A NIGHT TO REMEMBER IN JAPAN….. 1953 DURING THE KOREAN WAR.

My buddies and I with our sail-boat docked at the ramp. The village of Gannosu across the bay.

It was May 1, 1953 at  Brady Air force Base ,Japan,   The Cold War was still active and a number of Japanese celebrated it as a Communist Holiday Day.  I was asleep in my barracks when I was awaken by the Base Air Police. After a short conversation,I got into their jeep and we drove to the ramp near the radio shop where I performed my duties each day.My buddies and I had recently purchased a 16 foot sailboat and this is where we had it docked . The ramp lead into Hakata Bay ,where the Japanese once used to takeoff  and land their seaplanes during the second world war . We arrived at the dock to see a single Airman standing there half naked and soaked with water.

The story  is ,Mayday (May 1,) during the cold war , was celebrated as a communist holiday around the world. The communists in this small village of Gannosu  were outside the entrance to the base  protesting and yelling , “Yankee go home” The base was closed  and off limits. Machine  guns were setup around the perimeter to keep anyone from entering to sabotage our planes.

It appears that the airman and two of his friends decided to by-bass the base entrance gate ,and instead took the sail boat to cross the bay into the village to visit their girlfriends .They didn’t realize they were in danger until they arrived at the village and  anchored between two coal barges. They were  less than  fifty or more yards from  the protesters.  outside the gate. The men covered themselves with the boat sails and waited; while one of them slipped into the water and swam back to base. He contacted the Air Police who in turn contacted me.

I had no choice but to take a row boat anchored nearby along with the airman and quietly paddle across  the bay to where the sail  boat was docked.The fog was so heavy that visibility was almost zero. The two men slipped into the row boat and I crawled into the sail boat .They pulled me away from the dock where I could safely set sail and leave the area.

The men were taken into custody and I went back to my barracks. The next morning I met with the Squadron Commander to decide what punishment should be assessed. We decided the men had been through enough and no one was harmed; they learned a good lesson. I marched them to the Provost Marshall’s office on the other side of the base and had them stand at attention in the hot sun for ten minutes until they were soak with sweat.Afterwards, I marched them out of the area and when back to my barracks.

Later that day, I was lying in my bunk when the three men appeared in the barracks with a case of beer to thank me for not having them court Marshalled. My buddies drank the beer. I was a  nineteen old Staff Sargent at the time and too young to drink.

The foolishness and lack of for-thought of these three men almost caused us to be taken as hostages and possibly killed, I have never forgotten that night and still recall the protesters yelling in the  darkness aswe sailed back to the base. I was twenty years old at the time and still think about the danger we were in.  

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