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Islands Of Japan
Soon after the 1st Cavalry Division had been pulled off Line "Jamestown" and placed in reserve, word came down that they were to assume a new mission of establishing a strong defensive military presence in the mountainous, northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido is the second largest of the four main islands of Japan. The climate of Hokkaido is rather cold and harsh in the winter but not as hot and humid in the summer as it is in the other regions of Japan. The reasons for uprooting and transferring the 1st Cavalry Division to the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan were founded upon a long standing strategy to deter the interests of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from expanding their control and influence further eastward.

In negotiations among the World War II allies, Joseph Stalin declared his interest in occupying the nearby islands of Sakhalin, Hokkaido, and Kurile in exchange for entry of the USSR into the war against Japan. President Roosevelt disagreed, but by the end of the war, Soviet troops had taken Sakhalin and the Kuriles and were preparing to invade Hokkaido. To preempt any actions, the 77th Infantry Division, recently battered in bloody fighting on Okinawa, was rushed to Hokkaido to disarm the Japanese garrisons and establish a firm control under the United States. Regiments of the 77th Division established themselves at Asahigawa, Hokkaido's capital, Sapporo, its principal city, and Chitose, the site of a former Japanese naval air training base.

In early 1946, when the 77th Division was demobilized, the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division assumed responsibility for the entire island, establishing its headquarters on the site of a Japanese experimental dairy farm at Sapporo. The garrison, named Camp Crawford for a major who had won the Distinguished Service Cross, gradually grew to become a permanent installation with brick barracks and stucco administration buildings, family housing, an all-grade school, clubs, and support facilities. In 1948 the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division moved from Korea to Camp Crawford, absorbing most of the personnel of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

The 31st Infantry, the famous "Polar Bear Regiment" that had served in Siberia during World War I and fought to the end at Bataan during World War II, was stationed on Hokkaido from 1948 to 1950. The rest of the 7th Infantry Division was stationed near Sendai on the main Japanese island, Honshu. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the 7th Infantry Division furnished troops to the 24th Infantry, 25th Infantry, and 1st Cavalry Divisions as those units deployed to Korea in early July and August.

When the 7th Infantry Division began its rotation to Korea in the spring of 1951, the 45th Infantry Division, a National Guard unit from Oklahoma, arrived on Hokkaido to continue the show of force against the possibility of a Soviet invasion. The Division established its headquarters, trains, engineers, special troops, and one infantry regiment at Camp Crawford while the artillery, a tank battalion, and two infantry regiments were housed in Quonset huts at Camp Chitose. The Division trained hard throughout 1951, anticipating its commitment to combat which came in 1952, when the 45th relieved the 1st Cavalry Division in central Korea.

To carry out the rotation, the 45th Infantry Division had to be moved from Hokkaido, Japan to assume the assignments of the 1st Cavalry Division. Advance parties of both divisions, down to company level were flown to their new locations to facilitate the move. The transfer of the main body of the two divisions was completed by water in four principal steps.

The first of the regiments to leave Korea, the 5th Cavalry Regiment was relieved in reserve by the 180th Infantry Regiment. On 07 December, the 5th Cavalry Regiment left Inchon. Four days later, its convoy entered the harbor of Muroran, on the southeastern coast of Hokkaido, and movement to Camp Chitose, Area I was completed by train. On 18 December, the 7th Cavalry Regiment departed Korea. On 30 December, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, the first of the regiments to engage the enemy in Korea, turned over its equipment to the 279th Infantry Regiment and moved out in skirmish lines in a march over the hills and to the beach where they were loaded into LSTs. The last unit to embark was the 77th Field Artillery, which had moved off the line as the year of 1951 was ending. On 12 January 1952, the 77th left Korea and arrived at the port of Muroran on 16 January closing out the move of the 1st Cavalry Division from Korea to Hokkaido just 18 months after the July 1950 landing at Pohangdong.

Closing On Hokkaido
In its rotation to Hokkaido, the 1st Cavalry Division was assigned the mission to defend the Island of Hokkaido while maintaining maximum combat readiness in the event that it was necessary for their re-intervention in the Korea theater. Hokkaido, the most northern island of Japan, is certainly is coldest. By its unique strategic proximity to the Asian mainland, Hokkaido was a key center of electronic surveillance for gathering intelligence on Russian activities. The northern tip of the island is only a few miles from Sakalin, a large Russian island, and from the Kuril Islands, also Russian. The majority of the electronic listening posts and radar centers on Hokkaido were under the control and managed by the US Air Force which, in addition to the task of monitoring Russian broadcasts, tracked movement of all Russian aircraft.

Under the command of Major General Thomas L. Harrold, the division controlled a huge training area of 155,000 acres. In their new locations, troopers found facilities comparable to those of state-side camps. 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters and the 7th Cavalry Regiment were stationed outside Sapporo at Camp Crawford with its steam heated, red brick barracks. Camp Crawford had been constructed in 1946 on the location of the Makomanai National Dairy, which was the largest dairy farm in Japan operated by the Japanese Agricultural Ministry. The 5th Cavalry Regiment was stationed 25 miles southeast of Sapporo, at Camp Chitose, Area I, adjoining the Chitose Air Force Base and adjacent to the thriving Japanese town of Chitose, for which it was named. About four miles east of Chitose, the 8th Cavalry Regiment and the 70th Tank Battalion occupied the new Quonsets of Camp Chitose II.

As soon as the main command group arrived, plans for the defense of the island of Hokkaido were formulated. Elements of the plan included Passive Air Defense, Civil Disturbance Alert, Dependant Evacuation Plan and a Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense training. In addition, work began on a Master Training Program encompassing physical training, map reading, mine and field fortifications, signal communication, camouflage, first aid and tactical organization and deployment. The climate and terrain of Hokkaido were ideally suited for instruction in Arctic survival techniques, skiing and snow-shoeing. In parallel with these activities, the Division undertook an exhaustive aerial and ground reconnaissance and mapping of the island, By early 1952 the 1st Cavalry Division was well on its way to becoming accustomed to the frigid temperatures and heavy snows of Hokkaido.

On 07 March, the Island of Hokkaido gave the troops of the 1st Cavalry Division an unexpected welcome. In addition to the standard manifestation of being knocked down to the ground, an earthquake cracked the concrete floors of the Quonset Huts and cracked the overhead water and steam pipes. The engineers had a major task on their hands in restoring normal operations.

By the end April, the initial training program was completed by all of the Division units and a new dimension to the training was added. On 21 April plans took shape for training in Air Transportability training. The training was conducted by the a team of officers and enlisted men from the 187th Airborne Regiment, who concentrated on the principles of troop air movement. On 01 June, having learned how to go into battle by air, troopers began an extensive training in assaults by water with the initiation of an Amphibious training program conducted by members of the of Mobile (Marine) Training Team "Able" (MTTC "A"). By the end of June, a new program of Light Aviation Training was introduced which enabled the training of personnel in the use of light aircraft in field exercises

Naval surface operations during the summer of 1952 had consisted mainly of routine patrol and blockade of the Korean coast, mine sweeping operations, and the shelling of targets along the coast to harass and interdict the enemy's lines of communication. But the biggest naval operation, AMPHIBIOUS TASK FORCE SEVEN, was a planned exercise/demonstration at Kojo on the east coast of North Korea.

In July, it was decided that it might be wise in the interest of economy for the Army to hold a major troop movement and landing exercise in connection with the naval operation. This combined Navy - Army exercise might also provide an opportunity to alarm the Communists that a new land invasion was underway. However, one of the main reasons for the troop movement, lack of adequate garrison facilities in Japan, the Army had decided to rotate the three Regimental Combat Teams (RCT's) of the 1st Cavalry Division back to Korea, one at a time.

The Navy was heartily in favor of some action and suggested that an amphibious demonstration be mounted. This could conceivably lure enemy reinforcements out on the roads and expose them to attack by air and surface craft. Under Vice Admiral Robert P. Brisco, the Seventh Fleet commander, joint AMPHIBIOUS TASK FORCE SEVEN was set up with 15 October established as the target date. The demonstration was scheduled for the area near Kojo, North Korea and planning for the land, sea, and air phases proceeded at a swift pace. Two alternative assault plans were worked up, one for a landing by two divisions in column and one for an attack by a single RCT. For purposes of deception, only the highest echelon of command knew that the maneuver was to be only a demonstration.

Supporting Divisional plans, prepared for re-deployment of Regimental Combat Teams to Korea for a sixty day tour of duty, were designated Operation DECOY. On 05 October 1952 the 8th Cavalry, along with the 99th Field Artillery Battalion, "C" Battery, 29th AAA AW Battalion and elements of the 2nd Engineer Amphibious Special Brigade departed Camp Chitose II for movement to Otaru in preparation for a practice amphibious landing on beaches near Kangnung, South Korea which was to be carried out on 12 October. History would repeat itself for the 8th Cavalry. for it had participated in the first amphibious landing of the Korean war two years and three months earlier.

The amphibious ships carrying the 8th Cavalry Regiment sortied from Hokkaido. On 12 October, D minus 3, the planned rehearsal was carried out at Kangnung, hampered by winds of 25 knots. With the loss of four Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVPs) after broaching on the beach, the rehearsal operations had to be broken off. The next day all troops re-embarked and sailed farther north. For the next three days, handicapped by the same weather conditions, the Far Eastern Air Force (FEAF) and the Fifth Air Force stepped up their operations around Kojo. Joining in. the planes from the supporting Navy carriers targeted enemy positions around Kojo and North Korean Naval surface craft.

On 15 October the 8th Cavalry RCT aboard the USS Bayfield, arriving off the east coast of North Korea near the Kojo beach area, was joined by a larger force of more than a hundred ships, including the Carriers USS Sicily and USS Badoeng Strait, led by the Battleship USS Iowa. At 1400 hours landing craft were launched for preparation for the landing. As part of the feint, troops went over the side of the ship and as the boats circled around the ship the troops were picked up on the seaward side of the ship and sent below. Operating in this manner gave the North Koreans the illusion that the boats were still loaded as they headed for shore.

Seven waves of landing craft were sent in from the transport area to pass the line of departure and then retire, seaward. During the assault landing feint, owing to the skill of the coxswains, no boats were lost or seriously damaged. but two mine-sweepers were hit by shore fire and five carrier planes lost to enemy anti-aircraft fire.

The enemy response to the elaborate scheme was disappointing. Little evidence of significant troop transfers came to light and the Communist shore batteries threw only a few answering shells at the assault force. Whether this denoted a lack of mobility to respond quickly or perhaps a preference to wait until the United Nations Command (UNC) troops had landed and then to launch a counterattack was impossible to surmise. Evidently the discovery that the operation was only a feint added to the frustration of all the UNC personnel who had not been in on the secret. The realism of the planning and mounting of the operation had built up UNC expectations and although the training was adjudged valuable, the damage to morale served to balance this off.

Following completion of the exercise the USS Bayfield moved south, across the 38th Parallel, to PoHangdong (the same beach that the 1st Cavalry Division had landed on in July 1950) and the 8th RCT conducted a beach landing as originally planned. After the landing exercises were completed the 8th RCT moved south to Camp Tongnae, Korea, a location outside of Pusan.

In November, elements of the 8th Cavalry Combat Team were attached to the 772nd Military Police Battalion. This attachment was a first of a series of security missions performed by units of the 1st Cavalry Division. During this period, cavalrymen wore Military Police brassards and rode trains and guarded marshalling yards. In the marshalling yards, the troopers rode "shotgun" along with the Korean police to provide security for rail cars being transferred or loaded. Those who drew UN Express passenger car duty turned out in Class "A" uniforms and performed "stateside" duty enroute.

Another variation of the Military Police duties was the guarding of hospital trains that carried either wounded UN or enemy soldiers. For the next two months the regiment performed security missions around the familiar cities of Pusan and Taegu, away from the main fighting.

On 08 December 1952, the 7th Cavalry Regiment (less the Tank Company and Tank Maintenance Section), the 77th Field Artillery Battalion and "B" Battery, 29th AAA AW Battalion departed Camp Crawford and moved to Otrau for loading and on 12 December, sailed for Pusan to relieve the 8th Cavalry Regiment. On 15 December, the 7th Cavalry Regiment Combat Team arrived at Pusan and effected a relief of the 8th Cavalry Regiment Combat Team who were guarding Prisoners of War (POW) at Camp Tongnae, Korea. On 18 December, the 8th Cavalry Regiment Combat Team arrived in Otaru and by 20 December, the 8th Cavalry Troopers, the 99th Field Artillery and "C" Battery, 29th AAA AW Battalion were all back in Hokkaido in time to celebrate Christmas and join in the winter training program.

The mission of the 7th Cavalry Regiment Combat Team was to furnish tactical support to Korean Communications Zone (KCOMZ). A secondary mission was to furnish security elements for critical areas, in conjunction with specialized training. The 1st Battalion was quartered at the Daisan School assigned port security in the Pusan area, the 2nd Battalion was assigned security for the KCOMZ Headquarters area and providing train security guards for the Pusan-Taegu railways and the Heavy Mortar Company provided security for the United Nations Civil Assistance Command, Korea. (UNCACK) Headquarters. On 19 December, the 3rd Battalion and "B" Battery, 29th AAA AW were attached to UN POW Command, Koje-do as part of POW Command Reserve and "E" Company was assigned security duty at Taejon. The 77th Field Artillery, encamped at Ichon-ni, conducted training for all its batteries. The crews of the Air-Section, consisting of two L-19 aircraft, flew emergency flights in addition to observation flights for battery service sections. Each of the units were augmented by an attachment of Medical and Service personnel.

On 10 February 1953, the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 61st Field Artillery Battalion and Battery "A", 29th AAA AW Battalion, departed from Otaru, Japan for Pusan and Koje-do, Korea to relieve the 7th Cavalry Combat Team. On 15 February, the convoy carrying the 7th Cavalry Combat Team sailed from Pusan and docked at Otaru on 18 February. Final troop movement to Camp Chitose was made by rail. By 20 February the 7th Cavalry fresh from their Korean assignment, were assigned to the winter training program. In Korea, the 5th Cavalry Regimental Headquarters was stationed outside of Pusan. The 1st Battalion was assigned security missions in the area from Pusan to Teagu, the 2nd Battalion was assigned the from area from Teagu to Taejon, and the 3rd Battalion covered the area from Taejon to Seoul. On 27 April, all elements of the 5th Cavalry Combat Team, less the 3rd Battalion and Heavy Mortar Company, who remained on their security mission, returned to Camp Chitose I, Hokkaido.

In June the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion executed Operation FORTNIGHT, during which the battalion traveled more than 160 miles in a two-week exercise. In July, amphibious training was resumed and on 16 July, the 5th Cavalry Regiment completed a ten day motor and foot march reconnaissance to the Muroran Peninsula. The units remaining in Korea continued security missions under control of KCOMZ.

DMZ - Freedom's Frontier
The Korean War wound down to a negotiated halt when the long awaited armistice was signed at 10:00 on 27 July 1953. A Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). a corridor - four kilometers wide and 249 kilometers long, was established dividing North and South Korea. The nominal line of the buffer zone was along the 38th parallel; however, the final negotiations of the adjacent geographical areas, gave the North Korean government approximately 850 square miles south of the 38th parallel and the South Korean government some 2,350 square miles north of it.

On 09 September 1953, the 3rd Battalion and Heavy Mortar Company of the 5th Cavalry Regiment returned to Hokkaido after seven months of duty in Korea. Planning was initiated for the 7th and 8th Regimental Combat Teams to conduct landing exercises at Chigasaki Beach on Honshu during October and November.

5th Cavalry Regiment D&B Corps
In October 1953, the Table of Organization for the 1st Cavalry Division Band was downsized from the authorized ninety-six to forty-eight troopers. The surplus band members were transferred to the 5th, 7th and 8th Cavalry Regiments and were allowed to form a Drum and Bugle Corps which represented the regiments at various functions. In July 1954, the Band, in line with their alternate security mission of the division, was assigned a secondary mission as a Smoke Generator Unit.

In January 1954, commencing the third year on Hokkaido, the division began winter training for all units. On 15 February a new dimension was added to the intensive troop training program of the 1st Cavalry Division when "F" Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment took to the sky in a tactical airlift training operation. Using a system of shuttle flights, H-19 helicopters from the 6th Helicopter Company, transported the soldiers from their home base of Camp Schimmelpfennig to the training area of Ojoji-hara, some thirty miles away. Immediately upon arrival, the troopers, clad in overwhites, moved out with complete field gear, and set up operations. On 21 February, a new unit, the 41st Infantry Scout Dog Platoon joined the Division.

With the advent of warmer weather, the division resumed their extensive training for Air Transport and Amphibious Training. Company, Battalion, and Regimental Tests and full scale division maneuvers were scheduled for early fall.

Closing On Honshu
In September 1954, the Japanese assumed full responsibility for defending the Island of Hokkaido and the former home of the 1st Cavalry Division was turned over to the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces. The entire First Team was relocated to the main Island of Honshu. Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division and the 5th Cavalry Regiment were moved to Camp Schimmelpfennig outside Sendai. The 7th Cavalry Regiment and the 29th AAA AW Battalion occupied Camp Haugen, near Hachinohe. The 8th Cavalry Regiment began a motorized transport to a seaport, boarded LSTs for a rough journey to the main island of Honshu, landing in Tokyo Bay. Undertaking a combined march and motorized transport of 65 miles, they ended up at Camp Whittington, an abandoned Japanese airbase, located near Koisumi, north of Tokyo.

On 26 September, during the relocation from Hokkaido to Aomori, the 99th FA Battalion experienced the loss of 35 men and one officer, along with two men from the 8th Cavalry Regiment, one man from the 15th Medical Battalion and approximately 1,500 Japanese civilians, in the sinking of the commercial ferry Toya Maru in the Tsugaru Straits during a typhoon. Eventually, all the artillery battalions, the 61st, 77th, 82nd and 99th, were garrisoned at Camp Younghans, Yamagata Prefecture, near the town of Jinmachi approximately 35 miles west of Sendai.

Headquarters and Headquarters and Service Company and "D" Company, 8th Engineers along with a special ordnance detachment were stationed at Camp Loper Depot, a small camp one mile from the small sea port of Shigoma and approximately 20 miles from Camp Schimmelpfennig. The ordnance detachment took care of all ammunition stored in the underground magazines which, due to security issues, were "off limits".

In January 1955 the majority of the division participated in winter training. All of the regiments and the Division Artillery spent several weeks in the field at the Ojoji-Hara, Sekine, Fugi and Otakani Maneuver areas. Throughout the next three years the division was engaged in an almost endless series of field exercises along with the primary mission of guarding the northern sections of Honshu. And as new mission requirements were established and needs changed, units were relocated to various regional camp facilities.

In 1956, while the 5th Cavalry Regiment remained at Camp Schimmelpfennig in Sendai and the 8th Cavalry Regiment remained at Camp Whittington located near Koisumi, North of Tokyo, the 7th Cavalry Regiment was relocated to Camp Otsu near Kyoto. The 1st Cavalry Division Artillery and Band were at Camp Drake outside Tokyo and the 70th Tank Battalion was stationed at Camp Fuji. The 13th Signal Company was garrisoned at Hardy Barracks in the Roppongi district of Tokyo.

Previously, in the period of Japanese Occupation before the Korean War, Hardy Barracks, origionally named the 3rd Imperial Guard Barracks had the home station for the 2nd Brigade Headquarters Command Post and the 8th Cavalry Regiment.

In March 1956 Headquarters and Headquarters and Service Company and "D" Company of the 8th Engineers vacated Camp Loper with their heavy equipment being transported by LSTs. Personnel moved overland by truck convoy to Camp Drake, outside of Tokyo, where they remained until the division was reorganized in 1957.

In early May 1956, in preparation for a landing exercise. Marines of Mobile Training Team Bravo 2-56, Landing Force Training Unit, Pacific Fleet, set up headquarters at Camp Whittington and initiated pre-float training classes for all 8th Cavalry Regiment personnel. Following the training, from 28 May to 15 June, elements of the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Marine Division held a joint amphibious landing exercise at Iwo Jima. Troopers from the 13th Signal Company and the 8th Cavalry Regiment along with Air Force personnel and Marine radio teams formed a strike team operating off the USS Point Pleasant, a Landing Ship, Dock (LSD). In perhaps the first use of helicopters in a landing exercise, the LSD landed on the beaches of Iwo Jima and the Intelligence and Reconnaissance (I&R) platoon from the 8th Cavalry Regiment performed a reconnaissance of Mt. Suribachi on choppers from the LSD.

It had been 5 years and 8 months of occupational duty since December of 1951, when the 1st Cavalry Division had initially rotated back to Hokkaido, Japan from the Korean War. They had been assigned many occupational and training duties and their assigned subordinate units were dispersed and relocated from over a significant portion of Hokkaido to the main island of Honshu. Major station locations assigned to them slowly moved the Division Commands back to Camp Drake, outside of Tokyo, where they had been initially headquartered for Occupational Duty at the end of World War II in 1945.

02 Makonamai, JP
03 Taegu, KR
04 Pusan, KR
05 Koje do, KR
06 Sendai, JP
07 Musichiukawa, JP
08 Koisumi, JP
09 Gotamba, JP
10 Tokyo, JP
11 Otsu, JP

DATE - Month/YearFeb
Hq & Hq Company01020206061010
Medical Det, Div Headquarters01020206061010
5th Cavalry Regiment01010106060606
7th Cavalry Regiment01020107071111
    2nd Bn, 7th Cavalry   03          
    3rd Bn, 7th Cavalry   05          
    Tank Co, 7th Cavalry   04       0909
8th Cavalry Regiment01020208080808
    Tank Co, 8th Cavalry   01          
Division Artillery  
    Hq & Hq Battery01010106061010
    Medical Det, Division Arty01010106061010
    61st FA Bn (105mm How)01010106060606
    77th FA Bn (105mm How)01040107071010
    82nd FA Bn (155mm How)01010106061111
    99th FA Bn (105mm How)01020206060808
    29th AAA AW Bn (SP)01010107071010
        "B" Battery   05          
        "C" Battery     02        
Support Command  
    1st Cavalry Division Band01020206061010
    15th Medical Bn01010106061010
        Ambulance Co       01   1111
        Medical Detachment       08080808
    15th Quartermaster Co01020206081010
    15th Replacement Co01020108081010
    27th Ordnance Maint Bn01020206061010
        1st Pltn, "A" Co     0107070606
        2nd Pltn, "A" Co           1111
        3rd Pltn, "A" Co       01090808
Separate Battalions/Companies  
    8th Eng'r Combat Bn01010106061010
        "A" Co           0606
        "B" Co       07071111
        "C" Co       08080808
    13th Signal Co01020206061010
    16th Reconnaissance Co01010101091111
    70th Tank Bn01010101090909
    545th MP Co01020206061010
        1st Traffic Pltn       07   0606
        2nd Traffic Pltn         071111
        3rd Traffic Pltn         060608
If a station is not designated for a subordinate unit, it is co-stationed with its command unit.

On 29 August 1957, compliance with a treaty, signed by the governments of Japan and the United States in 1957 which required the removal of all US ground forces from Japan's main islands, went into effect. The 1st Cavalry Division, headquartered at Camp Drake, Tokyo along with its subordinate units stationed throughout Honshu, Japan, were given orders to reduce strength to zero personnel and transfer to Korea (minus equipment). On 23 September 1957, General Order 89 announced the redesignation of the 24th Infantry Division as the 1st Cavalry Division and issued orders to reorganize the Division under the "Pentomic" concept, which utilized five "Battle Group" maneuvering units, rather than the "regimental" units.

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

Revised 04 Jan '13 SpellChecked