AP Photo

In late July of 1932, following the arrival of thousands of former World War I veterans who had come to Washington to demand Congress award promised war service bonuses; Chief  (Major and Superintendent) Pelham Glassford was ordered to expel the squatting veterans and their families.

This came during the Great Depression and after a drawn out debate Congress voted not to award the requested bonus payments.  Chief Glassford, a former veteran himself, reluctantly began the process of physically removing the remaining people from the vacant buildings and shanties that they were occupying.

What followed was an eruption of violence that lead to the severe injury of several policemen and the shooting death of one of the so called “Bonus Army Marchers.”  The police were unable to expel the Marchers and President Herbert Hoover ordered the Army, armed with tanks, cavalry, and tear gas to assault the camps and force the group out of the city limits.

In a sad turn of events, the expulsion of the Bonus Army was lead by Generals Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower and George S.Patton, as they commanded units and coordinated the efforts to force their former brothers in arms out of Washington at the point of a bayonet.

(MPD-150th Anniversary book, page 49)