Not forgotten but unsung, troopers of the constabulary made heroic contributions to the heart and history of America. In 1946, with World War II barely ended, East and West Germany underwent division and occupation by four powers. The world would learn the phrases "iron curtain," "cold war," and eventually "…disciplined by a hard and bitter peace."
"Russia had East Germany. The US, England, and France occupied West
Germany," explains former constabulary trooper, Al Inlow, now commander
of Camp White Historical Association. "This elite corps was charged
with guarding the American zone in Germany." Russia had built a
prohibitive wall to divide Berlin, and also fenced in the rest of the
borders. Still regarding German citizens as enemies, Russia’s top
leaders sought to deprive them of food and heating fuel (coal.) With
the Berlin air lift, the U.S. Air Force flew in provisions above it
all. "It was lawless there at first; they had no police force," Inlow
said. "Our constabulary guarded the airfields."
Inlow, we curbed Nazi loyalists’ uprisings, and the emerging black
market. We helped guard the Nuremberg war crimes trials. The 35,000
member constabulary also dealt with the two-and-one-half-million
restless American soldiers still in Germany at the war’s end.
Constabulary troopers had to restore and maintain peace, and allow U.S.
military personnel an orderly return home.
In 1948, a then
17-year old Inlow enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve in the
constabulary. He passed rigid screening requirements to qualify, as the
squadron selected men of the highest caliber to deal with conditions
spiraling out of control. Their 155 mm Howitzers, the biggest artillery
in Germany, would be considered small by today’s standards. Inlow
believes example and devotion to duty reversed the downward trend of
discipline, and revived pride in the army. It kept West Germany on our
side in the ensuing divisiveness of the cold war. After seven years of
outstanding, successful service, the last unit of the 24th constabulary
squadron was disbanded. As Inlow says, America’s citizens owe this
special corps its due recognition and gratitude.
By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent