featuring Robin Morgan, Loveland, Colorado
Just to fill you in as to my interest in seeing information about Okinawa, I am a Marine vet who was stationed at the MC Air Facilty at Futema in 1967-68 - The C130 squadron (VMGR 152). I was assigned to shuttle aircraft between Futema and DaNang in direct support of Marine combat forces. I was trained to be an AE (Aviation Electrician).
About 6 months of my 13 month tour in SE Asia was spent in Viet Nam supporting our aircraft there by repairing and assuring their safe operations from a maintenance perspective. Okinawa to me, as a 20 year old America youth who had never seen any other country outside the USA, was a literal paradise. The people of Okinawa were 100% in congeniality and courtesy to me and to every other Marine I can recall. Even when we, as hard-charging, energized young Marines combined with the thoughts of reason we were even in this area of the world, did not always conduct ourselves as gentlemen...... the Okinawan people somehow seemed to forgive us our many trespasses.
I'm sure you might imagine what memories I have of the scene on BC Street in Koza. Well, I eventually got away from that scene and began to spend my liberty on weekends touring the island with a Special Services guide from the Philippines. He was with the Marines during the WW2 invasion and served as interpreter. He fell in love with the country and never left. On my first bus tour, he made such a strong impression on me with his immense knowledge of the history and culture of Okinawa that I promised myself to never miss a trip with him. I am hoping to learn something of his life in the pages of this website. He may no
longer be living, but I have a feeing that there are many, many Marines from the WW2 era who may have survived due to his dedication and actions.|
During our tours of places that memorialize the war dead of Japan and of the US, like Shuri Gate, this gentleman divulged an intimate knowledge of combat actions that left me and my fellow tour participants with the distinct impression that this man was standing or crawling in the mud right along side our Marine brothers. Maybe I will learn that others have had the same feelings that special recognition / rememberance should have been presented in his honor.
It's always possible that his motives for continuing to live and work among the Okinawa people, was a purely romantic one. As a young Marine, while exploring with our tour group in Naha, at the University of the Ryukyus, I became acquainted with a young lady, who made a very deep impression on me as to the very honest and open hearts of her countrymen. As it turned out, [name omitted at author's request. Editor], was the Mayor's daughter. I suspect it would not have made her parents very happy if I had followed through on my promise to return to Okinawa to further our friendship. I was certainly sure that I would return, and if the Marine Corps had given me a choice, well, I think I would have stayed. Maybe that is the story of my honored Philippine tour guide too.
I never imagined I would ever have a chance to tell this to someone who might relate to the feelings that one can develop for a place and its people.