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NSGDet  Sasebo, Japan - 1958-1959
Images from Richard Kivi (former CTR2)

Please scroll-down for the complete collection of photos.
Click-on each photo to enlarge.

In late 1959 liberty got very good. Here's a beach party for off-duty sections. I was back in the States by that time. Photo courtesy Cal Fulmer.

However, in early 1958 here was a similar beach party. Not quite as POSH. We went to a small fishing village and rented a fishing boat.

It took us out to a beautiful cove. That's Jimmie Butler on the left, Tom Bird on the right.

I can't believe how young I was in this shot. But the Navy did a lot to mature a guy.

On the way, some fishing boats came alongside and there was an impromptu drag race. They beat us.

It was a nice trip. Water was warm, beer was cold, food was good. Jim Butler says our Japanese "coxswain" never came back to pick us up and he and I had to swim out into the channel and flag down another boat. I don't remember that, but it probably happened (his memory's better than mine).

Much of the time, most of us lived off base. We'd buy groceries at the PX, get haircuts, etc. Here's Bill Moore getting a haircut. I tried a shave once, and never again. The barbers shaved you so close, you'da thought they removed the epidermis.

Woodie came to us from the Philippines (or maybe Guam?) and was a heckuva dancer. He shared the rent on a big, two story house with Jim Butler.

In those days, 1958, you could afford some nice digs off-base. Nearly twenty years later, I went to work as a Service Rep and later Technical Writer for Yamaha Motor Company in the U.S. Japan was definitely not that economical by that time. But, in 1958, you could get a terrific house, or apartment, for (basically) peanuts. This place was two stories, had three other families living there, a communal bath, toilet, and kitchen, but it was still heaven.

Relaxing in my apartment, off-base.

View from my house toward the base.

I sent a lot of stuff back home: Noritake China, Tea Services, these dolls, and a lot of clothes. We recently (2007) replaced one of the Noritaki pieces for $40, which would put the set, if you could find it, at around $1,400. I think I paid about $50 for an entire service for twelve back then.

All good things have to end. I was toying with the idea of extending for a year in Sasebo, then re-upping for four or six, with the hope for Embassy duty in my first two after re-upping. Had I done so, I would have made E-6 by late 1959, and I like to think Chief before 1964. However, I met a gentleman in Sasebo who, by chance, told me I'd have a very good opportunity with a certain Company based near Washington, DC. So I didn't extend. Unfortunately, I was riffed before I barely got started. But, around that time, I got a Technician's job with Western Union earning about $12,000(+) per year which, in today's dollars, would be about $83,310.81. Needless to say, I didn't re-up. But I always wonder. . . 'cause I liked CT duty better than anything I've ever done before, then, or since.

Just before we left Japan, I had a guy take a picture of me. Can't believe I was that skinny. But I'll bet there are a lot of us that feel the same way. . . looking back. And I'll also bet that we have a lot of good memories, no matter the duty station. (PS: Some of my buddies have seen this shot and can't figure the hash mark, 'cause they knew I was in on a minority enlistment—I was 20 when this shot was taken. That's because I joined the National Guard when I was 14 and then transferred into the Army Reserve before joining the Navy at 17. Even though my Army time was a so-called "fraudulent" enlistment, I was still credited for my time in service. Thank you DOD.)

In case some of my buddies think I was blowing smoke, here's an Army shot before my Navy service:

During all my tours, the Navy saw fit to fly me everywhere, including a civilian PanAm flight to Japan—which was incredible. The stewardess came back to us in Tourist class and said, "PanAm would like to invite all you servicement to join us in First Class." I was so impressed that, years later, i bought a life-time membership in the Clipper Club. But when I was mustering out, the Naval powers that be decided to ship me home on the General J. C. Breckinridge, AP-176. . .go figure!

Just got to sea in this shot. Didn't realize we'd have a rough crossing. We had a battalion (a few companies? don't know) of Marines forward of our compartment. Scuttlebutt said the Captain was trying to set a record for the crossing. Don't know if that was true or not, but we had to shut down the forward heads due to heavy seas and scuttlebutt also said we wore some paint off the bow. And I really didn't really like what was blowing aft from the Marine compartment forward. Ugh!

But we had a great send-off from Yokohama. I don't know it they do it that way nowadays, but it made you feel really good!

All of us have probably seen a sight similar to this, whether on the East Coast, the West Coast, or some airport somewhere Stateside.

It still gives me mixed feelings. . . I was leaving something I loved to begin an uncertain future

I can't remember if that was an Army or Marine band. . . and I can't remember what they were playing. But I guess it doesn't really matter, I was home.

So, I came back home (April, 1959). Spent some time with my Mom, then started a new career. And I didn't realize for a few years what we had accomplished, and what others thought of those accomplishments . . . until the Pueblo, Liberty and so many other incidents. And I have absolutely no doubt that CTs are still "accomplishing".

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