East Texas Heroes: Jeff Sewell

East Texas Heroes


TYLER (KYTX) -- Imagine trying to corral 21,000 rowdy soldiers who just want to get out and have some fun. That was Jeff Sewell's job.  He was a military police officer before and during the Korean War. The job he did keeping soldiers in line kept our country safe too. 

It was September, 1948 when Jeff Sewell got off the bus and lined up at Fort Ord in Monterrey, California.  It didn't take long to get his assignment.

Sewell said one of his superiors told him, "you're just the right size for military police so you step right over here."

He joined the Army voluntarily during peace time.  Sewell wanted to go to engineering school in the Army after basic training, but his 6'4", 220 pound frame made him perfect to be an MP.

He trained at the famed Presidio in San Francisco.  When he returned he was given one of the most dangerous jobs at Fort Ord.  

"They picked the two biggest guys for the town patrol," Sewell said, "my partner was a fellow named Madge Warlow and he's in this picture right here by me, and he was 6'5, weighed 260 pounds. And the two of us, we absolutely didn't have any problem."

There were 21,000 soldiers at Fort Ord. And Sewell and Warlow kept them out of trouble while they were on leave in Monterrey right outside the base gates.

"When they'd get out of basic or get their first leave when they'd come in they'd want to go to town and have a good time," he said.

Sewell had to make sure young soldiers trying to get some rest and relaxation didn't drink underage, get too rowdy, or pass out drunk.

"We'd get them out and to safety because at that time civilians and other type people would come in and rob them," he said.

And the job got dangerous at times because soldiers didn't always want to be policed. Once while they were on patrol a riot almost started around them.

It was all to keep soldiers in line to prepare them for battle and to maintain the dignity of the U.S. Army.  But there were fun times too. Sewell got to meet celebrities and even be in a movie.

Sewell said, "I remember one name of a film was A Lady Says No and I was working on the gate when they came through on a car chase there."

He had his moment of fame.

After fulfilling his duty and moving back to Texas with his wife Marilyn Sewell signed up for the Air Force reserves at Ellington Air Force Base.  He served as a military police officer there too. That was from 1953 to 1957. He made sure pilots that would defend our country in Korea stayed on the straight and narrow.

And while he never saw combat he was glad to do his part.  After Sewell left the service he became a businessman starting a series of car dealerships across East Texas including Lufkin and New Boston. He even went on to become a bank president.

Sewell says it was a privilege to protect the country that has given him so much.

To nominate someone for East Texas Heroes contact me at jearley@cbs19.tv.


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