Okinawa (Part XIII)

May 31

Saying good-bye . . . 

[Of course, in the military people are moved all the time.  Okinawa was an 18 month tour of duty.  After 18 months you moved on to a different duty station . . . or you were discharged and went home.  Whenever somebody left, friends would see them off at the airport, which you now know from your readings was Kadena AFB.  Here I’m saying good-bye to my first hang-around-with buddy, Wayne Coleman . . . ]

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[April 1971 . . . ]

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[And, unfortunately, as often happens – this was the last time I saw him . . . ]

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[A Lockheed C-5A, virtually brand new at this time.  The first C-5A was delivered to the USAF on 17 December 1969.  The C-5’s first mission was on 9 July 1970, in Southeast Asia during the Vietnma War.  C-5s were used to transport equipment and troops, including Army tanks and even some small aircraft, throughout the later years of the US action in Vietnam.  In the final weeks of the war, prior to the Fall of Saigon, several C-5s were involved in evacuation efforts (Wikipedia).]

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[A group of three going home.  I remember all 4 guys here, but Tom Morris on the right is the only name I remember . . . ]

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[April 1971 . . . ]

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[THE SIGN, everybody’s goal to be photographed here . . . ]

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[The motorcycle guy, whose name of course I can’t remember, had just greeted some deplaned then known as stewardesses . . . ]

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[Now we’re saying good-bye to the Billy Crystal look-alike guy.  I think both he and motorcycle guy were with from New York or Jersey . . . ]

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[May 1971 . . . ]

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[The bro hug long precedes modern times . . . ]

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[Sayonara to you . . . ]

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[The plane to take us home . . . ]

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[The Vietnam transfers are going home . . . ]

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[May 1971 . . . ]

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[Bill Petronus, guy in the middle, and Terry Bess depart the barracks for the last time . . . ]

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The above photo reminds it’s time for some editorial comments.  Lest you think duty on Okinawa was all peaches and cream – well, it was, most of the time.  But the above photo reminds of the times we went through water rationing.  In such times, after eating, you went outside and dunked your metal eating tray in a series of  garbage cans filled with heated water.  And in such times, there could go several days between showers (meaning no beaches, unless you enjoyed being covered in a salty crust).  We called Okinawa, “The Rock,” because literally that’s what it was.  There was no natural water other than what could be collected in rain water reservoirs.  So, during the dry season, water could become scarce.  There were also typhoon seasons.  I believe I previously reported that during a typhoon we would be stationed at our work site until it was over – some times a couple of days.  And finally, like all operations, we were always dependent on available personnel.  There were times when the number of people leaving exceeded the number of new people coming in.  During those times, which I recall happened several times, we worked 12-hours shifts, 7 days a week.  Now we return you to our story . . . 

[And sayonara to these guys . . . ]

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[And then to my roommate, Webbo, lost forever in the sands of time . . . ]

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[And then so long to my life-long buddy, Roy . . . ]

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[I remember the other, but of course not his name . . . ]

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[Webbo and Roy, December 1971 . . . ]

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As long as we’re saying good-bye, we’ll wrap up this portion from where we started – the Free The Army show presented in Part I in black-and-white.  I don’t recall how I have identical photos in both color and black-and-white . . .

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[I’m moving Donald Sutherland to the last photo – the photo that will be featured in the Facebook posting . . . ]

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When you join another village, follow the rules.  ~  Japan idiom

Up Next:  Sayonara Okinawa

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