A MILITARY CAREER
James Sevier Killough
The following portion is taken from an article written about James Sevier Killough by William D. McRae for the Dallas County Pioneer Association book, PROUD HERITAGE, Vol. III. It was taken from oral interviews with Col. Killough on Aug. 28 and Sept. 25, 2001. Mr. Killough (93) and his wife, Iris, reside in Oak Cliff, TX, and regularly attend our reunions.
. . . . In 1938, Capt. Killough became a federal undercover narcotics agent in New York City and was instrumental in breaking up illegal narcotic operations involving the Mafia . . . .Early in 1940 found Capt. Killough in Little Rock, AR as Narcotics Division agent-in-charge. In a one-year period, his team of undercover agents successfully arrested and prosecuted 30 physicians engaged in illegal morphine trade. He was again called to active duty in late 1940 and was made commander of a heavy weapons company at Ft. Benning, GA. . . . . Because of his experience in undercover narcotics service, he was assigned detached duty to Ft. MacIntosh in Laredo, TX as District Intelligence Officer to cover the Mexican border. Due to Mexico's neutrality at that time, it was a hotbed of foreign intelligence operations. Capt. Killough developed a prime contact who was a former German merchant sailor escaping from the Nazi regime, an excellent poker player having many international contacts and an invaluable resource for the U. S. cause. It was in this assignment that Capt. Killough decoded the message informing the military commanders that Pearl Harbor had been bombed and that the U. S. was in a state of war. Two weeks later, the border was closed to foreign travel. In rapid succession, Capt. Killough was posted to Louisiana to secure the port of New Orleans; to Little Rock, AR to establish an intelligence district where two Japanese-American relocation camps were to be established; and to Ft. Bliss, TX to establish the West Texas-New Mexico Intelligence District, including the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. . . .
Other detached service assignments sent Capt. Killough to . . . . Oahu, Hawaii. His outfit . . . . joined a large troop convoy at Eniwetok headed for the invasion of Okinawa. Killough went ashore ahead of his unit on Easter morning, April 1, 1945, in the third wave riding in a half-track. His assignment was to establish order in captured Japanese villages on the north end of Okinawa as they were overrun. Meanwhile heavy battles were being fought in the south where the rugged terrain was conducive for the Japs to entrench themselves. Every night, his position underwent bombing raids by Japanese "Betty" bombers. During one of these raids in which no warning was given, Major Killough was wounded and evacuated to the 204th General Hospital on Guam encased in a body cast. Upon release from the hospital, Major Killough was on a supply aircraft flying from Tinian Island to Okinawa to rejoin his unit when word came that Japan had surrendered. He was immediately assigned to the 3rd Provisional Military Government, Korea Army of Occupation, replacing the Japanese military who had controlled Korea for the past 33 years and were being sent back to Japan.
When Major Killough arrived, the country was basically shut down with no one working and no systems operating. Seoul, the capitol, was in turmoil. Major Killough was assigned the job of establishing order in Seoul and getting all city services (communication, transportation, garbage, etc.) functioning. Thus he became the first American "Mayor of Seoul." During this assignment, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and was requested to join the regular army. . . .
When the Military Police Corp was established in 1951, Col. Killough . . . was posted to Europe . . . soon commanded the 508th Military Police Battalion, Reinforced in Munich, Germany, in charge of the southern sector of Germany and Bavaria . . . General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower, visited Col. Killough's command on Thanksgiving Day, 1951, and requested a round of golf at the Army Recreation Area at Garmish. Ike specifically requested no military presence or formality. In order to protect probably the most important person in Europe at the time, Col. Killough arranged to have foursomes of civilian-dressed Military Police playing on either side of the general's party plus every "groundskeeper" being an MP in disguise. Ike enjoyed his game!
Lawlessness was plaguing the Munich area after the war since MP's were hesitant to arrest German civilians and German police were loath to approach GI's. Col. Killough met with the German police president and established joint MP/German civilian police patrols. This cured the problem and greatly enhanced local morale. . . .
In 1954 . . . . Col. Killough was then assigned to Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Huntsville, AL, Redstone Arsenal as Security Intelligence Officer. General Medaris, in command of the Agency, instructed Killough that security was of the highest priority and no lapses would be tolerated. Killough set up double wire perimeter fences around the agency guarded by MP's plus civilian security personnel to patrol each building or area within the complex. One major lapse occurred when Dr. Werner Von Braun, the German head scientist at the Agency, left a folder of secret information on the floor of the men's room after a visit there. Patrolling security discovered the document, resulting in a severe tongue lashing of Von Braun by General Medaris in the presence of Col. Killough. A second breach occurred when, in the absence of Gen. Medaris, senior scientists and engineers raised a rocket to vertical position over the objection of Col. Killough in order to test some newly installed equipment. While returning from Washington in his own twin-engine plane, Gen. Medaris spied the rocket miles from Redstone, "blew his top," and quickly had the missile lowered to its horizontal position.
Col. Killough left Redstone Arsenal in 1957 . . . . and continued on to Korea as Provost Marshal . . . . This command included two divisions of Republic of Korea troops, a Turkish brigade and a battalion of Thai troops. They established the De-militarized Zone (DMZ) and patrolled the zone to prevent North Korean infiltration and incursions into South Korea. A second Korean assignment put Col. Killough in charge of stopping wholesale theft from Army warehouses . . . . Killough returned from Korea in late 1958 to become the Provost Marshall of Colorado/Wyoming Area based in Ft. Carson. CO. He retired from the Army in 1963 after 30 years of service. Throughout his military career he was active in the U. S. Army Men of the Chapel, helping military chaplains and assisting in their ministering. . . .