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8612TH A. A. U. Camp Chitose II-1954

Pvt Jim Brock, ASA Basic Trainee, 1953
SGM Jim Brock, Sr Enlisted Advisor, DIRNSA, 1978
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SGM(Ret) Jim Brock, Civil Service GS-14, INSCOM, Retired, 2011
EARLY 1954 OR SO

Pvt Jim Brock in August 1954. Just to send home. HA.

(Editor's notes are parenthetical)
I enlisted in the Army Security Agency on April 2, 1953. Served in Japan at 8612 DU, APO 181 from 1954-57. The post shown below is where I spent most of my tour in Japan. The Quonset huts were heated by oil burning space heaters, that some time got to be cherry red. The snow got a lot deeper than shown here at times. The second to the only paved street on Hokkaido ran in front of the Mess Hall, starting at the Guard Shack (not shown) to the left in front of the Orderly Room (Hqs Bldg) to the left and running to operations. The other one ran from Chitose I to Sapporo. The Company Area was covered by these stanchions holding hot water pipes off the ground. The mess hall is shown on right with white panel of windows. First hut this side is 106 and the next is 104 (not shown). Across to the left was the Orderly Room, coming this way was the supply room and then 105, 103, and 101 (not shown) the last on the left. I lived in 106 when I first arrived and met guys by the name of Harold Norrod, Dick Holsinger, Bob Wier, Shorty Richardson Ken Leidy, Bob "Bloop" Cummings. All but Bloop are Cooks. Robert Fussell was a pole lineman in the Antenna Field. He was some kind of a good guy. Bloop and I arrived at the same time and lived temporarily with the Cooks until we were assigned to a trick barracks. I went to trick two and to live in 105. PVT John White was on that trick,with Don Deming, Jackie Wilson, P. B. Lee, Sgt Kurtz, Dick Laurie, Hank and Don Buie were TA types in Ops, along with Bob Craft. SFC Bierbauer was Motor Sergeant, MSG Kutnarowski was Mess Sgt. First Sergeant Cormier reigned in the orderly room and Maj Ben McKibben was the CO. Cpt McNutt was motor officer. CWO Hannah was in Ops, Lt Hal Flemming, Lt Blackburn, CWO Gracie, and MSG Howard were in Ops. I was a PVT 2 in Radio Printer in Ops. SFC Moe Nutter was my first Boss, SFC Ed Eggeiston was my Trick Chief, SFC Bob Shake was a printer TIC somewhere, WOJG (WOEGEE) Taylor was known as Shakey Taylor. SFC Larry Grimshaw was in DF, Ron Dakin in Morse shop. John Davis in Voice. Chuck Dawson and Jim Estep came into Printer later in '54. Don Austin was in TA. He had been stabbed by a 1st Cav Division soldier with a letter opener. Had the Half-moon operation familiar to lung wounds victims. Henry Friedle, George Kitrinos, Jim Edge and Larry Stanbro were Cops. SFC Jordan was in charge of the MP's. Jay Heim was in personnel, with CWO Gaylord Mosure and SFC Dave Baker. In August or so SFC Bill Wood and SFC Frank Ingrassia arrived at Camp Chitose II. Bill replaced Sfc Moe Nutter as NCOIC of Non Morse and Frank became NCOIC of T/A with Wo Gracie. Jess Baker left about that time. Bill and Frank lived in the cadre room in 106. There were many rambunctious pennocle games played during their short stay in the barracks before their wives arrived. Help me out if you have memory of others in April 1954 and later, until March 1957.

Hal Flemming Comments.
Brings back a lot of memories, which I'll try to document and get off to you ASAP.
The photograph is a good one, although for the life of me I can't remember the stanchions running down the center of the street. Could they have been something added after I left in the late fall of 1954.
If Robert Fussell is the guy I am thinking about, he was first assigned as a ditty-bopper but couldn't cut it, partly because he had hands the size of a baseball glove and fingers that would span two keys on the mill and cause endless problems. As you noted, he was a good guy whose morale soared when he got the outside job keeping the antenna field in good repair. (That is the guy.)
I was a Watch Officer, OIC of the Voice Section, and Maintenance Officer from late fall of 1952 to late fall of 1954, transferring to Tokyo just before the big fire that destroyed the operations building.
Some more names: SFC Owen Yates, NCOIC, Voice Section; Art Johnson, Voice Section; Captains Oscar Jarlett, Justin McCarty, Mac Stevenson, and Leighton, a line of Operations Officers; Lt Ray Toner, watch officer and OIC of DF section, and Lt Heck, Watch Officer.
Another good guy, whose name I have been trying to recall for years, was the clerk in Operations who was from Philadelphia if my memory serves me well. (Can anyone help out with this guy's name)
Another name came back last night--Major Horton who was Major McKibbon's replacement as CO.
(Major John T. Horton became CO in August 1954. áHe came from Korea. We had a picture of him before he arrived in the Chitose Confidential. He had a Clark Gable style mustache. Every enlisted man tried to grow a mustache with which to greet the new CO. Never heard how he took that.)
Bill Christie's Comment.
That particular picture made me go outside and start looking for a "duece and a half" to go to town.
Ron Dakin's Comment:Great job. What can I do to help. I'm not sure you know this, but my trick was on duty in December 54 when the Op's building burned down. If you need any input, let me know.glad to contribute.

MAJOR BEN B. MCKIBBEN
COMMANDER
1953-1954

Maj Ben B Mckibben inspecting the troops

Maj Ben B Mckibben inspecting weapon

Maj Ben's Jeep as seen in Chitosetown

The Front Gate Sign 1954

Subj: Re. Camp Chitose
Date: 4/29/02 5:34:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: janeinpcola@webtv.net
To: brockjim@aol.com
I joined Major McKibben in Chitose in July 1952 and we were there until July 1954. We came back together on a ship and went directly to Fort Devens. Ma.
This does bring back lots of memories for me . Our Children have all seen this and think it is wonderful, thanks, Sgt. Brock.
Lt. Col. McKibben passed away in Mar. 1970 and is buried at Fort Barrancas National Cemetery here in Pensacola, Fl.
Mrs. Ben B. McKibben,Jr.
Enjoyed your message! I really don't mind you sharing my note, I remember most of the officers and some of the EM. Would be nice to hear from some of them.
Sincerely,
Jane McKibben


Henry "Hank" Buie sends this photo of some of the guys on his trick. I AM 1ST LEFT BOTTOM ROW, EASTLAND AND STARK ARE IN THE SHORT MID-ROW ON THE RIGHT (EASTLAND IN WHITE SWEATER AND STARK IN SLEEVES SWEATER).TERRY ......? IS 3RD IN BACK ROW FROM THE LEFT.I KNOW HE WAS FROM NY STATE AND THAT HE RE-ENLISTED BECAUSE I MET HIM AGAIN A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER AT THE FORT. HOPE SOMEONE CAN ADD/CORRECT THIS INFO. AS A SENIOR I AM ONLY CERTAIN ABOUT ME; THE REST IS A BEST GUESS; I KNOW IT WAS IN 54 AND I THINK TRICK 2 BUT NOT FOR CERTAIN.

Hank Buie - 1954
Maybe it was trick 3. Here are some of those guys at the Chitose Reunion in Delaware in September 2004.


(Repeat of lettering on picture for clarity.)
Trick 3, 1953-1954
Left to right, Ron Dakin, Jim Behrenberg,Jerry Kurtz, Bob Craft, Hank Buie, Pete Reganato.
What do you think? Nice looking group for 50 years later.
Hooah! ASA Lives!


PFC Henry "Hank" Buie left and "memory fails" at right. Help!

Phil Stennis, with steam plant behind quansett 102, the weight room. I think?.!

PFC Gilley of Ice Floe and Flag football fame. Right Gil?

"88" Newman second from left, Big Gilley center and Basil Pavlicek front right. Looks like a barracks party. Huh?

Top Row - Bill Buerkle, ? , Robbie Robinson, Yogi Yberra, Dick Taylor Bottom Row - "Dud" Weatherby, Bob Grove of Electronic Maintenance, Operations

Bob Kittleson, Dick Ott, SFC Snodgrass, Bob Grove, Dick Taylor, Ron Nicholson, "Dud" Weatherby, Jaques Crevier, ? , Don O'Sullivan of Electronic Maintenance, Operations.

I'm CPL Lou Marinaccio. I was at Chitose from January 1953 to December 1954. I left just prior to the big fire.

This is a couple of my friends Ron Dakin and Jerry Kurtz. I was in the same barracks as Ron & Jerry and we were on the same trick.

PVT Larry Stanbro, MP. Who said all the monkeys aren't in the Zoo?

Snow Storm Of Early Winter 1954

Front Gate in summertime. Yeah it got bad in winter. See below.

Dave Ott Background is the heating plant that provided our hot water through the overhead pipes.

Charlie Dawson - 1954

Charlie Dawson and Jim Estep -1954

Charlie Dawson and Sniffles = 1954

Charlie Dawson-1954

Barracks Quonset -1954


See the oil stove pipes? There is a Quonset barracks under that snow.

Snow storm as seen in town -1954


Chitose Town shops just after the big one.


This is a picture of the Operations Building which burned on 29 December 1954. This is me,Jim Brock, in foreground cutting at a softball. Picture taken from the softball diamond in front of Operations. Emphasis of picture is Operations Building not my bad swing.//8-D)


This is a rough sketch of Operations Building layout. Read from front to back on left of the hall: R/T Transcription, Operations Office, Latrine, Commo Maintenance (Place fire started), ComCenter. Right of Hall: R/P Section with Voice Positions, TA/CA, M/M Section with Voice Positions. Building seen behind Operations is Electronic Maintenance. Smoke Stack is Classified Trash Incinerator. James way Tent building is to left of Ops Bldg. Guard Shack is in front of Door to Ops on the fence line. I think the fire plug was as indicated in sketch, out side the fence. I'm just not sure. Help!!

The Operations Building Fire of December 29, 1954.

Thanks to Ron Dakin and Phil Peters for the pictures. This is the first pictures I've seen of the fire.


This is the Operations Building on fire as seen from about the rear of barracks quansett 106.


Operations Building well along with the fire. If this picture is in the early minutes of the fire then the Japaneses firemen are probably from our local fire station where the fire engine would not start due to cold weather. They are however inside the fence that surrounds the building as seen in the before picture above. The Japanese fire engine from Chitose town took 30-45 minutes to get to the scene. The fire engine from the Chitose I compound near town slide into the ditch and didn't get to the scene until much later than the to other engine.


Operations Building fire. I know there was windows in the building, but they were very well covered from within. I don't remember what was used to cover them but obviously it didn't take long to burn it off from the inside. I believe the MP's name is Grutkowski or something like that with ski.


This is the thermite devices which were made to destroy the classified comm center equip in case we had to leave it behind in an emergency. The rectangular, narrow canister setting to the right of the object far left with a handle in the upper left quarter of the picture is a surviving device case. We had these in Viet Nam setting on top of all of our filing cabinets. Last one out pulled all the pins. They do a good job don't they? They were actually in the back room of of the comm center where the maintenance of the equipment was done. It was an accident that caused the stack of devices to fall over. One or more of the pins broke and it was as if someone pulled the pin. No one knew that until the first one went off and started a chain reaction with the rest of them. Perhaps as many as a dozen devices. The hole in the cement floor was about two feet deep and four feet across where they lay on the floor. The major change brought a bought by this accident was that a little wooden weather tight storage shed outside in the compound was used to store the thermite devices at all stations following this fiasco.

My name is Ron Dakin and I was the Morse Trick Chief on the day shift when the fire occurred in the Operations Building on December 29, 1954.1 was sitting at my console at the front of the Morse room. The room was comprised of Morse operators on both sides of the room and the language group was in the rear on the left hand side.
Some of the guys on duty that day included Sgt.'s Richard Seidenspinner, Harold South and Glenn Ralston. At the end of the room were two large swinging doors that opened into a hallway. Across the hallway was the door to the Comm. Center where Sgt. Ayala and his men were working behind closed doors. The first thing I remember was looking up and seeing the door to the Comm. Center opening and Sgt. Ayala and his men were all trying to get through the door at one time. Behind them was a sheet of flames. It all happened so fast, I can only remember people running all over the place, looking for fire extinguishers and trying to battle the fire from the hallway. It was a losing battle, the flames spread so quickly we had to evacuate the area and eventually the building.
As the fire swept over the Operations building, fire trucks from the Japanese fire department and from the Air Force fire department stationed at Chitose I, began to arrive. They were immediately informed that they could not enter the compound for obvious security reasons. The fire fighting would be left up to those of us who had security clearances. Sgt. Pete Reganato who was off that day remembers getting out of the shower in his Quonsett hut and seeing a large plume of black smoke coming from the direction of the Operations building. Some one ran into his barracks and informed everyone to report to the orderly room to help fight the fire. Our fire engine would not start due to the extreme cold and we had to build a fire around the fire hydrant to get the water to flow. Fire hoses were hooked up and we went into the compound and began to fight the fire. It was bitterly cold, snow was up to our knees and the water dripping from the hoses saturated our clothes and turned to ice. Several senior NCO's including SFC's Eccelston (Tiny as we called him), Kapps, and MSGT. Howard were directing our efforts. It soon became apparent that there was no way we were going to save the building.
Because of the severe cold, along with the water that accumulated and froze on our clothing, we were rotated back to the mess hall from time to time where we were supplied with dry OG's and waterproof field pants. The mess sergeant, SFC Sargent and his chief cook Sgt Shorty Richardson had prepared several vats of hot soup, which we were only too happy to get.
There was no way to save the building and we spent the next few days out in the field around the Operations building, picking papers out of the snow.
On New Years Day, January 1, 1955 we were loaded onto Globemasters at Chitose I and flown to Kamiseya Naval Base near Yokohama, where we would spend the next several months until a new Operations building could be constructed.
The time at Kamiseya was highlighted by the great Navy chow. It was hard to imagine how well the Navy fed their troops where steak and eggs for Sunday brunch was not uncommon.
The cause of the fire was determined to have been caused when one of the men in the Comm. Center, SP3 Ott, accidentally kicked a box of thermite grenades stored there for the purpose of destroying equipment in the event of an emergency. A request by our CO, Major Ben McKibben, to replace tbe outdated thermite grenades had been ignored. However, his replacement in August of 1954, Maj. John T. Horton, was relieved of duty as CO due to the accident and resulting fire.
Finally a new Operations building was constructed and we were finally going back to Chitose. It was like a homecoming when we arrived. The troops that stayed behind greeted us like long lost friends and many a celebration went on in the EM and NCO clubs.
(I, Jim Brock, would have been on duty that day except for the fact that I was in Tokyo on R&R along with Jim Striplin. We had reported in to Oji Camp, HQ ASAPAC, on TDY and signed out on a 7 day leave, at the end of which we signed into Oji Camp and awaited transportation back to Chitose on TDY status. Great Deal !!!. While on leave a friend of mine who was stationed at Oji Camp met us one night at the R & R hotel and told us that Chitose had burned. That was all he knew. His recommendation was that we not return to Oji Camp until our leave was up, because they might send us back early. We didn't, needless to say.
However, we did worry about the loss of our personal effects in the fire when 8612 DU burned. When we arrived back at Chitose we found of course that only the Ops Bldg burned. We had the extreme pleasure of cleaning up the mess. The building was 80% destroyed. The water that was poured on it pooled in the building and froze solid. Paper was through out the ice and the equipment had ice all through it. We took the equipment out and a bulldozer dug a large hole out by the ball field and we buried everything of metal in it, after hammering it totally useless and unrecognizable. We cleaned all the classified paper out of the ice and burned it. I had the job of running a jack hammer for the duration of the job. Finally we dug a foundation for the new building. It was another Quonset that coupled up with the one shown in the left side of the compound. The ground around the building had thawed due to the fire and the water that was poured over the building that did not remain in the building soaked into the ground around it. The bulldozer that was used to dig the foundation only bounced the blade off the frozen ground. I ran the jackhammer to cut the granite like soil so that the dozer could get a start into the ground. Finally we got it done.
I reported to Kamiseya in mid January and stayed until ordered out to do the site survey for a new station on Kyushu, to become FS Hakata.
Please send me any remembrances you have of the fire and the period around that time. We will add them to these notes.
Thanks to Ron for his input.)

AFTER THE GREAT FIRE
by John Davis
When the Operations building burned down on December 29, 1954 I was one of five corporals who comprised Vicky Section of Trick Two, the others being Earle Migneault, Bob Plummer, Wendell Smith and Jervis Strain. We were due to begin a new cycle of tricks on the 30th at 1700 hours. With the Ops building gone we were lost souls with no idea what the future held. Creatures of habit, we followed our usual routine on the 30th, eating an early supper. This would be followed by reporting to the Ops building. The building being gone, we reported, instead to the EM Club.
Scarcely had our genial Japanese bartender, George served us a beer, when in marched SFC Nick Kaps, who an- nounced in a ringing baritone "Trick Two Vicky Section report to the ham shack. Vicky Section is on line! While the resú of us had been sitting around in a state of shock, our signals experts had been working to salvage something of the mission. If there was a note of pride in the Sergeant's voice it was well-earned.
The next afternoon a company meeting was called in the mess hall. Presided over by Captain McNutt in his capacity as Motor Officer this meeting informed our comrades in Monty Section that they would be flying out the next day. Trucks would take them to the air base at 1300 hours and they were to take their barracks bags, footlockers and carbines. When the Captain asked for questions, somebody asked "Captain, would it be okay to take our carbines apart and carry the parts in our footlockers?" For a moment the Captain was struck dumb, but when he spoke, it was classic McNutt. " *#:@% said the Captain. "If that's not just like the ASA. Go into combat with your mainspring in your footlocker. NO!"
New Year's Eve we were on duty in the ham shack, missing out on the big celebration at the EM Club - New Year's Eve party, Dime Night and Monty Section Sayonara party. That New Year's was made memorable anyway, because Lt. James Miller (Duty Officer by virtue of being the only 2nd Lt. in the company) came by, bringing each of us a hamburger and a soda. That kindly act has always been one of my favorite recollections of duty in Chitose. Later, much to our surprise and pleasure, our reliefs on Trick Three relieved the watch an hour early, enabling us to get in on the tail-end of the party at the Club. The party was more staid than I had expected, probably due to the presence of Major and Mrs. Horton and several other officers and their ladies.
In the morning, everybody was moving out smartly, with Monty men packing their gear, turning in bedding, etc. At 1300 we all turned to, helping to load up the trucks. At this point a serious rift split Trick Two because Monty Section announced that they were taking Robert, Official Trick Two Dog with them. Monty prevailed and, when the trucks pulled out, Robert was looking back at us over a tailgate.
An hour or so later, the few of us who were left in our almost-empty Quonset were in a real state of gloom; never had a New Year looked so bleak. Then there was a scratching at the door and, when it was opened, in came Robert, tail wagging at about 198 RPMs. Suddenly, things didn't look so bad after all. Never underestimate the value of a dog. Later we learned the Air Force had barred Robert from the plane and one of our truck drivers brought him back to us.
The rest of the winter passed uneventfully. After a couple of weeks in the ham shack, Vicky Section moved to a small, Quonset hut in the Ops site. In the meantime, unit administration was working on getting everything fully operational again. When the snow melted, things began to happen. A giant Quonset hut which had stood in the old First Cav motor pool area was disassembled, moved to our Ops site and reassembled to become the new Ops building. About the third week of April, Monty Section returned and we were back in business again.
I stood but one or two watches in the new building and it was time to go home. Going out the gate of Field station 8612 for the final time, I thought "This is the last I'll ever see of this Godforsaken place." I didn't foresee that I'd return as an old man to revisit the place of my twenty- first birthday.

Hank Buie on R&R in Matsushima Bay area by the 16th Corp Sign..

My first quarters on Chitose Camp II in April 1954.

Chitose Angels Cpls Stark, Buie and unk.

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