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okinawa scrap book

Mail Bag
Page Two

I've created this page so that we can all enjoy the stories that so many people have experienced on Okinawa. Got a story of your own ya wanna share? After you've read these, please take a while to reminisce, write it down and e-mail it to me! If you have scanned pics that go with your story then e-mail that too! If you don't have a scanner but trust me and the Postal Service, mail the pics to me with a self addressed stamped return envelope and I'll scan it/them and return it to you!
Now, read and enjoy!!

Return to Okinawa, by James Grogan.
Ya gotta read this, friends!

Visitor: Catherine Valenza
Reference: Looking for Okinawan weather pages ( hoping a typhoon will come)
Location: Okinawa, Japan
Web Info:
Date: Wed, Jun 10, 1998 at 01:08:06 (EDT)
Comments: I haven't gone through most of your pages yet, but so far your site seems pretty interesting. I am an Airman stationed on Kadena. This is my first duty station, and I am from Alaska. So this is a big change for me. I am hoping for a typhoon soon. I need a few days off work!*smile* I am also into diving, so I am looking forward to your diving page.
Hi, Catherine!
Wow! I do envy YOU!! *grin*
I'd love to be back over there!! It's hard for some people to understand how a person can miss a place so much. I've lived in MANY places around the world and the US, but Okinawa is far and away my favorite!!
Take advantage of every opportunity!
I'd be fibbin' if I said I'm not interested in seeing your pics! Please... send along any that you'd like!!
Thanks for coming by the Okinawa site and I hope you'll be back!
By the way, how did you find my pages? If you used a search engine, which did you use? If it was a link on someone else's page, do you remember whose it was? "See" ya again!!
Domo arigato gozaimasu!!

Visitor: Donna (Woodall) Kroff
Reference: lots of luck!!
Location: West Jordan, Utah
Web Info:
Date: Wed, May 27, 1998 at 11:46:26 (EDT)
Comments: I was born in Okinawa at Camp Kuwae army hospital in 1969 (My dad, Woody Woodall was in the Air Force). I only stayed 6 mos, but have always been fascinated by anything about my birthplace. I loved to see the pictures and read about Okinawa from someone who obviously loves it!! Thanks!
Hi, Donna!!
Sure took me long enough to get back to you, huh?? *blush* I'm sorry!!
My two sons, ages 25 and 23 were both born also at Camp Kuwae! The Army doesn't have the hospital anymore though. It's now the US Naval Hospital Okinawa and Camp Kuwae was changed to Camp Lester. Dang!! Things do change, eh? *grin*
I'm glad you came by to take a look at my pages about Okinawa and sincerely hope that you enjoyed the "tour!" I also sincerely hope that you'll be back.... and bring your friends!!!
I didn't get to Okinawa (my first time) until 1972 so I must have missed you and your dad!! What kind of work did he do? I was at the clinic at Kadena until 1975 when I and another medic went down to run the small clinic at Naha. There are no longer any American military at Naha and the old Naha housing area is gone. The Army housing at Machinato (Makiminato) is also gone - turned back over to the Okinawan farmers who owned the land. It's sad to see the old "haunts" going away but I'm very happy for the Okinawans who do get to have their land back. I think we (American military) ought to get rid of a lot more of our "holdings" there and let them have their lands back! Again, thanks for coming by, Donna!!

Visitor: Michael E. Mayer
Reference: Search on Kadena
Location: Fremont CA
WebSite: N/A
Web Info:
Date: Wed, May 27, 1998 at 01:02:50 (EDT)
Comments: Just had a chance to review the military page and looks like you have put quite a bit of time into this. I was on Kadena/Torii Station from 77-81. I was with the 6990th ESG which supplied the backenders for the RC-135s. Cannot wait to check out your diving page. That was the best diving ever. I got into serious sea shell collecting while I was there. Also earned my degree from UMD and my ninor was Asian Studies so it will be fun to go through your other pages on Okinawain history and culture.
Hi, Michael!!
Please forgive me for taking so long to reply! I'm happy ya stopped by one of my websites and hope you'll come back from time to time as I expand and update.
I'm intrigued by your Asian studies and invite... no, I plead with you to get back to me if you spot any historical or factual errors. And, of course, I'm ALWAYS looking for additional information - so anyhting you'd like to offer, please do. Be assured, I'll post credit to you for any information or photos that you might see fit to offer!
Thanks, again, Michael for taking the time to peruse the pages and to drop me a note!!
*hearty handshake*

Visitor: Mr. David R. Chipps
Reference: Pow-Wow link
Location: Milford, Michigan USA
Web Info:
Date: Mon, May 25, 1998 at 14:33:18 (EDT)
Comments: Hi Mick, I did a tour of duty on Okinawa in 1964 and 65. I was in the Army then, and was stationed in Machinato which was between Naha Airbase and Kadena Airbase, near Sukiran. I was a missile repairman, but because I was the only licensed amateur radio operator in my company, I was allowed to run the ham radio station in our company headquarters and I ran overseas phone-patch traffic for any and all military personel. I loved the weather there, typhoons and all.
I am retired from the Ford Motor Company where I was an industrial electrician for 31 years. I retired 7 years ago. I have 2 web sites up right now, one for my family and one for my local amateur radio club. I really like your web pages, very entertaining. Drop me a line and tell me about your Okinawa duty, who knows, we might become pen-pals....:-) By the way, I am 58 years old and am happily married to Patricia and I have 3 grown children.
Bye for now, Dave
ps; my homepage url is
Dave's Home Page
Dave's Radio Page
Hi, Dave!!
Hey, dude!! Thanks loads for writing and for stopping by the Okinawa website!!
I used to live at Machinato (Makiminato) Army housing back in 1975! I was in the AirForce then and was stationed at Kadena. I've bookmarked your page and will check it out soon!
Your first link though.... didn't work!
Write again, Dave.. and stop by the Okinawa Scrapbook - and send a friend!! *grin*

I was stationed on Kadena in 1965-67. Was in SAC (editor: Strategic Air Command) and was Maintenance Superintendent with the Electronic Maintenance organization, Ur pages brought us back. Daughter attended Kadena grade school and middle schools there, I also was with The 9th AEMS and was maintenance super in that squadron and we (had)the Black Birds TDY there. (editor: The "Black Bird" is the super secret recon/"spy" plane, SR-71. Actually, on Okinawa, by the 1970's the SR-71 was permanently assigned and was called the "Habu," named after a deadly viper known to anyone who's spent any time on island!)
Keep up the good work. Donald L Robinson CMSGT USAF RETIRED.
Hi there, Chief!! *hearty handshake*
Glad to hear from you and am sorry for the delay getting back to you! I'll offer no excuses but have a list of reasons!! *chuckle*
I envy you your experience on Okinawa BEFORE reversion! Indeed things were a bit more austere in the 50's and 60's but, Lord, how I wish I could have experienced the Okinawan culture there before US military was ingrained in their lifestyles.
Our presence on island notwithstanding, I enjoyed getting to know Okinawa and her people and will certainly go back! Being retired from the Air Force now but still working full- time for the department, getting away is almost impossible. Suppose I' ll have to wait until I'm retired "for real" before catchin' a hop over there!!
I miss that little island and that's why I'm so happy creating the Okinawa welcome and Scrapbook and why I enjoy people such as yourself, Chief, coming by to browse the pages!! *sigh*
Stay in touch, Don!

---------- From: cdurling[]
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 8:57 PM
Subject: Naha Air Base
Hi, Mick:
My name is Carl Durling. I served at the Nike Herc Site on Naha AFB from 4Jan60 thru 27Jul61. I thought you might be interested in an event that occured during one of my many standby shifts at this Site 8 Herc facility.
We were running an internal proficiency training test when we locked on to a target with no ping (UFO). It was traveling at 2500 knots, and did everything it could to dump us. We had to go to manual control in order to track it. I even switched my Missle Tracking Radar to Target Tracking mode so I could lock on to it also, and did. The target tried new ECM (electronic counter measures) that we had not seen before (we practiced against KADENA AF as well as NAHA AF planes). This guy was most unusual. Finally, we tracked it straight into KADENA and wached him land.
The next day the snoop group came out from HQ and debriefed us. A little later the pilot of the plane came out for a visit to our site, and we put on a demo for him. We later learned it was the first SR-71 to land at KADENA.
See ya
Carl Durling
I responded:
Hello, Carl!!
Wow!!! What a never-to-forget memory that is for you!! I'm wondering if it scared the beejeebers out of you!!

Yes, it did. But, not to brag, we were so well trained we it was not hard to focus on the job at hand. The scariest part was when the "Light" went to yellow (only five times to this level, and two of those were when we later went to "Red"). Yellow is "Ready to Fire", and the missles are armed but safties are still in. Red time is "safty off" (pins pulled).
I can only imagine what kinds of thoughts were racing through your mind as your skills were put to the test!
I was wishing we had a second Missle tracking Radar I could use, since we were only keeping the computer on the target because it was getting info from both the TTR and my MTR. We were also frantically trying to calculate whether the missle could actuall catch the thing. We quickly figured that the dumbest thing the target did was come at us since the scew speed of the radars was reduced to with the TTR's limits, and the turn rate for the missle was also placed within tolerence. This was part of the debriefing, and is still highly classified.
And congratulations, by the way!! You locked on and tracked him successfully!! Man!! Were you guys thinking Kadena was done for??
We at first thought we had another missle, but quickly discounted that since we never heard of ECM coming from a missle (although not unheard of today). When we went to Yellow (status changes came from HQ) I swiched back to MTR and locked my first four missles into my data bank, electronically tested each one, and set the first one ready to fire.
When you are in this mode, Yor are prepared to fire. It is a psycological thing trained into you. Our site was one of the most advanced Nike Herc sites in the world (we called State Side sites "the old guys"). In these sites the MTR operator was a backup to the IFC (Intergrated Fire Control) officer, and could fire the missle from my control pannel. This is the long way around to say that Kadena was never in any danger because we could have taken out the target well beyond that days enemy capability of hitting Kadena with anything. This was also part of the debriefing, and still classified.
Carl, may I have your permission to post your story on the Mail Bag page??
Yes. Let me know when and were it is done so I can read what you have written. And.... if you have more you can tell about that "mission" I'd love to read it!!
See above. Everything else about the event is still classified TOP SECRET.
Thanks loads, too, for coming by the Okinawa website! I hope you'll be back!
I have two other stories if you are interested. First one is "The Red China Defector", and "The Lebonon Crisis."
*hearty handshake*
Mick McClary

Fire First
Carl Durling

June 26th, 8:51pm
Hello again Carl!!
Thank you SOOOO much for the additional details! It is indeed a story to make a guy just pause and read! Hmmm.... you say you have other stories if I'm interested.
Let me say it this way........I'll be horribly disappointed if you do NOT send those stories along!!! What years were you in the service? What branch were you in? I ask because in 1972, Naha was host to Air Force, Navy and GOJ Navy Thanks again, Carl!
So, Saturday morning, 6-16-98, I checked my email and here's what I found:

I was stationed at Naha AFB from 4 January 1960 thru 27 July 1961. Yes, the Navy ported at the Naha port, but it was usually subs. Went on a sub tour once. I was in the Army. The IFC portion of the Nike Hercules site was on a hill which was surrounded by a golf course on three sides, and the main circular street on the east across (from) which was the AFB hangers and further east the air strip. Delta Darts and C-130s were the main type of Aircraft. Two Delta Darts were always "hot" as they were the first interceptors to take off. Beautiful at night with afterburners. This leads to one of the stories.
Late one day were heard two Darts take off, while at the same time HQ changed us from Green to Yellow. It took us about 1.5 min to set up and be ready to fire in a hot situation. Our own Aquisition radar tracked the two Darts heading for the target, which we already had aquired, and were tailing with our TTR. I had my missle up and electronically ready when we suddenly went to Red. This is scary since the pins are pulled from the missle. Over the command line I heard that the Aquisition Radar operator report that the two Darts had gone off-scope, and the target was still coming in slow (like a bomber). The target signature was very small for a bomber, however. I was ordered to change missles, which I did, and the pins on the new one were pulled.
Here we are, a missle battery on as hot a status as you can get, ready for order to fire, and just sitting as this plane came in. After what seemed forever, Aquisition reported two more targets showing at low altitude and rising, and neither pinging. Now we had three UFO targets. I confirmed I had missle two ready, and we continued to be held. Our IFC officer kept requesting permission to fire, and was denied. Then we lost radio contact with HQ. Boy, did that put me in a sweat! The Captain told me on the Command line not to report this situation to the TTR operators in the van with me since it would break their concentration.
Land line communications came through, and we were ordered to "Track and hold." HQ ask for my status, and I was told to hold. For 20 min we continued in this mode, our vans had been locked down and we were on filtered air. We tracked the three targets all the way into Kadena and watched one of them land (TTR guys reported on Tech line). We were ordered to stand down and place missles on Yellow status, and we went to Yellow.
What happened you ask? Radar detected the plane leaving China airspace and tracked it moving toward us. The two Darts intercepted, climbed above the target (it was dark by then) went into attack mode from above and behind, passed the target and continued into low altitude and went off the screens of all radars. The problem was the pilots had forgotten to turn on their IFF pingers. Radar interpretation was that they had been shot down by enemy waiting at low altitude. Why communications with the pilots didn't correct all of this was never explained.
Oh, the original target you ask? It was a Chinese defector with a Mig 21 who was flying at stall speed with wheels down, the international signal of a white flag.
When it was all over, and the vans were opened, we all had the shakes for about ten min.
Carl sent me this URL too. Check it out!! Alert!!!
And here's a look at a Nike missile site!

This was a response to my survey!
Unfortunately, there's no e-mail return address! Durn.... well, I hope (s)he'll be back here to read my reply:

Are you accessing this survey from : Okinawa
Please let me know what you think - what do you like? What don't you like? : I like everything you have on the pages about Okinawa, My favorite place on earth. I added your link to my small page. Thanks
Will you come back? : yes
Will you recommend my websites to your friends? : yes
How can I make my sites better? Please be specific? : Add traditional Okinawa music. I have not learned that yet
What do you think I should get rid of? : nothing
If you're here from my : I went to Okinawa in 1964 and did not like it there at first, because I had not been off Naha air base. Once I started seeing the island I fell in love with it and the people. Then I met my wife of thirty two years, had four great kidsand we go back to the island about every four or five years.
Do I have your permission to post your story on the : yes
Any additional comments? Thank you very much!! Domo arigato gozaimasu!!!! : Love your site. Keep up the good work, especially on Okinawa. See my humble web page at
If you found me via a websearch, please tell me which search engine you used. Thanks! Do come back! : Japan search
Many domos for coming by my Okinawa websites and even more domos for taking the time to share some thoughts with me. Indeed, I'd love to find more traditional Okinawan music sites.
I wish I knew how to create those RealAudio files!! I have a number of cassette tapes of Okinawa music and would love to be able to make those available! I guess I'd get into some trouble with copyright laws though... *shrug* Anyway, I DO have some links to great Okinawa music!! Please take a look again at my "Okinawa Scrapbook, Shishi Lion" page. At the bottom there are links to some music resources:
There are also some links to some perhaps more contemporary Okinawan music on my "Welcome to Okinawa, Sounds" page:
I'm always on the prowl, and promise that I'll put some in if I find more!! Thank you, Tomodachi!!
I'll be visiting your page just as soon as I post this!! *smile and a subtle bow* Arigato gozaimasu!!!
Ed: I got AOL's "File not found" when I tried to open that site! *shrug* Darn!!

Page 3 of MailBag
Page 1 of MailBag

Return to Scrapbook Menu Go to the Naha Harhi Boat Races Go to Nakagusuku Castle
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Webmaster: Mick McClary P.O. Box 6245, Great Falls, Montana 59406