The story of young Military Policeman that teams with old hand Army Criminal Investigator to work a theft of military property that becomes a murder. The case goes cold, but they keep plugging away as their assignments move them around the world and then to second careers in civilian police work. MP gets separated from his Italian girlfriend during the civil war in Eritrea. Exciting ending to the investigation and the reunion with the girlfriend will bring tears to the eyes of the toughest reader. Interesting insight to military life in the 60’s and 70’s. I know you will like it, an easy afternoon read.
The Assignment It was a nice warm afternoon in Asmara. Not the stifling heat that was a usual August day. It was a nice day to ride around Asmara and the various Kagnew Station facilities. I was working the afternoon shift this month on my usual activity of traffic enforcement and accident investigation. Not bad duty. No domestic disturbance calls, shoplifters or any of the other types of calls that no cop likes. I liked working traffic. Most of it was self initiated activities and each wreck brought a little something different to the table, no matter how minor might be the occurrence. I had been on duty just about 2 hours when the radio called me a couple of minutes after 4:00 P.M., “Unit 28, this is Observer”. Not the voice of the radio operator or even the Desk Sergeant, but that of Staff Sergeant Jack Fisher, the Patrol Supervisor. Sergeant Fisher was not the sort of leader that would snatch the radio from his subordinates. When he called you it meant business. What could it be? A major wreck, no the radio operator would handle something like that. Not a paperwork error, I hadn’t turned in anything so far. I had written two tickets and investigated one wreck where an Air Force Major’s wife backed into an Army vehicle in the Post Office parking lot. Yep, that’s what it was. I had not given her a ticket, but when I told her she would be responsible for the damage to the Army vehicle she acted like I had singled her out. She proceeded to tell me it was just an accident and that she had really not done anything wrong. I reminded her the truck was properly parked and she had damaged it. I broke off the conversation as soon as possible, telling her to report the matter to her husband. Yea, it had to be her. I just hate complaints. I responded, “Observer this is 28, just outside Track A Back Gate”. Sergeant Fisher’s “Return To Station” cut through the car like a knife. I felt a serious chewing as I rogered the call and turned to drive to the MP Station. Sergeant Fisher was what one would call and old solider and a hard-core leader. He was a WW II and Korean War veteran, a Military Policeman all the way. The story was that as a young MP he had written a speeding ticket to General Patton’s driver as the general “caught fire” in the back seat of the car. It must be true because on the wall in his barracks room was a framed letter from Patton that just simply thanked Fisher for his observance and dedication to duty. I did a good job for Sergeant Fisher and as a Vietnam vet I held a spot that nobody else in his squad had. Several times at briefing he had made reference to combat MPs and he always looked at me at those times. I had never been on his bad side and was hoping that this was not the day. I pulled up and parked in front of the MP station and looked in the window. There was Sergeant Fisher looking through his blue tint glasses at me. He looked like he just could not wait for me to come inside. In I went and right off the top he asks what happened out there. I handed him my tickets and the accident report as I started the story about the Air Force wife. Nope, that’s not what it was. He stated, “The Provost Marshal wants to see you ASAP. I don’t know what it is, Green, but I hope, it’s not bad news”.
Joe Gillam was stationed in Asmara in the mid 60’s after assignments in Japan and Vietnam. He continued in the Army with follow on assignments at Ft Dix, NJ, Korea, Ft Indiantown Gap, PA, German, and Italy. Master Sergeant Gillam retired from the U.S. Army in 1984 after his last assignment, Ft Devens, MA. Joe’s entire Army service was in the Military Police Corps. His assignments included patrol, investigations, physical security, combat service support and 18 months of attachment to the US Marshal Service as a Sky Marshal in the early 1970’s. After Army retirement Joe moved to Hinesville, GA and accepted a position with the Hinesville Police Department. Joe held varied assignments including patrol, traffic crash investigator, traffic sergeant and shift watch sergeant. Sergeant Gillam retired from the Hinesville Police Department in 2006. Joe and his wife, Chong, continue to reside in Hinesville and make travel their number one hobby. They are constantly on the go and just might turn up in on your street at any time.
This is Joe’s first book. Keep your eyes open for his next one. He is gathering his thoughts on another story.