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okinawa scrap book

Mail Bag
Page Five

Visitor: Don Ray
Burbank, CA
July 17, 1999
donray@donray.com
Dear Mick:
Thanks for the great photos and music. When I saw you went to Yomitan, my heart dropped. I was only in Okinawa for about six or seven weeks, but my memories and my photos bring me such happiness. I have a friend -- married to a Marine -- who was stationed on Okinawa for the past couple of years. I begged her to shoot some pictures of the places I trained and played -- Machinato Dog School (U.S. Army M.P. Sentry Dogs), Yomitan Dog School, Kadena Gate 2 Street (I didn't drink or anything, but it was the place everyone went) and Bolo Point. She wasn't able to shoot the pictures before she came home.
I was there from about May until July 1st, 1968. I spent maybe a week at the Machinato Dog School. It was on the south end of Buckner Bay -- not too far from Kadena AFB. There were small outcroppings of hills behind the school. Across the highway to Naha was an enlisted man's club on the water. A new friend and I walked out in the shallow coral and marveled over the electric fish that would light up at night. By day, I would walk south on the road to Naha, past a junkyard of seemingly thousands of 2 1/2-ton trucks, 3/4 ton trucks and other WWII leftovers. There was a baseball field on the ocean side of the road beyond that. The Okinawans would play baseball there and ocassionally let me be their umpire. Interesting and wonderful people.
After about a week half of us were transferred up to Yomitan. It was nothing but a flat plateau. Our school was in the middle of flat nothing -- maybe 400 yards east of the small runway. We trained out dogs in the tall elephant grass between our kennels and the airfield. It was there we walked up on top of a small rise and almost fell off what seemed to be a cliff. When we approached it from the other side, we discovered we had been walkiing on those amazing Japanese hangars. So invisible we could be on top of them and not know it. I don't remember seeing the plaques you photographed, but someone told us that the Japanese were flying missions from up there while the U.S. troops were down where Kadena is.
From up there we could watch the B52s take of on their way to Vietnam. Once in a great while, we'd see an SR-71 take off. That was the thrill of thrills.
We didn't have any food facilities at the Yomitan school. For meals we'd load up in two deuce-and-a-halfs and race to Torii Station to eat at the then Air Force mess hall. There was absolutely nothing between the school and Torii Station. It was either a very poorly paved road or a dirt road we'd take. I remember because we almost got killed three times a day on the trip to chow. You see, at the Torii Station mess hall, there was always a line that winded itself around the inside of the building and then trailed outside. Here's where the problem was. If you were stuck outside waiting in line when the bugals sounded Revele (sp?), you had to stand at attention and salute (and miss some of the better food that others might take). As it turns out, one truck-load of hungry dog handlers would take the line to the door -- the second truckload would be stuck outside. Because of that, the drivers raced at incredibly dangerous speeds to get there first. Usually, the second truck was right behind, so everyone would jump from the trucks and race on foot for an inside place in line. One guy ran in front of another truck, hot hit and broke his arm. For me it was a nightmare because we'd fly up in the air on each bump. I would hold on for dear life.
Our biggest fear there was the infamous "haboo" -- the local snake. Only one of us got bit -- one of the dogs. But it put the fear into us.
I remember going exploring somewhere -- through some neighborhoods somewhere -- where we discovered some of those wonderfully preserved graves with the ceramic pots outside of them. Oh how I wish I could go back as someone older than 19 and learn more about the people, the history, the 2nd World War, the geography, the language, etc.
Oh, Bolo Point. I don't know if they still call it that, but it was up the west coast north of Kadena (probably highway 58 in your pictures) to where the road ended. It was a grassy shooting range across the road from the most beautiful coral shores I've ever seen. Years later when I learned to SCUBA dive, I dreamed of going back there. We trained out dogs on the grassy area. Of course, "bolo" came from the shooting range term I remember as meaning "you missed!" I wonder if the area is a classy golf course now or a city of condos. I really wish I could go back.
I have photos of the dog training on Yomitan and at Bolo Point and pictures from the hills above the Machinato Dog School. I took one shot from the losing truck on the race to chow and a shot of the Torii of Torii Station. I even have a shot of guys racing up the steps.The last picture I took was at Naha Air Force Base as they loaded us and our dogs onto two C130s and flew through a nasty storm and on to Vietnam.
My first impression of Okinawa was when we first landed there. As we were wiating to be picked up, a planeload of soldiers returning from Vietnam had deplaned for fuel. They were going home. I'll never forget one of them warning us, "They're really taking names down there."
Thanks for letting me take a mental journey back to that lovely place.
Don Ray
Burbank, California
Hi, Don Ray!! *hearty handshake*
Wow! What a great message you e-mailed me! It's so good to know there are so many of us out there who have such fond memories! You mentioned Bolo Point as I'm sitting here dubbing a copy of a video of Bolo!! What a coincidence! The beautifully rugged coral cliffs, the wind and the sea bashing away at the base of the cliffs. Beautiful! And... the tape ends with the SR-71 making several passes before finally landing at Kadena!
I used to live in Machinato (during my first tour on Okinawa) - it's now called Makiminato and the housing area and base is long gone. Really sad. When I returned in the mid-1980s my wife and I drove down to the Machinato housing area and found the street (Buchanon) where we used to live but the house was gone. Many of the houses further up where the commissary used to be were still standing. It's all been turned back to the Okinawan farmers from whom the Army leased the land.
If you're at all interested in videotapes of Okinawa, I happen to have a set of six 2-hour tapes. You can take a look at them at the eBay on-line auction!
or, If you'd like, I can send you a description of what's on each of them. The Bolo Point and SR-71 video is at the end of Tape #3.
With your permission, I'd like to add your recollections to my "Mailbag." I'll leave your name off if you prefer, but if you don't mind, I'd like to use it. I've had the pleasure of having played a small part in re-uniting some old friends - one would read one of the entries in my mailbag and say, "Hey! I know that guy!" and would e-mail him.... it's great!
Thank you, Don, for coming by one of my websites - I'm happy you enjoyed the tour!!
S. A. "Mick" McClary
http://GreatFallsMontana.net

(ed: we continue to correspond)

Visitor: Fred Gohlke
Reference: Goodness knows (I'm sorry)
Location: Carteret, New Jersey
Contact: fredgohlke@erols.com
Date: Mon, May 31, 1999 at 19:28:53 (EDT)
Comments: Remarkable! Thank you very much for all the work that went into this wonderful site. My wife and I just spent an hour looking around and enjoying ourselves. My wife is Okinawan, and our oldest daughter (the first of seven children) was born at the Army Hospital at Machinato in 1952. I was in the Air Force and served at Kadena, Naha, Yontan, and (what we called) Bishigawa between 1951 and 1954. In addition to my enjoyment of your site, I was suprised to learn that I am not the only person who senses the unusually beauty nature of the Okinawan people. We had the good fortune to return to Okinawa for a visit in late 1997. It seems that I was even more profoundly affected than my wife was. Thank you very much for your time and effort. Fred Gohlke

Visitor: Christopher L. Daniel
Reference: Referred by Mick
Location: Houston, Texas
Contact: Cdaniel2@ect.enron.com
Date: Mon, Jan 18, 1999 at 13:36:05 (EST)
Comments: Both you and Gunny Northrop bring back memories of wanting to be over there in the Best Place in the World that I have ever visited or wanted to live in. If I ever had the job opportunity, money and housing to live over there I would do it in the blink of an eye. I don't know much Okinawa language but would like to have learned more. I also used to work that the Futenma USO in 1992. All of those pics and places that you have on here are really great. And I certainly appreciate all the good hard work that you have done to put this site together. Keep up the good work and let everyone know that if you ever get to be stationed in that most beautiful place, just to be ready for the heat and I did forget about the Benjo ditches that is a good time memory. If you ever get any pics of the Seawall try to get them posted too... I also enjoyed the drive on the toll road all the way from Naha City to Nago point - got to go as fast as that little car could run... My advice to military members going over there is Quality in life is what you make of Okinawa i.e. get out and see the island no matter how long you are going to live there from 1 to 3 years there are always that you will always look back on and regret that you did not get to see anything, like I do... I wish I did get my scuba license there it would have been CHEAPER. Well Mick see you later and thanks for the reference to you homepage, SEMPER FI do or die as the Marine Corps would say.... OOHRAH!!!!

Visitor: Sandra Miller
Reference:
Location: Tulsa OK
Contact: sjm1209@aol.com< Date: Mon, Jan 18, 1999 at 09:58:31 (EST)
Comments: Thanks for letting me know about your website. I had found Gunny Northrop's site while searching for info on Okinawa because my son was being sent to Okinawa 8-Jan but 2 weeks before his pre-PCS/Christmas leave, his orders were changed and is now at Ft Meade in Maryland (that's the Army for you!!) I have not gotten to view your entire site yet, but you have done a fantastic job! I will definitely be back to continue my tour... Happy 1999!!!

Visitor: Albert Brown
Reference: Surf in
Location: Ashley Ohio
WebSite: U.S.S. Nicholas DD449 WWII History
Web Info: U.S. Navy destroyer WWII History
Contact: browncraft@midohio.net
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 1999 at 19:36:20 (EST)
Comments: Thanks Mick for sending me your page, They are great, as you read the war history of the U.S.S. Nicholas you will see that we was at Okinawa also in takeing it back from the Japs. I was 19 yrs. old at the time my son Robert who was also a marine was there on his 19th birthday when they gave Okinawa her freedom. The U.S.S. Nicholas was named after Samuel B. Nicholas the very first marine Major, That is why we was such agreat fighting ship one of the best in naval history. Her bell is now in the Marine museum. Ther is a new Ship by the same name that is a missile ship Number 47, The are carring on the same tradition of the good name of the U.S.S. Nicholas FFG47 This is a gret site you have here From and Ole Salty Sailor to a Great Marine Good luck and great Sailing

Visitor: Paul B. Missett, Jr. Reference: The Gunny's page WebSite: Hard Charger Apparel
Web Info: Clothing with Armed Forces logos.
Contact: paul@hardcharger.com
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 1999 at 13:11:50 (EST)
Comments: Mick: Great site! You certainly did your homework about The Rock! I really enjoyed seeing your scrapbook of pictures. I felt like I was a 19 year old private again on Camp Schwab.

Visitor: Del Loewe
Reference: Referred by Mick
Location: Northern California
Contact: DLoewe8035@aol.com
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 1999 at 10:34:12 (EST)
Comments: Mick- A terrific site. Okinawa is a place everyone should get a chance to visit, through this site, they can. My first visit was to geographical/historical/political sections, but I will visit often and see them all. Bravo Zulu! Del L.

Visitor: Calvin Jackson
Reference: linked here from your e-mail....
Location: North Carolina originally, California, lately
Contact: jackson_calvin@emc.com
Date: Mon, Jan 18, 1999 at 19:33:09 (EST)
Comments: You site is quite a piece of work! You should publish your story in hard copy - would make a great little novel! I wasn't married while in Okinawa as you were, so I don't have all the experiences there that you have. I served at Camp Courtney (G-4) from Jan '78 to January '79 (including the traffic change on 7/31....) in the USMC. We used to go to Kadena sometimes to get some REAL chow... and a real Exchange!! What I can tell you is that I didn't appreciate the island until I was preparing to leave! I'd like to visit there again, but I'm almost afraid it would spoil my memories!! Anyway, great job - thanks for the invititation to visit your site! I'll check back from time to time to see what's new.

Visitor: Jerry F. Barnes
Reference: Naomies
Location: Born In King Hill, Idaho
WebSite: Okinawa Memories
Contact: JF-Barnes@worldnet.att.net
Date: Mon, Feb 01, 1999 at 12:10:08 (EST)
Comments: My Stay on the Island of Okinawa (Keystone of the Pacific). I went to Okinawa first in Aug 1962 to Apr 1964. Then I was with 1st HARB (USMC) in the Sukiran Area. They were to heavy and were disband and then I was transferred to HQ-2-12 Marines also in the Sukiran Area. I was stationed with USA STRATCOM LL BN S from Oct 1971 to Jun 1976. I returned to Okinawa again in Jun 1978 to Jul 1980 and was assigned to USACC-J S. I have ran across people that worked at Makiminato Telephone Exchange, Yadaki and Tengan sites from the WWW. All together I spent 9 and 1/2 years on Okinawa. I enjoyed Okinawa very much during my stay there. It is like my second country and I hope to visit Okinawa again soon. I am looking for the following: Yoshiko Taira (Kaiko) who was my wife. DOB 10/10/41 Born Nakijin, Okinawa Rinko Taira Age 48 Their family register was maintained in Nakijin, Okinawa The last family address the last I know was 131 Ban Aza Furugima, Naha, City, Okinawa John P. and Reiko Montoya (Old and dear friends) Please feel free to visit my WEB page or send me a e-mail message should you remember me, can help me in finding any of the above, or have a fond memory that you would like to post on my WEB page.
Jerry F. Barnes Please visit my WEB Page: http://home.att.net/~jf-barnes/okinawa.html

Visitor: Helen Moscicke
Reference: from your email invitation
Location: Originally..Chicago and now..Hot Springs, AR
Contact: moscicke@ipa.net
Date: Sat, Jan 30, 1999 at 15:51:19 (EST)
Comments: Hi..thanks for your invite to visit your site..it is without a doubt the best I have seen and read. I can't believe this is the Okinawa I knew in the 50,s...the changes are remarkable. I enjoyed the island when I was there for 24 months. We spend 2-4 weeks in Hawaii each year (at the military hotel, the Hale Koa) and have met many people who have served in Okinawa. The younger people tell us about how populated the island has become. My fondest memories are of the beautiful beaches, wide open spaces, and gorgeous sunsets! I really didn't miss typhoon season as they always began on Fri nite and ended Sun nite...ugh! At the time I was there, the population was mainly military and hard for me to believe in seeing all of your pictures that it is the same island. Thank you so much for letting me share them. When I returned from Okinawwa, I was assigned recruiting duty in Chicao where I remained for 5 years, met a fine man (my boss) and we married in 1958. Bob finished 28 years in the Army, we raised a gorgeous daughter (now 36 and gave us a great grandson, 15 year old, Matthew. Her hubby is with a large computer firm, Oracle, and they live in Maryland. We decided Chicago was too busy, too snowy, and too cold so, moved here to Hot Springs 5 years ago and love it. We live up off the lake (many lakes here) and have a gorgeous view of the mountains. We travel a lot and keep very busy. Again, congrats on your great site..I looked at it all.
Thanks, Helen You certainly have a gorgeous family!

Visitor: Jim Busby
Reference: Searching Air Force
Location: Kentucky !!
Contact: jebusby@dynasty.net
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 1999 at 19:36:06 (EST)
Comments: Appreciate your work! Great to see 'good' things going on! 22 l/2 years in the USAF good for me. Thru the net I have located 50 friends/alumni from Itazuke AB, Japan l951-55 era during the KW. We are trying to work up a reunion this summer or soonest. God Speed, Keep Up the Good Work. J.E.Busby, SMS (USAF-Ret) 52-74. Addendum. What a thrill, one of the gentlemen that I located was 'my first boss' in the USAF: Samuel L. Chiles, Maj. USAF [Ret], now 84 years young and living in Savanah, GA. Wow, the USAF continues to be good to me. See you in the big sky ! Sincerely, Jim Busby, SMSgt, USAF(Ret)

Visitor: Bruce Scotty MacLeod
Reference: Surfed in looking for Okinawa pages
Location: San Francisco, CA
Contact: sgtmac@pacbell.net
Date: Wed, Mar 31, 1999 at 19:21:41 (EST)
Comments: Absolutely the greatest. I applaude the effort you have put into this web site. The aerial photo of Okinawa is greatly appreciated as are the ones of the bases. I served as a Marine on Oki from Mar '59 to Jun '60. Was stationed at the original Camp Butler (which shared the base compound with Camp McTureous). Pulled most of my liberty in and around Koza. I recently re-established contact with an old friend from those days in Michigan and will pass along the info on this web site. He'll love it. Am also in contact with an Okinawan lady who worked as a civilian on Camp Butler around 1968. Will also let her know. I really miss that land and its people. I know some Americans have expressed rather negative thoughts about Okinawa, but I'm willing to wager they never got beyond the bars to really get to know the people and the real island. I have talked (via e-mail) with a couple of vets from my era who recently returned there for a visit, and their impressions convince me I am better off with my memories of the Okinawa I knew. Also want to thank you for the great music pieces. I didn't have much luck playing any of the sounds (have Real G2, but didn't get anything) but will try again next visit. Best wishes to you, and keep up the great work.

Visitor: Dave Letterman
Reference: You invited me, you moron!
Location: Indiana
WebSite: Are you kidding me?
Web Info: Like I have to TELL you, huh?
Contact: lswdl@aol.com
Date: Sat, Mar 06, 1999 at 00:46:52 (EST)
Comments: Yeah, HEY!
Thanks for the invitation. Paul says Hi too. I have to go. Monica's waiting for me, ya know.

Visitor: Howard Al Massel
Reference: eBay auctions mutual interests
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Contact: courier777@webtv.net
Date: Sun, Feb 28, 1999 at 12:26:12 (EST)
Comments: Hi Mick just thought I would sign your guestbook on your wonderful Okinawa web pages. I served in the USAF from 67-87 and retired MSgt. I was also a PACAF rat serving 16 of my 20 years in PACAF. I was stationed at Kadena AB, Okinawa, CCK AB, Taiwan, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, Yokota AB, Japan, Sunnyvale AFS, California, and finally Falcon AFS, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Visitor: Melissa Osborn
Reference: Your e-mail
Location: Everywhere ;o) Marine Corps Brat
WebSite: Melissa's Biohazard
Contact: Visolela@hotmail.com
Date: Fri, Feb 12, 1999 at 00:29:50 (EST)
Comments: I was checking your page out, because I wanted to find some appropriate links for my webpage, seeing as I haven't had the time to do what I wish for the subject of Okinawa in my life. Your site is wonderful. Keep up the superb work. Thanks for all your time and effort you put into it.

Visitor: Robert Beard
Reference: military sevice in the ARMY
Location: Birmingham, Al
Date: Wed, Feb 10, 1999 at 09:50:26 (EST)
Comments: The island was yhr most beatiful place that I have seen. It was full of exciting new culture for a little country boy from Alabama. I'm married now and wanted my wife to see the place that I'm always taliking about. Thanks for your pictures and information.

Visitor: Chuck and Ikuko
Reference: alta vista
Location: spanaway, washington
Contact: iwilder@msn.com
Date: Sun, Feb 07, 1999 at 05:03:07 (EST)
Comments: Thank you for posting such a nice web site

Visitor: Jerry F. Barnes
Reference: Naomies
Location: Born In King Hill, Idaho
WebSite: Okinawa Memories
Contact: JF-Barnes@worldnet.att.net
Date: Mon, Feb 01, 1999 at 12:10:08 (EST)
Comments: My Stay on the Island of Okinawa (Keystone of the Pacific). I went to Okinawa first in Aug 1962 to Apr 1964. Then I was with 1st HARB (USMC) in the Sukiran Area. They were to heavy and were disband and then I was transferred to HQ-2-12 Marines also in the Sukiran Area. I was stationed with USA STRATCOM LL BN S from Oct 1971 to Jun 1976. I returned to Okinawa again in Jun 1978 to Jul 1980 and was assigned to USACC-J S. I have ran across people that worked at Makiminato Telephone Exchange, Yadaki and Tengan sites from the WWW. All together I spent 9 and 1/2 years on Okinawa. I enjoyed Okinawa very much during my stay there. It is like my second country and I hope to visit Okinawa again soon. I am looking for the following: Yoshiko Taira (Kaiko) who was my wife. DOB 10/10/41 Born Nakijin, Okinawa Rinko Taira Age 48 Their family register was maintained in Nakijin, Okinawa The last family address the last I know was 131 Ban Aza Furugima, Naha, City, Okinawa John P. and Reiko Montoya (Old and dear friends) Please feel free to visit my WEB page or send me a e-mail message should you remember me, can help me in finding any of the above, or have a fond memory that you would like to post on my WEB page. Jerry F. Barnes Please visit my WEB Page:
http://home.att.net/~jf-barnes/okinawa.html

Visitor: Helen Moscicke
Reference: from your email invitation
Location: Originally..Chicago and now..Hot Springs, AR
Contact: moscicke@ipa.net
Date: Sat, Jan 30, 1999 at 15:51:19 (EST)
Comments: Hi..thanks for your invite to visit your site..it is without a doubt the best I have seen and read. I can't believe this is the Okinawa I knew in the 50,s...the changes are remarkable. I enjoyed the island when I was there for 24 months. We spend 2-4 weeks in Hawaii each year (at the military hotel, the Hale Koa) and have met many people who have served in Okinawa. The younger people tell us about how populated the island has become. My fondest memories are of the beautiful beaches, wide open spaces, and gorgeous sunsets! I really didn't miss typhoon season as they always began on Fri nite and ended Sun nite...ugh! At the time I was there, the population was mainly military and hard for me to believe in seeing all of your pictures that it is the same island. Thank you so much for letting me share them. When I returned from Okinawwa, I was assigned recruiting duty in Chicao where I remained for 5 years, met a fine man (my boss) and we married in 1958. Bob finished 28 years in the Army, we raised a gorgeous daughter (now 36 and gave us a great grandson, 15 year old, Matthew. Her hubby is with a large computer firm, Oracle, and they live in Maryland. We decided Chicago was too busy, too snowy, and too cold so, moved here to Hot Springs 5 years ago and love it. We live up off the lake (many lakes here) and have a gorgeous view of the mountains. We travel a lot and keep very busy. Again, congrats on your great site..I looked at it all.
Thanks, Helen You certainly have a gorgeous family!

Visitor: Jim Busby
Reference: Searching Air Force
Location: Kentucky !!
Contact: jebusby@dynasty.net
Date: Wed, Jan 27, 1999 at 19:36:06 (EST)
Comments: Appreciate your work! Great to see 'good' things going on! 22 l/2 years in the USAF good for me. Thru the net I have located 50 friends/alumni from Itazuke AB, Japan l951-55 era during the KW. We are trying to work up a reunion this summer or soonest. God Speed, Keep Up the Good Work. J.E.Busby, SMS (USAF-Ret) 52-74.
Addendum. What a thrill, one of the gentlemen that I located was 'my first boss' in the USAF: Samuel L. Chiles, Maj. USAF [Ret], now 84 years young and living in Savanah, GA. Wow, the USAF continues to be good to me. See you in the big sky !
Sincerely,
Jim Busby, SMSgt, USAF(Ret)

Visitor: Terry McCammon
Reference: Mick Mail
Contact: camn8r@webtv.net
Date: Wed, Jan 20, 1999 at 00:35:56 (EST)
Comments: Great job. was there in 70-71 with family and loved it. Have not seen all of your site but did you include the imfamous GECKO!!
No! I haven't done anything about the wonderful spider and mosquito eating gecko! Not a bad idea!

More in the bag!

Page 1 of MailBag
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4


Return to Scrapbook Menu Go to the Naha Harhi Boat Races Go to Nakagusuku Castle
Koza Yaki Pottery Go to Nakamura House Faces of Okinawa
Hands Around Kadena Nago Jyo Southeast Botanical Garden
Peek at the military side Potpourri Odds & Ends

Shuri Castle site Angel of Mori-no Kawa Shi-shi Lion
Downtown, Southern Okinawa More People More Scenes
Return to Okinawa

Return to Mick's Big Sky




Webmaster: Mick McClary P.O. Box 6245, Great Falls, Montana 59406