The United States Constabulary Squadrons

When World War II in Europe ended in 1945,
the U.S. Army was faced with the difficult task of providing an occupational force to enforce military government in Germany, while the American public was clamoring for the quick demobilization of the armed forces now that hostilities had ended.  A large traditional occupation force was out of the question; the solution arrived at which was to become the United States Constabulary, an elite mechanized police force which possessed a significant combat capability.  The Constabulary became operational on July 1, 1946 and the command was active until 1950, with some individual Constabulary units remaining active until the end of 1952.
Troopers were selected for their military efficiency, intelligence and exemplary conduct, and the Constabulary maintained those standards in obtaining replacements for personnel who departed the organization through discharge and reassignment.
The backbone of the Constabulary was the Squadron.  As initially organized, each squadron was authorized a headquarters, three mechanized troops and two motorized troops.  The mechanized troops were designed to conduct mounted patrols and were equipped with M-8 Armored Cars and 1/4 ton Jeeps with or without mounted.30 caliber machine guns.  The motorized troops had a limited amount of transport and were used to conduct dismounted patrols in urban areas and to man static positions.  Another operation of the Mounted Platoons was the colorful Horse Platoon.  This was believed to be the only mounted group in the U.S. Army and was a feature of numerous military ceremonies since its activation on 1 October, 1945.  Mounted platoons each had a complement of thirty horses.  The Horse Platoon became part of the 16th Constabulary Squadron {Separate} on 1 May, 1946 the day the 16th Squadron was activated, in the reception of Lt. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, Deputy U.S. Military Governor.
Lt. Col. Samuel McClure Goodwin assumed command of the 16th Constabulary Squadron {Separate} on the day of the squadron's activation.  Major Owen E. Woodruff was the squadron's Executive Officer. Maj. Gen. Frank A. Keating, Commanding General, Berlin District, presented the squadron with the National Standard on 6 May, 1946 at Patton Barracks, Lankwitz, , Germany.  However, as there was, already a Patton Barracks, the squadron's billets at Lankwitz was changed to Oliver Barracks.
On 25 April, 1947, Lt. Col. Goodwin relinquished command of the squadron to Lt. Col. George C. Benjamin.
The squadrons were assigned to the Constabulary Regiments, on a basis of three per regiment.  Nine Constabulary Regiments were stationed in Germany and comprised the U.S. Zone Constabulary.  These regiments were organized into three Constabulary Brigades which reported directly to Constabulary Headquarters.  A separate regiment, the 4th, was headquartered in Austria and had its subordinate units in Austria and West Berlin.  In addition to the thirty 'line' squadrons in the ten regiments, two special squadrons existed and were assigned to the Constabulary Signal Squadron was created by the redesignation and conversion of various mechanized units on occupation duty in Europe.  Most of the 1st and 4th Armored Divisions became Constabulary units, along with elements of the seven mechanized cavalry groups and various other armored, tank destroyer and self-propelled anti-aircraft units in Europe.
Technically, these squadrons were attached and not assigned to the Cavalry Groups; however, they served with their parent group throughout the campaign in Europe.  Note that for the majority of the cavalry squadrons, official sources disagree as to whether they were designated "Mecz"  before their redesignation as Constabulary Squadrons.
The United States Zone Constabulary began a one month test period on 1 June, 1946, and became fully operational on 1 July.  The Constabulary units in Austria and Berlin, also became operational at about the same time.
The biggest problem faced by the Constabulary were the shortage of personnel and the high rate of turnover.  By early 1947, the personnel shortage had forced a reorganization which included a deactivation of one "line" troop per Constabulary Squadron.  In the Spring of 1947, the european Theater experience a troop cut and, as a result, the Constabulary was greatly affected by the reorganization, which began on 1 July, 1947.  In addition, within the squadrons, all motorized troops were eliminated and each squadron reorganized to consist of a headquarters and headquarters troop and four mechanized troops.  When the reorganization was complete, eleven o the thirty-two Constabulary Squadrons had been eliminated.
On 15 August, 1947, Lt. Col. Benjamin relinquished command of the squadron to Lt. Col. Robert C. Works.  During 1947, the 16th Squadron operated the Autobahn Patrols on the International Autobahn which lead through the Russian one of occupation.  The Nahmitz Outpost on the Autobahn was operated by the 16th Squadron as well as a tour of guard duty at Spandau Prison.
On 12 January, 1948, the Squadron Colors wee presented at a squadron parade by Col. Robert A. Willard, Commanding Officer, Berlin Command.  Sixteen months later, Col. Willard became the fourth squadron commander.
On 10- February, 1948, the 16th Squadron was reorganized and redesigned as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Service Troop and A, B, C, and D Troops were formed.  As a result of reorganization, E Troop was lost from the squadron.
On 16 June, 1948, the "Iron Curtain" reached out and closed Berlin to the outside world by blocking the city, leaving it with the threat of communism.  Considering the terrible hardship in a city desperately short of life essentials; food, clothing, housing, and fuel, and considering the depletion of American forces, the officers and men of the 16th Squadron still performed their duties efficiently and exceeding well as security troops.  It was then when the Berlin Airlift was formed and progressed to become one of the most successful events in America's strive for freedom throughout the world.  The 16th  Constabulary Squadron [Separate] assumed a special commitment in the airlift for blockaded Berlin.  This commitment required three hundred and twelve enlisted men and twelve officers every forty-eight hours.  This duty was rotated every month with the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment.  By December, 1948, the officers' duty was decreased to six due to the efficiency and supervisory capacity demonstrated by the non-commissioned officers of the squadron.
In 1948, the final, major, reorganization of the Constabulary took place.  Up to this point, the Constabulary had been strictly an internal security force.   However, by early 1948, it was becoming obvious that the U.S. S. R. posed a threat to the West and , to reflect this, the role of the Constabulary troops began to change.  In April, 1948, the Constabulary troops began to reorganize as tactical units equipped with M-8, the 2nd, 6th, and 14th Constabulary Regiments began to reorganize as Armored Cavalry Regiments [ACR's]/  By the end of 1948 this reorganization was complete; the three ACR's were assigned to the Constabulary and provided the majority of its combat power.  The ACR's were responsible for guarding the border a providing a mobile reserve while the few Constabulary Squadrons left continued the mission of  internal security.  There is some doubt as to whether the 53rd. Sqdn. was still active as of 3 January, 1949, although it is listed that way in official sources.
On 1 February, 1949, the 16th Constabulary Squadron [Separate] was relieved from assignment to the 4th Constabulary Regiment and assigned to berlin Military Post.
On the Spring of 1949, the 4th Constabulary Regiment was deactivated and its 4th Squadron was redesigned as a reconnaissance unit.  The 22nd and 53rd Squadrons had, already, been deactivated, while the 15th Constabulary Squadrons, which had been deactivated earlier, was reactivated.   On 1 July, 1949, three years after the Constabulary had become fully operational, the command consisted of two brigade headquarters, three ACR's, a Field Artillery Group, several combat engineer, ordnance, transportation, etc., units, and only four Constabulary Squadrons.  All of these units were assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Constabulary.  The Headquarters, United States Constabulary was deactivated in November, 1950 and provided personnel for the newly activated Headquarters, U.S. Seventh Army.
On 10 November, 1950, Maj. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, U.S. Commander of Berlin, Col. Maurice W. Daniel, Commanding Officer, Berlin Military Post, and Lt. Col. Charlie Y. Talbott, the fifth and last Commanding Officer, 16th Constabulary Squadron [Separate], passed the colors while trooping the line as the 16th Squadron held its last parade at McNair Barracks.  Although the 16th Squadron was deactivated that year to become the 1st Battalion of the newly formed 6th Infantry Regiment, it will long be remembered throughout the Berlin community as the fines unit in that city.
With this reorganization, the U.S. Army in Europe concluded its period as an occupational force an reoriented itself as a defensive army protecting  its sector of West Germany.  However, the requirement for Constabulary units still remained; the last of two soldiered on for two years after the deactivation of Constabulary Headquarters until the final Constabulary performed their special mission as the mechanized police force in occupied Germany and admirably lived up to their motto, "Mobility, Vigilance, Justice."

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