May 2004
Bishagawa Today

Dave Law, a former USAF radar man, was stationed Naha Air Base from 1956 to 1961. He married an Okinawan and lived just north of Kadena Circle across from Bishagawa. He has just completed a trip to Okinawa and gained access to our old Camp through his 623 ACF Association Commander Major Coppersmith. It?s not what it used to be, but those of us who lived there will be able to "picture" the current layout compared to what we remember.

Some time after we left in 1959 the Base was used by the US Army 1st Special Forces and was later named Camp Dominick Sansone. On December 10, 1964, Sansone was one of the early casualties of the Vietnam War. Here is a link to the interesting story of this MIA who was only recently located: www.pownetwork.org/bios/s/s358.htm. After the final departure of the US Army Special Forces the base reverted to Kadena AB and the USAF.

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First, I will set the visual stage for the below descriptions with this 1958 photo. I took the picture standing on the bank behind our India Company huts over looking the Battalion parade field. This field is now the Air Force K-9 training area and the old main road has been turned into a runway test. The bank up to Battalion Headquarters is just across the old main road and our mess hall is on the left. The path ?worn to chow? cuts across the field near the flag bearers. Battalion HQ is just between the vehicles and the turn back to India Company can just be seen on the far right.

 

1) Dave took this photo in 2002, at the old entrance looking into Bishagawa. The camera was poked through the fence and telephoto lens zoomed to the only visible building.

2) This photo was taken in 2004, from inside, and looks back out toward the above fenced off entrance.

3) Then, Dave just turned around and looked into the Camp from the same spot as the above photo. Without the telephoto effect it looks different than (1), where the building was ?pulled? to the foreground by the lens.

4) Dave then walked past the vehicle just visible on the right and took this panorama showing what the camp looks like as you enter. The old road back to India company can be seen on the left, the main road is now the runway test area and the bank up to our old Battalion Headquarters can still be seen on the right.
The large Quonset hut sits down on the old parade field.

5) Dave then walked toward the end of the runway test area near the 7th Engineers runway construction offices.

6) The Administrative and storage buildings on our old parade field.

7) A close-up of the other offices with Yontan Mountain in the background.

8) A close-up of the K9 sentry dog training area. Our old parade field is clearly visible. Where we used to have Saturday formations they now train dogs. Hmmmm.

9) Another great panorama of the whole area. The old India 3/3 road on the far left, the parade field (K-9 area) in the depression behind the guardrail, the test runway over the old main road, and the hill up to our Bn HQ on the right.
The whole facility still functions as a joint services ammunition storage area and is now accessed from the north end of Kadena Air Base.

10) Dave Law standing near the India 3/3 entry road. Our old parade field was behind the guardrail.

11) This Quonset Hut sign speaks for itself -- it is a little "museum" on Kadena, Air Base.

12) A nice clean, restored, painted replica of what we once lived in 45 years ago!!

 

  2004 Bob Rohrer - All rights reserved.