Base map & listings brouhaha ensues!
The newly updated I Did Japan map and message tag boards have prompted more email responses than I'd ever expected... and have even provoked some debate and controversy. First, I acknowledge that they are incomplete. I never said that they represent a full and complete list of all U.S. military installations in Japan and Okinawa. Only that they are perhaps the most comprehensive to date that we know of.
Not that I'm picking on fellow Yahoo Group member Mark Roberts (I'm not really), but he started all of this debate going with a recent message posted on the group board regarding Itazuke AB. It seems that I somehow overlooked the all important base on the island of Kyushu. It was unintentional I assure you.
Well that prompted several more emails about "missing" or erroneously located bases from some of our other visitors who felt slighted. Well, don't! I'm still on a learning curve trying to get a bead on the names and locations of all of the bases, past and present. I am definitely not the resident authority on the subject and am relying on your assistance to fill in some of the gaps. So don't hesitate to keep those cards and letters coming!
As for erroneous locations or missing bases, here they are. Granted, some of these are really, really obscure and forgotten by even the most ardent Japan brats:
* Camp Crawford was not located near Sendai on northern Honshu but was located near Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.
* While on the subject of Hokkaido, Camp Fowler and Camp Strong were also located near Chitose AB.
* Camp Chitose was an Army installation located adjacent Chitose Air Base.
* Sakata NSGA, a small Navy radar installation located near the coastal town of Sakata about 100 miles north of Niigata AB in western Honshu.
* Shiroi Air Station was located 20 miles northwest of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. A former Imperial Navy Airfield, it served as an auxiliary airfield and a communications site until 1968 and is now a Japanese Marine Self Defense Force (JMSDF) air base.
Shiroi's claim to fame was in 1951 as part of a Project Blue Bookinvestigation into an alleged UFO sighting near Haneda AB, Tokyo.Shiroi also picked up the pings on its radar and orderedinterceptors from Tachi AB to scramble.
* Osaka Army Arsenal and Osaka Army Hospital (382nd General Hospital). Wow, two biggies. Literally. The arsenal was the largest for the Japanese military and was occupied by the 8th Army forces for several years after the war. The hospital treated many Korea wounded.
* Omura Marine Corps Base on Kyushu was a former kamikaze air base.
* Oppama Naval AS near Yokosuka -- This actually didn't escape me. It's simply that I didn't have much room on the Kanto map and figured many of the smaller facilities in the vicinity fell under the general heading of Yokohama or Yokosuka, such as the Army's North and Central Piers.
* Kanoya Naval Air Station near Hiroshima. It was the Imperial Navy's biggest air base during World War II.
* Camp Kure, also near Hiroshima, was once the Imperial Navy's largest naval base though the Navy's HQ was Yokosuka.
* Kumagaya Air Station in Saitama Prefecture, north of Johnson Air Base.
* And finally Komatsu Air Station located on the Sea of Japan in western Honshu.
Regarding a few of these bases amd installations, I have little or no verifiable information about their histories and use by the U.S. Many, such as Komatsu and Kumagaya, were seized then soon after closed or returned in 1952 (upon Japan regaining sovereignty) and were subsequently recommissioned as Japanese installations. Also, we are not including all of the small radar and comm. sites of which there were dozens scattered throughout Japan.
Then there are those of you who complained that we've all but forgotten your alma maters! First of all, don't expect us to include all schools below the 9th grade since there are few, if any, alumni associations for elementary or middle schools. The focus has, and remains, high school alumni. But, admittedly, two high schools in northern Japan didn't get the mentions they richly deserve on Japan Brats (we'll add them shortly). They are:
* Wakkanai Dependent School at Wakkanai AS in far northern Hokkaido.
* Chitose Dependent School, Chitose AB, Hokkaido.
* Camp Crawford Dependent School, Camp Crawford, Hokkaido.
* Sendai Dependent School on Camp Sendai, northern Honshu.
* Osaka American School, Osaka.
* Itami Dependent School, Itami AB, near Osaka (I'm not sure whether Osaka and Itami were one and the same.)
* Naha Dependent School, located on the now closed Naha Naval Base, Okinawa. (I'm not certain if this include high school grades or not.)
The fact that there are no active alumni associations for these schools (with the possible exception of Camp Crawford) may explain our oversight. In anticipation of the closure of Camp Crawford in 1957, a private American school in nearby Sapporo was established (1954), Hokkaido International School (mascot: "Huskies"), where dependent children were then schooled. A HIS alumni association remains quite active.
Interestingly, with no school at the isolated and remote Sakata NSGA the half-dozen or so dependent children were home schooled under a special Navy-administered program and also attended on a part-time basis a local Japanese school in the town of Sakata.
Okay, I'm leaving it up to the rest of you to start filling in the blanks or correct any of the foregoing.