.
A welcome attachment to the division came towards the end of October, when Company B, 511th Parachute Infantry Battalion was attached for guard duty in Tokyo. These llth Airborne men were housed with the 8th Cavalry at their quarters in the 3rd Imperial Guard Barracks, Tokyo, and soon had taken over five important guard posts including the Imperial Palace in conjunction with the British guards.
Demilitarization of war plants and factories and the seizure of illegally-held weapons and war-making implements continued on a lesser scale. Very few caches of arms were to be found and nearly all war plants were now engaged in necessary peace time pursuits. The huge 1st Tokyo Military Arsenal was finally cleared of all arms and ordnance supplies during the last week of the month.
Boxing tournaments discover leading regimental and division contenders for the year’s titles in all weight classes. Here, two light heavyweights battle out three fast rounds at Cornelius Field House, Camp Drake.
Training suffered along with other occupational duties, due to the critical replacement situation, but the commanding general kept training going, in spite of all difficulties. Certain units were filled by concentration from others, so that replacements could be given their required individual and basic training in a near-to-full troop, prior to assuming their specialist and detailed occupational duties. A two-week review period covering replacement center subjects was initiated prior to completion of the last five weeks of the required War Department Mobilization Training Program. The training program for the division as a whole was readied for anticipated reception of replacements on a large scale in weeks to come.
The month of November brought real fall weather, the inevitable rain and a crop of replacements to bolster the diminished man power of the First Cavalry Division.
The demilitarization of 34 war-plants was completed during November, thereby accomplishing a part of one more aim in the occupation. Even though the total number of war-plants completely demilitarized ran into the hundreds, many still remained to be converted.
A battery of the 61st Field Artillery Battalion, First Cavalry Division Artillery fires the 17-gun salute to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on their visit to Tokyo February 2, 1950.
The first week of November found units of the division starting their Mobilization Training Program. This consisted of a two-weeks review of the first eight weeks of basic training followed by the last five weeks of the respective branch, 13 week program repeated in full. As units were brought to at least 75 per cent strength, they started their training. By the end of December, it was anticipated that all division reserve units would have this training completed.
During this month, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers were attached to the division for guard duties, replacing the 2nd New Zealand Cavalry. The incoming British unit assumed guard duties for 18 posts in Tokyo and participated in a formal guard mount ceremony and inspection at the Imperial Palace Plaza.
Mid-November found elements of the division polished to the last button for the inspection of War Department Deputy Chief of Staff, General Thomas T. Handy, and Eighth Army Commander Robert L. Eichelberger, accompanied by their respective parties.
Basketball, a favorite late fall and winter sport, is a highlight on the sports program of every First Cavalry Division unit. Here is the start of a fast game at Cornelius Field House, Camp Drake.
The 8th Cavalry Regiment celebrated its 80th birthday anniversary on the 23rd.This day was observed with a holiday atmosphere and impressive ceremony at the Imperial Marine Barracks,the regimental command post.
December of 1946 brought with it the second occupation Christmas for the First Cavalry Division and was a far cry from that somber 25th day of December a year before. Hard, bitter combat men who saw that day a year ago had been replaced by an eager group of newer and younger soldiers. Between the gay festivities of the holiday season, which was enhanced by the efforts of all social groups to provide a Christmas more like the one friends and relatives were spending at home, and the exceptional fine display of decorum by the occupation personnel did much to manifest and spread the spirit of good will, peace and democracy to the Japanese nation. This holiday season was well and fruitfully spent by members of the First Cavalry Division.
During the month, 43 more war plants and factories underwent the prescribed process of demilitarization and the discovery of bullet proof glass and quantities of aircraft instruments was made during an inspection of the Tokyo Diecasting Limited Partnership, Kawasaki Branch.
Reports also brought forth the disclosure of 100 kilograms of Japanese mustard gas which was immediately destroyed. The 8th Cavalry Regiment located and disposed of large amounts of small arms ammunition and anti-tank rocket shells in addition to destroying 200 kilograms of Japanese phosgene and lewisite gas at the 6th Japanese Military Laboratory in Tokyo, a former army chemical warfare plant.
General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “troops the line” accompanied by Major General Hobart R. Gay, First Cavalry Division Commander and commander of troops for the review held in Tokyo February 2, 1950.
Constant firing practice as pictured above with the carbine on the Camp Drake range, keeps troopers of the First Team in the expert marksmanship class.
Excitement reigned in Tokyo between December 17 and 20 when elements of the Division Artillery and the 2nd Cavalry Brigade were alerted to observe and maintain order during the mass Anti-Yoshida demonstrations at the Imperial Palace Plaza. Although 200,000 people were in attendance, there were no unusual incidents and the group remained orderly throughout.
A single honor was bestowed upon the First Cavalry Division band and military police when they were requested to participate at ceremonies on December 14 at the French Embassy in honor of General MacArthur, during which he was presented with the highest French Military Award, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
The year of 1946 came to a close with a December quota of 5,253 replacements for the division from the states. Their basic training varied from three weeks to completion of the basic course. They were immediately integrated into the division military training program, and December 31, 1946 saw the division eagerly awaiting the reception of the trained replacements to bring it to authorized strength.
The First Cavalry Division began the year 1947 with a continuation of its mission of occupation of the heart and nerve center of the Japanese Empire. Its hard-riding patrols fanned out from metropolitan Tokyo and Yokohama, the center of all industry, government and occupation policy, to the southernmost tip of the Izu peninsula, west through the mountainous regions of Yamanashi and Nagano, through the fertile Kanto plain to Saitama, Gumma, Tochigi and Niigata on the Japan Sea, then northeast through Chiba and Ibaraki-10 prefectures in all.
Although there was no change in occupational policy or area of occupation, there had been vast changes among the troopers themselves. The combat veterans of the division had been almost entirely replaced by new arrivals from the States, young, eager and anxious to learn the ways of the army. Their time was busily spent doing guard duty, patrolling, specialist assignments and the ever-present basic training program.
More than 10,000 replacements were received by the division during the months of December and January, bringing its enlisted strength to 15,605 at month’s end, over 15 per cent more than authorized table of organization strength.
The problem of training for all these young men was acute. Commanders of brigades, regiments, squadrons and troops were faced with this: Replacements were being received in large increments from the USA and no individual had more than eight weeks preparation at replacement centers stateside. Some had received a five week program, no more. Secondly, replacements for officers in the company grades were only a little more than one half of authorized requirements, and lastly, the shortage of trained and experienced non-commissioned officers in all grades was acute. From a training standpoint, the supply of young officers who bore the brunt of instructing troops and non-commissioned officer assistant instructors were so short as to be critical
Supervised by American Army dentists, skilled Japanese dentists employed in the 15th Medical Battalion Dental Clinic at Camp Drake save the American taxpayer thousands of dollars annually.
Regardless, training progressed and each individual, after receiving his two weeks of review on the subjects he had in the States and largely forgotten through his processing in depots and voyage to Japan, was, by January’s end, well into the balance of the 13 weeks required by the War Department Mobilization Training Program. For some of the early arrivals, the tests, to be conducted by IX Corps at the termination of the basic training cycle, were well in sight. But welding the individuals into small fighting units and the small units into an efficient whole, capable of performing all the missions of an occupational division and for combat, if need be, was far from complete.
In January, at the repatriation port of Uraga, where the 12th Cavalry had long supervised the processing of millions of demobilized Japanese military personnel, activities slowed to a walk, and plans were made to close the port and cease operations January 15. But on January 9 came word from the Commanding General of IX Corps that the port would remain open to repatriation until the 1,500 German Nationals in Japan were shipped out.
The month of February, 1947 started with the division alerted during a threatened Japanese general strike. The strike ended at noon on the 1st.
February 3rd was proclaimed “Manila Day,” a memorable occasion to old timers who had seen combat with the division in the Philippines. It was on this day two years prior, that the famed “Flying Column” entered Manila, liberating the internees at Santo Tomas. The largest review ever put on in Tokyo was conducted in commemoration of this day. Major General Charles W. Ryder, IX Corps Commander, reviewed the troops.
The turnover of personnel was the lowest in several months. About 200 replacements were received. Slightly over half of these were enlisted men. Fortunately, the bulk of the latter were combat experienced, old-time first three graders.
Training was continued with renewed vigor. The modified seven week MTP as well as the full 13 week program was being conducted in all units of the division. Vehicular training was suspended due to a drastic gasoline cut. A 70 per cent cut in the average fuel use over the previous few months was put into effect on February 5th, which practically grounded the division as far as tactical gasoline was concerned.
The one exception to the gasoline shortage was the combined air-ground exercise at Camp Palmer on the 25th and 26th. First Squadron, 5th Cavalry; C Battery, 82nd FA Battalion; a Provisional Truck Co; 16th Cavalry QM Squadron; a Platoon, 302nd Reconnaissance Troop and Detachment MP Platoon took to the field for this two day problem. They were strafed and bombed as well as having airborne ammunition, rations, water and supplies dropped to them by elements of the 314th Composite Wing.
High ranking officers from General Headquarters, Eighth Army, IX Corps and the division Commanding General were all present the second day for the air drop and last phase of the problem. Words of praise were given to all units concerned.
The ever present job of demilitarizing former Japanese war plants continued at about the same rate as in the previous months. Four war plants were returned to civilian production under the supervision of the 8th Cavalry Regiment.
February 1950 brought the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their Chairman, General Omar Bradley, to Japan. Here they take the salute prior to one of the largest parades held on The Imperial Palace plaza in Tokyo in which the First Cavalry Division participated. Shown above are, left to right, Major General Hobart R. Gay, First Cavalry Division Commander and commander of troops for the occasion; General Bradley; General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Air Force Chief; General J. Lawton Collins, Army Chief; Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Operations and Lt. General Walton H. Walker, Eighth Army Commander.
The month of March, 1947 found the First Cavalry Division deep in the throes of its intensive training program. The effect of this training was beginning to manifest itself by the greater tendency toward unit training and the application of this training in command post exercises.
For some units, this month saw the culmination of the mobilization training program with tests being conducted by the IX Corps testing team. Units of the division that were tested comprised of the 1st Squadron, 5th Cavalry; 1st Medical Squadron; 603rd Tank Company, 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop; and 3rd Platoon, 6th Special Service Company. The extensive examination, which included both practical and written work, was concluded by a critique in which constructive comments were offered by the test team and General Chase. All tests were held at Camp Drake. The completed units were then scheduled to embark on a thorough and comprehensive range season. Division Artillery had continued its howitzer firing at Camp Weir with the respective Field Artillery Battalions firing weekly.
The number of installations requiring guards by the First Cavalry Division remained relatively constant during the month and by the end of March, the figure stood at 67. A total of 929 reconnaissance and police patrols were active throughout the month.
Outstanding activities during the month included a visit to Camp Drake by Lieutenant General Chu Shih Ming, head of the Chinese mission in Japan and a party of Chinese journalists on March 4. The group was received by General Chase who gave the visitors a detailed account of the division’s activities.
March came to a close with the First Cavalry Division taking on the added mission of organizing survey teams for the purpose of conducting election surveys during the approaching Japanese national elections. These surveys, to be made throughout the First Cavalry Division area of responsibility, would be threefold in effect: the pre-election phase, election phase, and post-election phase. During March, the pre-election phase saw 155 teams active in all 10 division prefectures. It was believed that the results of these surveys would provide substantial information as to the progress of democracy in occupied Japan.
With the advent of April, 1947, First Cavalry Division troopers, now well along in their training and becoming well versed in their occupational assignments, looked well to their rifles, carbines and pistols, because with these weapons, they were to begin the intensive range practice season ordered by Division Commander, Major General William C. Chase. Teammates of the Browning automatic is light and heavy machine gun spoke with authority on the merits of their respective weapons, because after weeks of “dry” runs, they were secluded to demonstrate on the ranges, their prowess in terms of close-packed shot groups, high and coveted marksmanship badges. Former Japanese army ranges at Camp Drake, Camp Wier, Camp Palmer and Camp McGill suddenly came to life and were packed to capacity. Word had already spread, with regard to the All-Japan rifle and pistol matches to be held at 2nd Brigade’s Camp Palmer in the fall, and few troopers believed in their hearts that they could not distinguish themselves in this meet.
Forward scouts of the 16th Reconnaissance Company swing into action against a hidden enemy during the 1949 war games at their Camp Hiratsuka training area.
The young men, boys really, that had only a few short months before, disembarked at Yokohama for assignment to the First Cavalry Division with adventure in their hearts and very little military training under their belts, were just now beginning to show the results of the intensive individual training program during the winter. For many, the dreaded “basic” or Mobilization Training Program was over.
In early April, further word came from IX corps with regard to the Japanese elections. The duties of the division comprised of visiting the poling places to insure fairness, and preventing violations of existing voting laws. Above all, these teams were to be impartial fact finders and exert no influence on either side. These 155 division teams spread out on April 4 in towns, villages and c metropolitan areas. Ninety nine teams were employed in Tokyo alone. After the last election on April 30, team reports showed few major violations. The turnout was good and women were much in evidence to exercise the right of franchise acquired only a year before. Colonel Lester A. Sprinkle, commander of the Kanto military government region, was high in his praise of the troopers who had worked long hours and covered hundreds of miles in pursuit of this important mission.
Armed to the teeth, these scouts of the 16th Reconnaissance Company battle an imaginary enemy on the Camp Chigasaki firing range.
At the port of Uraga, repatriation had slowed down to a mere trickle and 5th Cavalry troopers of the 1st Squadron at Camp Drake continued to guard and transport important war crimes prisoners, suspects and witnesses between Sugamo Prison and the courts at Yokohama.
At the port of Uraga, repatriation had slowed down to a mere trickle and 5th Cavalry troopers of the 1st Squadron at Camp Drake continued to guard and transport important war crimes prisoners, suspects and witnesses between Sugamo Prison and the courts at Yokohama.
May of 1947 began with a two day practice alert and command post exercise in which the entire First Cavalry Division participated. The exercise happened to coincide with the Japanese May Day demonstration which was held at the Imperial Palace Plaza in Tokyo. A crowd of 250,000 demonstrators and onlookers celebrated the day without restriction for the second time since the surrender. The crowd was orderly. Singing, dancing, speeches and marches were the activities of the day.
Occupational duties continued to be of prime importance. Patrols and guard posts continued to take up the time of all division units. The daily patrols in search of hidden military supplies, for surveillance of meetings and for military police purposes continued. Eight hundred and forty-eight patrols were dispatched by all units of the division during May. Guard posts remained relatively stable, while reviews and other military ceremonies were at a minimum. Activity at the repatriation port of Uraga during May was at a standstill for the first time in the occupation’s history. Not one incoming or outgoing ship was processed.
Complete educational facilities are available to First Cavalry Division troopers both on duty and off duty hours. In the picture above, Cavalrymen are attending one of the many off duty classes held in the evening at the Army Education Center, Camp Drake .
To accomplish the ends of training and occupation missions, June of 1947 saw many organizations of the division moved to new locations. Units of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade rotated between Tokyo and Camp Palmer to affect marksmanship training on individual arms. Other movements saw C Troop of the 12th Cavalry replace B Troop, 12th Cavalry at Hiratsuka. Troop G, 8th Cavalry took over duties of Troop F, 8th Cavalry at Fuchu; Battery C, 82nd Field Artillery Battalion supplanted Battery B at Karuizawa and Troop E, 7th Cavalry, attached to 71st Quartermaster for the purpose of accomplishing necessary missions.
The month of June also saw the replacement of the 4th New Zealand Composite Guard Battalion by 2nd Battalion, 5th Royal Ghurka Rifle, units of British Commonwealth Occupational Forces, as part of the Imperial Palace guard in Tokyo. A brilliant show of color and marching was exhibited by the Royal Ghurka Rifles and elements of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade during one of the now famous guard mount ceremonies held at the Imperial Palace Plaza on June 21.
Club Cavalcade’s swimming pool at Camp Drake is a favorite summertime relaxation point for Cavalrymen. Two troopers enjoy themselves at the pool in the company of two attractive Departments of the Army civilian employees. Club Cavalcade can be seen in the background.
On May 31, an airplane crash into the side of a mountain near Hadano, in which 40 persons lost their lives, brought forth a display of resourcefulness from elements of the 1st Cavalry Brigade. B Troop, 12th Cavalry, with the able assistance of L-5 airplanes from Division Artillery, performed excellent work in locating, investigating and evacuating victims of the C-54 accident.
Many ceremonies in the form of reviews and formal inspections marked well the month of June. A review and presentation of troops took place at Camp McGill, home of the 1st Cavalry Brigade, for inspection by General Ryder, IX Corps commander, on June 3. Similar reviews and ceremonies were conducted by Division Artillery and 2nd Cavalry Brigade on the 4th and 5th of June for General Ryder.
June drew to a close with feverish and intensive preparation for the forthcoming outstanding event of the occupation to date, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers Parade on July 4. Plans had been made for a review of representative elements of all military units in Japan by the Supreme Commander, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.
Highlighting the activities of the First Cavalry-Division in early July, was the mammoth Independence Day review and parade in Tokyo. Weeks of planning by division and higher headquarters had gone into this show. More than 15.000 troops were aligned on the Imperial Palace Plaza, comprising, in addition to the First Cavalry Division, elements of the llth Airborne Division, the 24th Infantry Division and the 25th Infantry Division.
Never, since the beginning of the occupation, had Tokyoites seen such a spectacle of armed might, and never was a more colorful body of troops assembled. Beginning on the white graveled Plaza in front of the main gate of the Emperor’s palace where troops were presented by Eighth Army Commander, Robert L. Eichelberger, and the long line formed into a column and marched past the bunting-draped reviewing stand where General of the Army Douglas MacArthur received the honors. With General MacArthur on the reviewing stand, before a backdrop of allied flags, were distinguished members of the Allied Council, representing all countries with missions in Japan.
As the foot troops passed the reviewing stand in solid rank and precise step to the music of the First Cavalry Division Band and the drum and bugle corps of the 5th and 8th Cavalry Regiments, they were joined by the mounted elements of the First Cavalry Division Artillery, with their lumbering howitzers, the 302nd Reconnaissance Troop and 1st and 2nd Brigade Headquarters Troops with their armored cars and a long column of vehicles from GHQ and Service Group. The parade then passed through the downtown district of Tokyo, where crowds of people lined the streets and jammed every vantage point from windows to roof tops along the way. The spectacle was terminated at noon by an impressive 48 gun salute to the union at the Plaza.
New arrivals in the division are given a thorough briefing on available educational facilities by Sergeant William Prussman, a non-commissioned officer of the Camp Drake Army Education Center.
Occupational duties for the month of July consisted of numerous mass meeting surveillances of labor and political groups in Tokyo. This seemed to be a never-ending job for 2nd Cavalry Brigade troopers. No difficulties or violence of any kind were reported. Meetings continued to be orderly and well regulated. On July 18, word came of a threatened riot between rival Korean organizations at Terite, and the 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry was alerted for the threatened emergency. Patrols which were immediately dispatched to the scene reported all quiet in that sector and the alert terminated the evening of the same day without incident.
Occupation assignments, both routine and unscheduled, were definitely on the increase and the training mission of the division was also receiving increased emphasis. Progress in training was becoming more and more evident.
In the 2nd Brigade area, a big project was underway for the construction, administration and operation of the Far East Command Small Arms Tournament and the First Cavalry Division match which would immediately precede it.
By July 31, plans had been laid and action begun on locating World War II dead. This was to become a major operation in coming weeks.
August was a comparatively quiet month, with training and occupational duties progressing as in previous months. Redeployment of troops within the division area was rather extensive, because of rotation of training and guard duties. Emphasis fell upon the Mobilization Training Program during the month, as IX Corps testing teams were due to arrive in September.
The First Cavalry Division small arms tournament was conducted the week of August 25 at Camp Palmer. This was run according to Far East Command rules and conducted as a dry run or rehearsal for the Far East Command matches. The 8th Cavalry team placed first in the rifle shoot with the 12th Cavalry capturing pistol team honors.
The month of September 1947 proved to be one of the most eventful periods in the occupation history of the First Cavalry Division. The division experienced a renewed acceleration in training and ceremonies in addition to the unusual incidents of typhoon and floods which tested its resourcefulness and ability under emergency conditions. These numerous activities, let alone the routine guard, patrol and other necessary occupational missions which were required to be accomplished, set the stage for the beginning of the third year of occupation.
On September 15, the Typhoon “Kathleen” made its debut in the area of Central Japan, bringing with it rains and winds that eventually caused the inundation of parts of the Kanto plain and adjacent areas, including the metropolis of Tokyo itself. The ravage of the storm and its results upon the farms, cities and people will probably never be told, but, sufficient to say that over the prefectures of Gunima, Tokyo, Tochigi, Chiba and Saitama more than 150,000 acres of land were flooded, 200,000 houses inundated, over 100 persons killed, 700 missing and over 400,000 individuals were evacuated from affected areas. Highlighting the rescue and flood relief operations from the very beginning was the untiring efforts of almost all elements of the division in rendering the required aid to allies and Japanese alike. Outstanding in this work was the 8th Engineer Squadron which worked days and nights repairing levees, blasting strategic points, evacuating the homeless and providing technical assistance in the flooded areas.
Routine checks during the regular night patrol of the First Cavalry Division’s 545th Military Police Company includes a visit with a Japanese policeman at his sentry post.
The division bomb disposal teams working in conjunction with the division patrols were able to locate and dispose of a tremendous quantity of bombs and war explosives during September. In addition, patrols located, seized and placed under guard, approximately 30 tons of silver buried in Tokyo, pending removal to the United States vaults in the Bank of Japan. Second Brigade provided guards and patrols for the transportation of about six tons of precious metals from the Bank of Japan to the Osaka Mint.
Notwithstanding the extensive missions and duties listed above, the First Cavalry Division employed some 70 patrol and search teams, composed of officers, enlisted men and interpreters throughout the division area of responsibility in locating the remains of American war dead. These teams traveled to the remote corners of the division’s many prefectures in the accomplishment of the mission.
The last major event of the month was the welcome attachment of the 95th Light Tank Company to the division on September 30 by Eighth Army Headquarters.
October 1947, the second month of the third year of occupation in Japan, found the First Cavalry Division the same in spirit, high morale, and purposeful effort as in the days when occupation duties were new. But few were the soldiers remaining from those first days when the division landed at Yokohama. Redeployment and replacement of personnel had accounted for more than 42,300 officers and men during this period, or a complete turn-over of personnel on the average of at least once each year.
This day room, like all those of the First Cavalry Division, has its pool tables. Three men of Company “A.” 71st Heavy Tank Battalion at Chigasaki muse over a difficult shot.
Again, as in October of 1946, the shortage of personnel had become acute. Long overstrength in men, the division now found that for the first time since December 1946, personnel strength was far below table of organization figures. This personnel shortage was already beginning to be apparent in all phases of the division’s activities during the month. Nevertheless, occupational duties and training continued at an undiminished rate. For reconnaissance, intelligence or military police purposes, 1268 separate patrols were dispatched and guards were maintained on 65 important military or civil installations throughout the assigned area.
The 70 special patrols in search of World War II dead had completed their work by October 31. This alone had been a tremendous task. Thousands of contacts had been made in each of the eight prefectures assigned for search. In Tochigi-ken, 2,870 stops and inquiries had been made. The search also included complete coverage of the islands of O-Shima, Nii-Jima, Miyake-Jima and Kozu-Jima, south of Tokyo Bay. This search of islands turned out to be somewhat hazardous. On October 17, a severe storm sank one of the landing boats used on the job, and seriously damaged a landing craft, tank which was finally able to limp back into Yokohama without loss of a single man. The search of the islands was resumed the following week and completed without further incident.
At month’s end, the First Cavalry Division looked forward with some apprehension to the coming months of necessary training and ever-present occupation duties in view of the impending critical shortage of personnel. Unless replacements were received in greatly increased quantity and of top level quality, the effectiveness of the division would be seriously impaired.
Men of the Eighth Engineer Combat Battalion load barges for river crossings and prepare to move out for a field exercise at the base of Mount Fuji during 1949 fall maneuvers.
November was highlighted by an explosion at the Ikego ammunition dump, a few miles west of Yokosuka in the 1st Cavalry Brigade area. The morning hours of November 17 were disrupted at 9:55 A.M. by the explosion, and fire ran rampant throughout the area surrounding the ammunition warehouses and the adjacent forests. Soldiers and Japanese laborers were hampered in their fire fighting activities by explosions from 105 and 81 millimeter shells as well as all other types of ammunition. Units of the division were alerted for disaster operations after the initial explosion and fire. The 2nd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, actually moved into the area to fight the fire. The commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Brigade made his advance command post at the Ikego dump headquarters. He moved up during the 17th and supervised the action of division units right the scene of most activity. Engineer and medical units were placed on alert status’ at their home: stations to render any assistance called for. During the early morning hours of the 18th, additional fires broke out in the wooded hills surround the ammunition dump. As a result, an engineer troop was dispatched with fire-fighting equipment to help suppress the flames. Casualties were at a minimum, with one army officer and an undetermined number of Japanese workmen injured The burning area was brought under control 1100 hours on November 19. As a result of this conflagration, seven warehouses and 700J pounds of ammunition were destroyed.
The third occupation Christmas and New Year experienced by the First Cavalry Division in Japan was well marked with festivities and celebrations. The unusual efforts of enlisted officer clubs, Red Cross clubs, theaters and unit messes, highlighted by a colorful Christmas pan in Tokyo, did much to enhance the gaiety joyousness of the holiday season for all personnel and to promulgate democracy within the Japan nation.
Although the month of December was well attended by the usual holidays, the numerous tasks involved in the occupation were, of necessity, carried on. The necessary daily and special patrols were sent forth conducting reconnaissance for the purposes of security, intelligence and general military police duties. A total of 1070 patrols, which was a decrease over the previous month, were dispatched during December.
On December 1, one of the most unusual incidents in many months occurred. This commenced with reports of the wreck of a C-47 aircraft in the general area of Mount Fuji. Personnel from the 95th Light Tank Company, with certain others attached, and with the aid of Japanese guides, ascended the mountain under extremely difficult conditions. After many days of surviving the hardships of cold, snow and traveling over extremely hazardous terrain, the party reached the wreckage inside of the crater of Hoeizan, recovered and brought out the bodies of two flyers. This was one of the finest examples of courage, determination and fortitude displayed by personnel serving with the First Cavalry Division.
Since the losses of personnel had been so extensive and replacements so few, training within the division had been reduced to a minimum. The few replacements that had been received were undergoing basic training while other personnel were busy storing the vast amount of equipment that had been rendered surplus. Realizing the urgent need for competent non-commissioned officers and giving thought to possible future needs, the First Cavalry Division, on December 1, 1947 began a leadership course for non-commissioned officers and potential non-commissioned officers at Camp McGill. Before the month ended, the first class graduated and a second course contemplated for January of 1948.
Messages transmitted by a radioman of Company “A,” 71st Heavy Tank Battalion at Chigasaki keeps his command post in constant touch with tankers in the field.
As the new year opened, the third since First Cavalry Division troopers landed at Yokohama in 1945, there were few members of the division who could look back and trace the changes wrought by 30 months occupation in the heart and nerve center of Japan. Changes there were, and many. A highly industrialized nation, geared for war, its subjects imbued with centuries-old fanaticism, steeped in tradition, and stripped of individual rights had been converted in these short months under the guidance of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers and enforced by the strong right arm of the First Cavalry Division into a peaceful nation incapable of waging war, with a framework of government under its new constitution that would make for lasting democracy. A more peaceful, benevolent and successful occupation had never been known.
The First Cavalry Division had not always had easy going in its enforcement task. There were times as in October 1946 when pressed with numerous occupational duties and handicapped by lack of personnel, men were doing double duty to perform necessary assignments. January of 1948 was another month when strength fell so low that it was touch and go to man the patrols, the sentry posts and keep integral units intact. Already, maximum consolidations and redeployment had begun at the old Japanese Merchant Marine School in Tokyo when a few months ago these barracks and those at the Fisheries School, and the Japanese Cavalry School at Camp Palmer had all been filled. The 8th Cavalry, its 1st Squadron all but depleted, had pulled into regimental headquarters at the guard barracks in Tokyo. At Camp McGill, the 12th Cavalry, reduced now to cadre strength, had been relieved of almost all occupational duties. The 5th Cavalry, split between Camp McGill and Camp Drake, had seriously reduced ranks. Division Artillery had concentrated what was left of all its battalions at Camp Drew, Koizumi. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Division Artillery, had moved from Camp Ojima to Camp Drew on January 28.
Training reached a bare minimum during the month but included the essential Troop Information Program and physical conditioning exercises for all members plus intensive basic training for new replacements. These minimum requirements were met in spite of personnel shortages in all ranks in order to perform necessary occupational assignments and carry out other essential military functions of safeguard and custody.
February 1948 saw the First Team open the thirty first month of occupation duty with a moving ceremony at Camp Drake, home of the division headquarters. All elements of the division gathered to celebrate the third anniversary of the liberation of Manila on February 3, 1945 in which the leading elements of the Team fought their way into that beleaguered city to set free the long suffering prisoners. A few civilian alumni of the long wait and the liberation were present, seated on the reviewing stand with the Division Commander, Major General William C. Chase. The Honorable Ruperto Kangleon, Philippine Secretary of National Defense, presented decorations for heroic achievement to 12 members of the division.
On February 1, the division was relieved of its occupational responsibility for Niigata Prefecture by the llth Airborne Division, thus temporarily reducing the division zone of occupation to nine prefectures.
Soldiers of the division attend Sunday worship in one of the many chapel! located at the main and satellite camps Above, men of Camp Drake join in hymn at the post chapel.
The painful process of readjustment to the reduced manning levels was nearly complete with the departure of February’s returnees. It appeared that the enlisted strength would be established at about 4000 men. However, the prospect of a greatly increased loss of officers during the ensuing four months was indicated by Department of the Army directives affecting reserve officers and permanent enlisted warrants. A recruiting team was dispatched to the United States to remain on tour for at least 120 days.
During the month, the division accomplished three missions of special trust when it seized, and transported under guard, 1022.84 carats of diamonds from one installation in Tokyo to vaults at the Bank of Japan. Various explosives were located and destroyed in the division area. Two unexploded bombs were found in Ibaraki Prefecture, a sea mine was washed ashore in Chiba Prefecture and four Japanese fire bombs were discovered in Yamada. A few small caches of old Japanese ammunition were uncovered and destroyed in scattered locations.
March of .1948 ushered in an effort to attain top preparedness with the accent on school training for key officer and non-commissioned officer personnel. A total of 41 officers successfully completed the command and staff course at the airborne training center conducted by the llth Airborne Division, and six officers and 37 enlisted men completed the “cadre” course the following week. In accordance with IX Corps directives, the division compiled a training directive designed to establish three schools within division posts for the completion of Phase III instruction in air transportability for all troops. General and specialist instruction of such personnel as were available after occupation duties was continued as well as current on the job training.
During March, the division maintained constant guard on 21 important installations within its zone of responsibility. This figure did not include the routine daily interior guard on unit supply dumps, property and housing or the evacuated billets at four camps formerly occupied by division units. The number of military police and occupational patrols continued to increase as the personnel of the combat units decreased. A total of 1010 such patrols were completed during March. Thirty one meetings were recorded during March of Communist organizations, and ten meetings of Koreans. Seventy two Japanese nationals were arrested for the illegal possession of occupation forces property. An incident was reported of the assault of a member of the occupation forces by a Japanese national, and a large amount of leftist and union activity was noted.
Along with the proverbial showers, the month of April 1948 brought forth spasmodic rallies and demonstrations by Japan’s populace. These activities started off with mass labor demonstrations in Tokyo on April 1 and concluded the month on April 30 with a grand finale of Japanese May Day activities. If the aforementioned activities accomplished nothing else, they did result in getting all First Cavalry troopers into the field and intimately connected their tactical assignments with the necessary surveillance of these demonstrations. Thanks to the efficiency, prior training and planning of the First Cavalry Division, no acts of violence or sabotage were committed by the demonstrators in the First Cavalry Division zone of responsibility.
Machine gunners of the 7th Cavalry Regiment receive orders via field telephone go into action during a Ninth Corps combat effectiveness test on the lava-strewn of Mount Fuji in the fall of 1949.
In addition to the added duty of surveillance of demonstrations, the First Cavalry Division found its lot to be that of providing 12 food surveillance teams and nine teams for the surveillance of Japanese Tax Administration to 10 prefectures and I Corps. Also included in the division’s assignment was the duty of maintaining 21 guard posts in the assigned area of responsibility.
The month of April came to a close in a flurry of activity brought about by the Command Post Exercise conducted in preparation for May Day, the Korean elections scheduled 10 days later, and possible subversive activity which might result. All echelons of the command were called into play. Operational patrols were dispatched by air and ground to cover expected areas of activity and Communist concentration. These patrols funneled information on through command channels to division headquarters using all means of communication, namely, wire and telephone, police command circuits, radio command, air ground and liaison nets. Through these networks and command nets to IX Corps and 8th Army, a running account and close tab on all activities was made available to the higher commanders intimately concerned.
Young soldiers of the 8th Cavalry Regiment train in the use of a modern infantry weapon in the maneuver area of Camp McNair, located on the foothills of famed Mount Fuji.
On May 1, the entire First Cavalry Division found itself on an alert status in preparation for any outbreak of violence that might occur as a result of May Day festivities and Korean elections. The alert status remained in effect from May 1-12 with surveillance patrols in all areas of responsibility, which could very well account for the fact that no outbreaks of a subversive nature occurred in the First Cavalry Division area.
The strength of the division continued to be a matter of grave concern however, for the number of replacements only exceeded total losses for May by 86 men. Officer strength continued to drop during the month with a net loss of 20 officers and warrant officers, increasing the already critical officer shortage. A ray of hope came from the division’s recruiting team in the Zone of Interior, indicating that a total of 3,384 men enlisted for the First Cavalry Division during the period March 15 to May 7, 1948.
In June, the division experienced a net gain of 271 enlisted men which gave rise to a renewed feeling of optimism regarding the future of tactical training. The physical result of this small gain in personnel was to make available a total of nearly two troops daily from the entire division for training. This was double the number available during the previous four months, and it had an excellent effect upon the morale of troops heavily overburdened with occupation, guard, surveillance and housekeeping duties.
The training picture in the division brightened to some small extent in June because of the slight increase in manpower. With two troops available daily, it was possible to conduct training in the cadre phase of air
The general overall operations for the First Cavalry Division during the month of July were accelerated somewhat, because of an influx of replacements, exceeding losses by 713 men. The month’s mission centered around testing these replacements, orienting them and instituting training programs which would best expedite their becoming First Cavalry Division troopers of the caliber which the division demanded. Coupled with the division’s replacement program, plans were put into effect for all units to undergo field exercises and maneuvers at Camp McNair. the division’s maneuver area, for a minimum of two weeks.
While a forward radioman calls for additional help, members of the scout patrol give initial assault on an enemy position during field problems of the 16th Reconnaissance Company.
The operations of the division during the month of August 1948, began to take on the proportions of full scale training for the first time :a many months. The arrival of a substantial number of replacements during the two previous months made the establishment of brigade and division artillery training programs the chief activity of all units. The new men received intensive indoctrination in the occupational duties of the division as well as a refresher in all basic training” subjects.
August also saw a slight increase over the normal amount of occupational duties. A strike at the Toho motion picture studio in Tokyo threatened law and order until the arrival of 2nd Cavalry Brigade troops supported by elements of the 302nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop and the 95th Light Tank Company. The mere presence: of the troops, whose mission was to protect allied lives and property and to exercise surveillance of the strike, was sufficient to maintain order.
During the month, command inspections were held for all units of the division, with emphasis being placed on the replacement housekeeping and training situations.
During the month of September, the First Cavalry Division hit its stride with full scale training and a full agenda of occupation missions for all units. Continued arrival of a substantial number of replacements, which exceeded losses by 720 enlisted men for the month, enabled the division to return several troops to an active status.
Coupled with replacement refresher training and continuous emphasis on field training and combat firing, all units participated in a command post exercise on the 9th and 10th of September, during which, all headquarters down to include active regimental and squadron headquarters, moved into the field.
Dignitaries and guests honored by the division during the month included participation in a welcoming ceremony for Lieutenant General Walton H. Walter, who replaced Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger as commander of the Eighth United States Army, on September 15.
On October 19, Brigadier General W. B. Bradford assumed command of the division during the temporary absence of Major General William C. Chase, who departed for the Zone of Interior on emergency leave. Other command post changes saw Major Hal D. Steward, combat veteran of the division, returned to replace Captain S. A. Freedman as division public information officer.
Emphasis continued on fire prevention and control with demonstrations and lectures on this subject being conducted throughout the division. Coupled with career management and Military Occupational Specialty training, the division intensified its drive for United States Armed Forces Institute enrollments and stressed the Army Education Program in all units.
In November of 1948, the division found itself embroiled in a beehive of activity, contributed to in a large extent by the arrival of 1335 enlisted men replacements and 40 officers.
The month’s mission, in addition to the ever-present occupation mission, was centered primarily around processing and training replacements. Concurrent with replacement training, emphasis was placed on cadre and specialist training and the attendant problems of logistical and administrative supporting functions.
A lineman of the 13th Signal Company searches out a faulty line in the intricate telephone system composed of American and Japanese equipment connecting camps of the division.
Major command changes during the month included Major General William C. Chase’s re-assumption of the division command on November 18, after his return from the Zone of Interior on emergency leave, and naming of Colonel Raymond D. Palmer as commanding officer of the 12th Cavalry Regiment.
Ceremonies during the month were confined to one post review at Camp Drake in honor of General Chase’s return, and an honor guard ceremony conducted at Camp Drake on November 26 for the Honorable Bernabe Africa, chief of the Philippine Mission in Japan. On November 23, the 8th Cavalry Regiment conducted Organization Day ceremonies.
The First Cavalry Division embarked on the month of December in a whirlwind of activity that carried throughout the month. The biggest influx of replacements to date made their appearance on the local scene with a total of 2880 enlisted replacements and 104 officers. Adding to the multitude of new faces already present in the division, the new replacements broadened the possibility for meeting existing training requirements. However, despite the replacement influx, there still remained shortage of good non-commissioned officers for quad leaders and company grade line officers.
All ranks looked forward to the New Year with anticipation to bringing the division up to the standards of combat efficiency and morale for which it stands.
The momentum of activity of the old year continued on into the new year as the First Cavalry Division launched into its first busy month of 1949. The number of replacements that arrived during the month totaled 2494 enlisted men and 3 officers. The month’s officer and enlisted replacements totaled an approximate 70 per cent influx of new personnel over that of the previous six months. During the month, the First Cavalry Division received word that General Chase would be returned to the United States by order of the Department of Army, for duty with the Third United States Army. Also scheduled to return to the Zone of Interior was Lieutenant Colonel /William F. Damon Jr, the assistant chief of staff G-2. Colonel Damon was succeeded by Lieutenant Colonel John J. Beiser.
Mobilization Training Program tests were inducted for the 271st Field Artillery Battalion at Camp Drew on January 6 and 7. This constituted the first such official testing for the division.
Giant prime movers of Company “A,” 71st Heavy Tank Battalion carried M-24 tanks from Camp Chigasaki to the maneuver area at Yoshida in the first overland tank march in the history of the Japanese occupation.
The division’s mission remained as in months past, that of processing and training replacements, cadre and specialist training, and providing occupation administrative and logistical support.
During the month of January the division furnished a total of 82 election surveillance teams in supervision of the Japanese election of House of Representatives and Supreme Court members. This election surveillance covered a four day period. The division continued to provide military government assistance in the way of teams for supervision of tax administration and to curtail the black marketing of food. Twenty guard posts were maintained in the assigned areas of responsibility. Military police patrols continued at the same pace as the previous month, with an average of 325 military police and reconnaissance patrols. A total of 323 operational flights of liaison aircraft were recorded during this period.
The important news of February 1949 was the change in command of the division, with Major General John M. Devine assuming command from Major General William C. Chase, who had commanded the First Cavalry Division during all of its occupation duty in Japan and had served with the division during World War II. Along with the new commanding general, the division received a total of 1061 enlisted men and 61 officers during the month. The strength of the division continued to mount, because of the influx of additional men who enlisted in the States for duty with the First Cavalry Division. The strength totaled just under 15,000.’
The division G-3 section continued to administer Mobilization Training Program tests upon completion of unit basic training cycles. Those units that completed their Phase I program and testing were launched into Phase II unit training.
The month of February proved to be a busy one in the observance of special events. The division celebrated February 3 as “Manila Day” in commemoration of the “Flying Column’s” dash into Manila. A division review scheduled for the same day, in observance of “Manila Day” was actually held on the 2nd, in honor of Secretary of the Army Royall, on the Imperial Palace Plaza in Tokyo. Secretary Royall visited Camp Drake and Camp McGill while touring Japan. On February 11, a colorful review was staged at Herron Field, Camp Drake, in honor of the departing Commanding General, William C. Chase, with all units at Camp Drake participating and token units representing the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades and Division Artillery. General Devine was on the reviewing stand with General Chase. On February 12, an honor guard ceremony was held for General Chase as he left. The new commanding general was officially welcomed into the division on the 14th with an honor guard ceremony.
Named in honor of General Jonathan Wainwright, one time brigade commander in the division, the Camp Drake officers’ club took on a new dress with the mid-February 1950 snow.
Named in honor of Captain William C. Cornelius, killed in the division’s campaign in the Admiralties, the field house at Camp Drake serves as a sport center for the command post. It is also the scene of many division-final indoor sports events
March 1949 saw the First Cavalry Division write finis to the square division, as it was retitled First Cavalry Division (Infantry), and organized as a regular, triangular infantry division.
Individual brigade ceremonies marked the change in organization. Elsewhere in the division the change-over was marked by diligent work on the part of all to adjust to the new status. The 12th Cavalry Regiment became inoperative and most of its members were transferred to the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division. A cadre of 400 enlisted men was furnished to the 24th Infantry Division during the month. This reduced the division strength close to its authorization of 11,496 enlisted men, 44 warrant officers and 692 officers.
During April 1949, all units of the division continued their training programs in Phase I and Phase II. Tokyo Metropolitan Area Headquarters took over responsibility for Mobilization Training Program test administration and gave tests to one battalion of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and to the entire 8th Cavalry Regiment. In addition, plans were made by division units for total participation in summer training maneuvers at Camp McNair, the division maneuver area located on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
A levy of 3400 soldiers against the First Cavalry Division was made in the fulfillment of Eighth Army plans to redistribute personnel losses throughout the theater. Although it was obvious that the reduction in strength would be simultaneous with a lowering in efficiency, the condition was to be temporary in nature, with the first of 3000 replacements due to arrive in May.
A fine piece of Japanese handiwork is inspected by a trooper of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment prior to purchase in one of the many shops along Tokyo’s famous Ginza Street. Souvenir hunting is one of the most popular pastimes for occupation personnel
Additional highlights for the month of April included the appointment of Brigadier General Thomas W. Herren as assistant division commander on April 5, and a three day division command post exercise on April 29. May 1949 saw all units of the division engaged in Phase I and II of the Mobilization Training Program. The 8th Cavalry Regiment moved to Camp McNair, advance elements arriving on May 19, 1949, and the remainder on May 21, 1949, where they engaged in conducting Phase II of the Mobilization Training Program, consisting of range firing, combat problems and field exercises. Colonel George A. Millener was designated to assume responsibility for the operation and administration of Camp McNair.
On May 28 at Camp McGill, the 5th Cavalry Regiment observed its organization day and was presented the Presidential Unit Citation by Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, commanding general, Eighth Army.
During the month, a weekly Troop Information Hour was established for the officers of the division headquarters and Camp Drake units. On May 11, Lieutenant Colonel Edward R. Ott, General Headquarters administrative and fiscal officer, and former history professor at Louisiana State University, spoke to the group on the situation in China. It was planned that future hours would comprise of guest speakers, division G-2 briefings on world events and would be utilized as commander’s hours to discuss military matters of significance to the officers assigned to division headquarters and units.
The Officer’s Call program was also instituted during May and, at division headquarters, was conducted by the Division Chief of Staff, Colonel Wayland B. Augur.
A front view of the 15th Medical Battalion’s dispensary at Camp Drake where all troops from First Cavalry Division headquarters and dependents from nearby Momote Village receive medical aid. The dispensary along with a small but adequate hospital in the rear, is operated by approximately 240 skilled medical men and officers.
The month of June saw three new regimental commanders assigned in the division. Colonel George A. Millener assumed command of the 7th Cavalry Regiment from Colonel Charles R. Chase, upon the latter officer’s reassignment to the States. Colonel Raymond D. Palmer took command of the 8th Cavalry Regiment from Colonel Alex B. MacNabb, and Colonel Carl J. Rohsenbeger replaced Colonel Gordon B. Rogers as commander of the 5th Cavalry Regiment. At division headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Dilley relieved Lieutenant Colonel William L. Nash, division G-3, who also returned to the Zone of Interior for reassignment.
In the line of operations, 900 military police and 105 general intelligence and security patrols were made while the Division Artillery Air Section registered 240 operational flights with their light aircraft, which was expanded to include two L-17, fourplace aircraft.
The strength of the division at the end of July 1949 totaled 11,038 enlisted men and officers. Progress was noted although an understrength condition was still in effect.
July also witnessed the continued training in Phase I and II of the Mobilization Training Program and the assignment of Lieutenant Colonel Marvin C. Ellison to the post of G-4, vice Lieutenant Colonel William H. Bedford, Jr. During the month, 921 military police patrols were made, 127 general intelligence and security patrols were accomplished and the Division Artillery Air Section registered 491 operational flights.
The post exchange and commissary building at First Cavalry Division Headquarters supplies all cavalry soldiers and dependents in the Camp Drake area. Featuring a snack bar, souvenir shop, household department and beauty parlor along with essential post exchange facilities, the store is the largest in the First Cavalry Division.
Honor in athletic competition fell upon Camp Drake during July when the division swimming and diving championship meet was held at Meiji Park pool on July 20, with Camp Drake winning the event.
In August, preparations for the Far East Command Small Arms Tournament received priority from all service elements at Camp Drake. The mission of enlarging the ranges at Camp Drake, assigned to the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, was being attacked with speed and efficiency. Personnel from tactical elements within the division were being trained to function in all capacities as range officials and other personnel necessary for the efficient
Brigadier General Henry I. Hodes assumed command of the division upon the departure of Major General John M. Devine to the Zone of Interior on August 8. Major General Leland S. Hobbs, commanding general, IX Corps, inspected the First Cavalry Division installations during the month and on August 11, Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, commanding general, Eighth Army, inspected training at Camp McNair.
Modern education equivalent to that in stateside institutions is taught at the First Cavalry Division Artillery grade school at Camp Drew, Ota, Japan. Experienced teachers from the United States, up-to-date educational facilities and an adequate recreational program is featured by the school for dependent children in the Camp Drew area.
One of the most used Special Services facilities is the Camp Drake Theater. Formerly an auditorium for Japanese troops, the modern building can accommodate 1839 cavalrymen and their dependents at the nightly showing.
The division continued to carry out the dual mission of occupation while emphasizing the training mission. Liaison detachments within the division zone of responsibility were withdrawn during the month. However, the division continued to maintain occupational guard detachments at the Bank of Japan, Civil Property Custodian warehouse, Tokyo Quartermaster Depot and to escort war criminals from Sugamo Prison to Eighth Army Headquarters for trial. More and more, the emphasis fell upon training and an effort to increase combat effectiveness.
The month of September, 1949, saw Major General Hobart R. Gay take command of the First Cavalry Division. Assuming command on September 24th from Brigadier General Henry I. Hodes, who resumed his duties as assistant division commander, General Gay’s new assignment marked his return to the same branch in which he began his military career, dating back to August 15th, 1917, when he was appointed a second lieutenant, Cavalry Reserve.
The division continued training in Phase I and II while squad and platoon tests were administered to the 5th Cavalry Regiment which was on a training mission at Camp McNair.
During the month, the Far East Command Small Arms Tournament was conducted at Camp Drake. Personnel from First Cavalry Division units functioned in all capacities for efficient operation of the tournament. The division won first place honors in the pistol shoot.
Light reconnaissance aircraft of the First Cavalry Division’s “airforce” rest on the flight line in front of this huge hanger at the Camp Drew Air Field. Planes of this type are used for artillery gunfire control, reconnaissance patrols, and emergency evacuation work.
In October 1949, the division continued training in Phase I and II. Phase I Mobilization Training Program tests’ were administered to all major units in the division. IX Corps battalion tests were given to the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 5th Cavalry Regiment in both attack and defense phases. Results of tests were satisfactory. The Heavy Mortar Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment moved to Camp McNair on October 22 for company tests. The 7th Cavalry Regiment concentrated upon individual small arms qualification firing at Camp Palmer and Camp Drake. The 8th Cavalry Regiment continued small arms qualification firing and concentrated on small unit problems in the vicinity of Camp Palmer. This regiment moved to the Camp McNair maneuver area during the last week of the month to participate in field exercises and to complete platoon and battalion tests.
Occupational duties had diminished to a point where the only occupation mission requiring the employment of units of company size was that of guarding the Tokyo Quartermaster Depot, a responsibility of the 5th Cavalry Regiment.
A total of 344 flights were recorded by the division air liaison section during the month, and tragedy stalked the air section when Major Clarence J. Bayne, division air officer, was killed in an operational flight on October 9.
The division public information office conducted the yearly Army Emergency Relief Fund Drive, netting 12,100 dollars in contributions from all members of the division.
The Army commissary store at Camp Drew has well supplied shelves for the shopping convenience of artillerymen with dependents and Department of the Army workers who live at this post. Camp Drew is artillery headquarters for the First Cavalry Division.
During November, training activity continued progressively, as in previous months. A total of 622 Military Police patrols were dispatched, and word was received that the division guard at the Tokyo Quartermaster Depot would be discontinued on December 1.
Extra-curricular troop activities for the month included the finals in the division boxing tournament, which was held at the Cornelius Field House, Camp Drake on November 29. The commanding general personally presented awards to the champions and runners-up before an enthusiastic audience of occupation personnel. All units of the division had participated and fight cards had been staged at Camps McGill, Drew and Drake. The inter-division football schedule was also completed, with the 8th Cavalry Regiment team winning the championship laurels with an undefeated season.
Plans for helping deserving indigenous children to a greater appreciation of the Christmas season were well under way with the contemplated entertaining of some 10,000 Japanese school children between the age of six and 10 at seven different locations throughout the division. Funds were collected in the form of voluntary contributions from all military personnel of the division to purchase small gifts for distributions among the children.
With the establishment of the replacement company at Camp Drake, it became possible to operate a more efficient basic education training program for the division. As the replacements were processed, those whose records indicated that basic education was required were sent to the Camp Drake Education Center to be tested. Those men who failed to pass the test were held in the replacement company and sent to the Army Education Center for class instruction until they were either able to meet army requirements or be recommended for discharge.
Army Service Club #34 at First Calvary Division Artillery headquarters entertains approximately 8,000 artillerymen monthly. Featuring a game room, record bar, billiard room, snack bar and reading hall, the club is the largest of the three recreation centers of its type in the Camp Drew area.
The personnel strength of the First Cavalry Division remained close to the authorized figure during the month of December 1949. Training within the division was directed towards completing the Phase I qualification of all newly arrived personnel. It was also directed toward those who joined the division during the summer and fall, and went directly to Camp McNair to join their units for field training. Included on the training agenda for the month was the qualification of individuals in Phase II where their advanced state of training permitted.
On December 3rd, Major General Hobart R. Gay, the division commander, attended graduation exercises of the first class of enlisted men to complete the division’s Non-Commissioned Officers’ Leadership School held at Camp McGill. Forty-one students were presented with certificates of completion by the general. Three days later, on December 6th, Lieutenant General Edward H. Brooks, Department of Army’s Chief of Personnel and Administration, inspected Camp McGill and the 5th Cavalry Regiment, accompanied on his tour by General Gay and General Hodes. On December 14, General Brooks traveled north to inspect the Division Artillery.
Further accent on combat-effectiveness and training, as opposed to occupational duties, was quietly marked on December 15, when the division was relieved of the guard responsibility for the Bank of Japan. This relief and the discontinuance of the Tokyo Quartermaster Depot guard, affected on December 1, released three companies for training duties.
Men of the Division Artillery Battalions are proud of their Post Chapel at Camp Drew. Like many similar places of warship at the various camps of units of the First Cavalry Division, this chapel is warmly inviting to those who attend daily and Sunday church services.
The 8th Engineer Combat Battalion remained at Camp McNair, on the slopes of Mount Fuji, in spite of the late seasonal difficulties of training at high altitudes during winter. They completed their scheduled work and left for Camp Drake on December 18. On December 15, 16, and 17, a division command post exercise was held, during which a battalion size combat team of the 5th Cavalry Regiment and a battery of artillery was moved on a 12 hour notice. Division forward set up a field command post near Camp Drake and then moved 17 miles to Murayama for the later phase. Division rear also moved out into the field for a part in the exercise, while the Judge Advocate’s Section added oddity to the maneuver when they conducted a scheduled General Courts Martial in the field.
The end of December and the year 1949 showed a marked change in the division. Combat efficiency had risen sharply over that of the previous year, and the huge training program conducted by the division was netting the desired result. By the last day of 1949, it was quite apparent that occupational duties had fallen into the category of “in addition to your other duties” for the First Cavalry Division, as the general plans for 1950 called for an ever-increasing degree of combat effectiveness – the keynote of the First Team’s future.
* * * * * * * * * *
This concludes the text portion of the Diary. Twenty photographs remain and will be published in the next updates.
Headquarters personnel at the 5th Cavalry Regiment carry out their duties at the regimental headquarters building at Camp McGill. The offices in the building offer ample space and are equipped with up-to-date office facilities.
Two members of the division’s 545th Military Police Company stop while on patrol to give aid to a stranded motorist. Such problems frequently arise for First Cavaly Division patrolmen who maintain order in and about the Tokya area.
The recently opened NCO club at North Camp Drake is the best word in comfort and design. Membership is open to all first three pay-graders of the First Cavalry Division and affords an ideal place to wile away off-duty hours.
Solemn services and other religious functions are held weekly at the Camp McGill Chapel for members of the 5th Cavalry Regiment and their dependents.
Troops of the 5th Cavalry Regiment at Camp McGill receive scheduled entertainment daily at Army Service Club #33. Operated by skilled service club hostesses, the “Saddle Club” is complete with a snack bar, billiard parlor, reading room and lounge.
The post exchange at Camp McGill, another branch of the division exchange, services all 5th Calvarymen and their dependents in the Camp McGill area.
A view of the West entrance to Camp Drake, headquarters for the First Cavalry Division in Asaka, Japan. A member of the 545th Military Police Company stands ready to check the credentials of all visitors to the post, one of the largest in central Japan.
Huntsmen of the First Cavalry Division are hoping for a bag as this shot was snapped. Hunting in Japan has become a favorite sport among the occupationaires who have found that wild game abound in nearly every section of the country.
A Japanese interurban train is shown at the loading ramp at Asaka, Japan. Camp Drake, headquarters of the First Cavalry Division, is located at Asaka and troops stationed at this post use these fast trains for off-duty jaunts to the Tokyo metropolitan area.
This view of the Division Race Track’s home stretch also includes the jump hurdles inside the oval. Every year horse shows are presented by the Division Hunt Club in addition to horse races complete with pari-mutual betting facilities.
An Artillery Policeman stands guard at the entrance to Camp Drew, home of the First Cavalry Division’s field artillery. The camp, a former Japanese aircraft plant, still bares evidence of the wrath of allied bombing during the last war.
A fleet of busses similar to the one pictured above link together Camp Drake and metropolitan Tokyo. Operated and owned by Japanese Nationals, cavalrymen pay fares in Yen for the 50-minute trip into town.
A view of the main entrance to Camp McGill, home of the First Cavalry Division’s 5th Cavalry Regiment. The post, which is located 20 miles south of Yokohama, was formerly a Japanese Navy and Marine training center.
The tanks of Company “A” 71st Heavy Tank Battalion take the long trail to Mount Fuji from their camp at Chigasaki to participate in division field exercises.
This impressive building housing Division Artillery Headquarters of the First Cavalry Division at Camp Drew was a former Japanese aircraft factory.
Elements of the 16th Reconnaissance Company, First Cavalry Division, move out from their camp at Hiratsuka, Japan for a field problem at Sugama Beach. Formerly based at Camp Drake, the unit is the “eyes” of the division on all tactical maneuvers.
Counterpart to the American taxicab is the Japanese rickshaw. Powered by foot these vehicles constitute one of the most popular modes of transportation in metropolitan areas. Shown above, a cavalryman and his wife go sight-seeing in Tokyo.
Answering the needs for spiritual guidance and religious worship is the Division Chapel located at Camp Drake.
We hope you have enjoyed the “Diary” as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you
Honor and Courage
Historian – Carl Moreland
Webmaster – “Whitey” Reese