(Gene Lesney/Stars and Stripes)

Somewhere in South Korea, April 1958: Using his jeep’s side mirror and his helmet as a basin, Spc. Harry W. Wise shaves after a night of guard duty. Wise and his 7th Military Police Company (Prov.) were on a five-day field exercise with the 7th Infantry Division. The Army’s first pentomic MP company pulled guard duty and local road patrols not in the regular 7th Infantry Division’s area, but in the battle-scarred mountains of north-central South Korea, where field exercise Northwind was held.

The short lived pentomic structure adopted by the U.S. Army between 1957 and 1963 aimed at creating units able to deploy more rapidly than the traditional brigades by combining parts of different units in one comprehensive and cohesive unit, reducing the time needed to organize an attack if different brigades were involved. With nuclear arms entering the battlefield after World War II, the pentomic units would be able to respond quickly before the enemy could respond with a nuclear strike.

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