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Visitor: Valerie A. Niemela
Reference: By way of looking for a place I'd been
Location: Oklahoma city
Date: Sat, Apr 25, 1998 at 10:29:51 (EDT)
Comments: I was station at Kadena AFB from 86-90. It was wonderful to see the
sights again. Thankyou.
So, we were on island at the same time!! My second tour there was from 1986 to
October of 1990! Where did you work, live and play?
Hey, thank you for checking out the Okinawa web site and for taking time to "sign
Have a great, safe and fun summer!!!
From: Valerie Niemela[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 1998 10:54 AM
Subject: The Rock
Thank you again for the get web site. I was a spit sucker at Kadena's
I was Dr (HB) Smith assistant for most of my tour. I really loved it
I lived off base my whole tour. Gushikawa City. I can't forget those
What I'd give for some of the great food over their. Its just not the
I'm now living in Oklahoma City. Its okay..
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your pictures. It brought back alot
of fun memories. Thanks again.
I could be way wrong but your name rings a familiar bell. I didn't get to know many
of the dental folks but Dr. Barry McDonald was my next door neighbor (actually
downstairs neighbor in Aza-oki Yomitan-son) and we got to know Dr. Mark and Linda
Giesel quite well.
I was "P.A. McClary" across the street at the Primary Care Clinic. If you were ever
over there you might remember that one of my exam rooms was called "The Montana
Room" and I had a "mini-museum" of Montana stuff in there. Rubbed elbows a lot with
dental folks during Medical Red Flag.
Oh well... maybe it's just my "old man" memory waning!
Nice to hear from you again, Valerie!
Oklahoma City isn't too bad!! I lived in Midwest City a long time ago. Dad was
stationed at Tinker.
Sent: Sunday, April 05, 1998 10:06 AM
Subject: your web page
Just found your site and I think it is fantastic! My family was stationed
on Okinawa for three years and loved it. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful reminder of our visit to this beautiful island. We will visit your site over and over. We will also link our web page to yours so that others can learn about this wonderful place.
The Rivera Family
Thank you very much!! I'm happy that you came by the site and that you got out of it what I have hoped that visitors will...
Thanks too, for the link! I appreciate it.
You didn't leave the URL for your website though!! *hint, hint*
I'd like to repay your kindness by visiting yours too!!
Visitor: Jon Yim
Reference: poof!!! I just kinda showed up!!!
Location: San Diego, CA
WebSite: Jon's Page O' Kewlness In San Diego
Web Info: Jon's kewl life on & off the Internet!
Date: Sun, Apr 05, 1998 at 05:46:55 (EDT)
Comments: Mick! Nice page!! I was an Army brat myself, my family was on-island
from 1972-75. My dad (a retired Army MSC colonel) was XO of the Army Medical
Materiel Agency operations at old Machinato Service Area (MSA -- now Cp. Kinser).
We lived in Rycom Plaza, near the FEN studios. I attended & graduated from
Kubasaki HS in 1975. I also worked at FEN as a work-study & as a member of the
station's Explorer Post. Returned to the island in 1982 as a Navy Journalist assigned to
FEN (talk about returning to the scene of the accident) after my previous tour at
FEN-Tokyo (1979-82). It was a blast to work at home again until my PCS to Pearl
Harbor in 1984!! Retired as an E6 in 1993 (peace is hell); currently work in production
operations at KUSI-TV, an independent news station. Just as a suggestion, ya oughta
put the URLs to the Kubasaki & Kadena HS official websites & alumni homepages.
Onward & upward!! Jon
Hi ya Jon!!
Thanks loads for visiting the website! Looks like we overlapped at least once on island.
I was there 1972-75 also and lived in the Machinato housing in 74-75.
0I didn't get back though till 1986, so we missed there!
That is indeed ironic (or is it really?) that you should end up back at FEN-O as a
reporter!! What I mean by "or is it really?" is - don't you think that first experience
guided you into that career and then, the assignment to Okinawa again...well, that IS
Well, Jon... you gave yourself away!! *grin* You didn't look at ALL of the pages there
or you would have seen:
"Welcome to Kadena High School"
"Kadena High School Alumni Association" and
"Kubasaki High Alumni Home Page"
on my "Military" page of the Okinawa website:
But, hey!! I know the site is big and I'm hoping you would have planned to come back
for more later anyway!! You'd have found it!
Jon, once again, thanks for coming by and for taking time out to sign in.
And of course, please DO come back once in a while. I plan to always be addin'
I'll surf by your San Diego Kewl Page too!!
First, I just want to say I love your site. It brought me back (I'm a
military brat - born in Camp LeJeune, N.C. raised in the military). My
father was in the Marine Corps for 20 years and retired in 1984. My
father was stationed in Okinawa from 1978 to 1983. We lived on
Makiminato Base and I went to Makiminato Middle School during those
years. A friend of mine who is now in the Marine Corps said he did not
recognize the name Makiminato, so it got my curiosity up. I decided to
search the web to see if I could find out what might have happened to
my former home (and I still do consider it home, it was some of the best
years in my life). The majority of my life, before 1983, was spent in
Japan or surrounding areas and even though I have been in the States for
15 years now, I still feel like this is not my true home. Luckily I
still have ties to Japan since my mother is japanese and she keeps in
touch with her family. Incidently, my father was born and raised in
Belt, Montana. I was wondering if you have any information on what
happened to Makiminato? Just curious - for old times sake.
My Goodness - what similarities in our families....
You're a Marine Corps brat! - I'm an Air Force brat.
You lived in Makiminato - so did I!
My two sons were born at "Camp Kue" (Kuwae) hospital which is now Camp Lester U.S. Naval Hospital. Actually the place is run jointly now by the Navy and Air Force.
Maybe the reason your friend didn't recognize Makiminato - just a guess, but maybe he (she) was there when it was called "Machinato" I think that was a "lazy" English way of pronouncing it.
Anyway, I lived at 171 Buchanon in "Machinato" housing back in 1974-75.
My second son was born while living there. I remember the school but never paid much attention since my kids were just babies. I DO remember the commissary there though.
Well, Angie, I returned to Okinawa in 1986 and, of course, went to see the places I'd lived in the early 70's. I found our old house in Awase and was kinda sad when I got to Makiminato.... that whole area was given back to the Okinawans some years earlier and most of the houses had been torn down and the land returned to sugar cane. Now some of the houses were preserved and were being used by the landowners. Many of the old Army housing units there stood abandoned and deteriorating. It was like a ghost-town and I recall the spooky feeling I felt as I got out of my van and walked through the yards, peered through the broken glass windows and, in one case went through an open door into a long-ago abandoned home. There was still a tag outside the door - "Gunnery Sergeant Walker." I still get a li'l chill when I think of it now. I remember walking through that house, thinking of the many, many American military families who had lived, loved, laughed and cried in those rooms.
My old house was gone.
Angie, I too love Okinawa and will never be truely happy unless I can go again! What I would really like is to be able to live there again. Unfortunately, Okinawa and its economy have grown like crazy and it is far too expensive. But... I know that I SHALL return to that peaceful land of beauty again - if only for a visit.
Thank you, Angie for taking the time to mail me and for visiting one of my websites. I don't know how long ago you were on the pages - I've fairly recently begun my "Memoires" and will soon be getting into the "Machinato Era." Watch for additions!! *grin* That's me... never pass up an opportunity to promote my pages!!! HehHehHeh!!!!!
It is truely a pleasure to have read your comments and I love being able to reply to you.
So..... Belt, Montana, huh? That's another amazing similarity! Belt is about 20 miles to the east of my town, Great Falls! I'm a "transplant" though, having been born in Plattsburgh, New York - WAY upstate in the Adirondack Mountains and on Lake Champlain. Raised al over and then I put my own 20 years in. So, I picked Montana back in 72 and finally settled back here after I retired in 1990.
Angie, this has been a fun message and I hope to hear from you again!! Meanwhile, say "HiSai" to your family on island!!
I emailed your reply to my brother and he was just as heartbroken
as I was to hear of what became of Makiminato. We would occasionnaly
entertain the thought of returning there and reliving old memories. I do
not know the name of the street we lived on but I do remember that our
house number was 1415. We lived about two blocks away from school in front
of the big hill/rock called habu hill. It's funny the things I remember. I
can pretty much draw a map (without the street names) of the whole base. I
lived there between the ages of 8 to 12 so my friends and I did alot of
walking on the base. I spent most of my time at the youth center and the
skating rink located by the commissary. Also I got my first military ID
card at the age of ten so I also spent alot my time at PX. I also remember
alot about the surrounding areas outside of the base. My friends and I
used to slip out of the holes in the fence and go off base and spend our
yen that was transferred from american money (250 yen to the dollar at the
time)at the Tokyu hotel. The hotel also had alot of nice shops. We would
also walk to Naha to the big Mall called Dinaha. After I got my ID card
there was no stopping me. My friends and I would often take the shuttle
bus that went from base to base and went shopping. Our favorite places
were Camp Butler (it had a great PX and movie theater) and of course Kadena
(the best place to shop). I also visited Kuwae alot because it was home
for my family and I for four months until we could get into base housing.
And the real truth about my familiarity with the areas outside of the base
is because we often missed the last shuttle bus at 5:00 pm and found
ourselves walking home. Eventually one of the parents would figure out we
had missed the bus and go out looking for us. Those times were alot
differnt than now. I would kill my son if he ever pulled that on me! I
have lost touch with all of my friends that I had over there. Although we
did keep in touch for along time after we were all transferred to the
States. Especially one of my friends, Leanne Collins. When the dreaded
day came that we could no longer stay in Okinawa and my father had
exhausted all of his extentions and was being stationed to El Toro,
Califronia, my friend Leanne's father, Tom Collins (I'm not kidding), was
also being stationed there at the same time. So we got to stay together
for a while longer. The funny thing about moving to the states were all of
the american channels we got (not just channel 8). I can say that living
in Okinawa let me live through alot of cultures that alot of people will
never get to see in a life time and I an thankful for that. All of my
friends, except one, were half and half. Terri (half Thai), Leanne (half
japanese, like me), Verna (half phillipino), Patricia (half Korean). They
all had american fathers in the military.
I also called my father after I got your email and told him everything. He
was in shock about Makiminato, but pleased that there was a website out
there like yours (I gave him the address) and started reminicing about the
good 'ole days, as a matter of fact, I bet he's on your website right now.
My parents have been entertaining the thought of moving to Japan when my
father retires again. He is an engineer for an international diving
company. He just got back from Scotland (six weeks on and six weeks off).
He travels just as much now as he did in the military (and he thought those
days were over with). My mother misses her country and her family misses
her. We have been in the states 15 years and she has gone to see her
family a couple of times. But it is not the same. And you know what? I
understand how she feels.
Thanks for the conversation and the information. Keep in touch, I love
hearing stories about that wonderful time when Makiminato was a great place
Well, lemme see if maybe someone can help out here:
Are there any readers who are still on island who'd be willing to
trek into the old Maki housing area and see if 1415 is still there?
As I recall, eight years ago anyway, there were still some of the old
houses standing. If so, please contact Angie and let her know. I
bet she'd even love to have a photo, heart-breaking as it might be,
of her old house and the school, PX and other buildings she might
recognize. I know she'd love ya for it!! *smilin'*Mick
e-mail her: Angie
I was stationed on Torii Station in 1990-1993. I have since lost touch
with some of the Okinawan secuirty guards that work for the 10th ASG
Provost Marshal. Any assistance you could provide would be deeply
appreciated. My e-mail address is Bloes2265@aol.com. Thank you.
Send me your own story!!
Send me your own story!!
...and Richard did write more...
If you think anyone would be interested in what I had to say, go
ahead and use it. I can tell more, but it will take some review of
old photos, etc., to get me started.
I was in Barracks 717. We shared it with the 15th TAC Recon Wing FMS. They
were flying RF101's, then RF4's later. All the ammo guys, EOD, weapons and
missile guys were together. I worked on the flight line on the "Black Pad"
most of the time, but we all had time in the other areas, especially in the
storage areas in the boonies. I got to see Ie Shima and the Ernie Pyle
Memorial, as we often went there to clear the bomb range.
We use to bet money with the new guys on the NFL game of the week. It took
them awhile to find out that the game was taped a week earlier! All of us
suffered that fate when we were new("jeeps"). It was funny to see shows
broadcast in Japanese; we would turn down the sound and turn on the
simulcasts on AFRS, for the English. I will never forgot seeing the Lone
Ranger, when I was in Japan, and Tonto calling him Kemo-sabe-san.
There have obviously been many changes in 30 years. I hope for the Ryukians
it is all for the better.
I've been looking at your pictures and story of the big town of Koza and
gate 2 and B C street, as I look at them I realize it sure has changed since
I was there, everything looks modern and not as dirty and slumy as it did
when I was there. Plus we were never allowed to eat downtown at all, I
remember the open fish markets, the fish laying out in the sun and the
maggots on them and the people buying them, the people stopping and
squatting and relieving them selves in the street and throwing their water
out the windows. I remember the game rooms but they were so small for me at
6 foot to get into and I remember the strip bars and the guys standing
outside shouting!!SHOW!SHOW! number1 momma san!!I often look back and laugh
at all the stuff we did and seen!! I remember going out gate 2 and walking
to the street that goes across gate 2 and going left and there was a pearl
shop that I bought my wife one there as an engagement ring till I could
afford a diamond!! And I bought Noritake china which we still have from a
shop on that street!!but I can't remember the name of it!!All those crazy
taxi drivers and how they drove and you wondered if you were gonna make it
back to the gate!!thats probably why they put in the walkways to protect all
the drunk airmen!!HA!!
I explored the island and went to suicide cliff! I think it was on the
north side of the island, I'll have to get out my stuff and look, its been a
long time since I did that. I remember all the hotels and entertainment that
was there and all the fun we had with that, taking guys downtown and telling
the girls that they were Okinawa cherry boys and than they weren't!!HA!!
I was there when the B-52 crashed and almost went into downtown and the
protest that caused, I was on the ramp on the wall when it blew and knock me
off of it, I saw the tail go straight up in the air and the gunner jump out
before it crashed, he got out just after mach 1, and survived I think the
rest was killed and died later from burns!!I remember riding those buses to
the flight line from up on the hill and the squadron was 4252 if I remember
right and we had girls doing out laundry and shoes and cleaning our rooms
Well thats enough for now and I'll look for some of my stuff and write some
later if I remember anything else or if you jog my memory any more, I had
forgot about BC street until you jog it!HA! take care