Iwakuni was the time of my life
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  1. #1
    Marine Free Member thegimprider's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Ft Bragg Ca.

    Iwakuni was the time of my life

    During my first four years in the Corps my second duty station was Iwakuni Air Station from 1979 to end of 1980 a total of 18 months. I was an avid bicycle rider and enjoyed riding with the help of local trains all over southern Japan. I rode to Hiroshima almost every month and made it as far north as Kyoto.
    Learned to speak Japanese and discovered a country beyond the reach of English only tourists. People took me into their homes in little villages and introduced me to a culture I did not dream existed. Raised with the "dirty sneaking Jap" stereotype left over from Pearl Harbor propaganda. (Everyone in high command knew Japan was attacking American targets on December 7th)
    I called Japan "the land of a thousand smells" because on my bicycle I smelled everything. From cherry blossoms to benjo ditches (open sewer) fish/squid drying, industrial smoke, mountain forests. Many smells I had never known before.
    Having had drinking problems that kept me from promotion I began to hang out at a Jazz Club Coffee House called Lifetime Modern Jazz Spot in Iwakuni and really got hooked on gourmet coffee and saxophone. It paid off and I soon got my blood stripes. I did get drunk a few times but with senior enlisted who I became friends with. I was an old fart when I joined, 23 and turned 24 just out of boot camp.
    Wanted to reenlist but the career planner never sent in my package so I took an early out for Christmas 1980 with a promise of US Navy Nuke program. Big mistake, Marines are not welcome in the navy.
    To the best Marine Base on the planet I'll alway hold fond memories and do plan to return to Japan on my own dime someday. I stayed sober for 23 years and started drinking again in 2005 but I never gave up the caffeine

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  2. #2
    Tried to reply twice before and some reason it won't let me so try one more time.

    Loved Iwakuni also, 64-65 was my time in, I was in Wing Hqs legal as chief legal clerk/court-reporter. Several of us bought motorcycles while there since at that time they were very cheap so we got to see a lot of the country and the mountains. Had an earthquake and a Typhoon while there. One poor Marine got drunk and got past the guards and climbed in a F-4 and somehow got the parachute to activate and killed him when he hit the ceiling of the hanger. Too many stories to tell but your post brought all the memories back. Thanks for the post and all the best to a fellow Marine.

  3. #3
    I haven't been on this forum for awhile but saw this - I was there in 1984, went there after 4 years at Parris Island (permanent personnel, not including my time as a maggot). Remember the Soba truck and Soba shop? Damn fine eating for "fast food"! Unfortunately for me, going to an air wing base after 4 years on a recruit depot was quite a culture shock for me, so after 4 months I asked my Major, "Sir, get me the phuck out of here!" and I went to Okinawa. I left Iwakuni at the end of the cherry blossom time, and hit Okinawa on the worst humidity day they had in many years - humidity so thick you could see water floating in the air. My wife, a BAM who was stationed in Iwakuni with me and went to Okinawa when I did, saw the humidity, turned to me, and not-so-politely said "what the phuck did you get us into?". I only had 1 year in Japan, and most, if not all of my fond memories are from my shorter time Iwakuni, not my longer time on Okinawa!

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