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6927th RADIO SQUADRON MOBILE

Onna Point, Okinawa



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WHAT ABOUT IT???

This page is dedicated to the hundreds of airmen, non-commissioned officers and officers who served with the 6927th Radio Squadron Mobile; a component of the 6922nd Radio Group Mobile of the 6920th Security Wing, United States Air Force Security Service at Onna Point, Okinawa and its predecessor units.

The unit was first established sometime early in 1953 as Detachment 2 of the 15th Radio Squadron Mobile. The 15th was located at Ashiya AFB, Japan. Det. 2 was a fully self contained unit located at the Yontan Airstrip overlooking the 3rd ASA site at nearby Torii Station.

At the end of October of that year, the unit was renamed Flight "A" of the 29th Radio Squadron Mobile. The 29th was based at Clark AFB in the Philipines. Later on in 1954, in November, the unit was again redesignated. This time as Detatchment 1, 29th Radio Squadron Mobile. In May of 1955, the unit was renamed the 6927th Security Flight.

In February of 1956, the living quarters and mess hall at the new Onna Point facility were completed and the squadron moved its living quarters there and the people commuted between Onna Point and Yontan pending completion of the Operations Building at Onna. The operational move was scheduled for the fall of that year. However, in August 1956, Typhoon Emma forced a change in plans. She blew the roofs off several buildings at Yontan and it was decided to move to the almost completed Operations compound at Onna Point ahead of schedule rather than try to repair the damaged buildings at Yontan. With that move, the 6927th Security Flight became the 6927th Radio Squadron Mobile. It was subordinate to the 6922nd Radio Group Mobile located at Ashiya AFB, Japan. By the 1958-1960 time frame, the squadron's strength was about 350 enlisted men and officers.

By February 1965, the unit had been redesignated as the 6927th Security Squadron, and its strength had grown to 850 enlisted men and 15 officers.

Some time later on in 1965, the 6927th was elevated to group status in its own right and was then directly subordinate to the 6920th Security Wing rather than the 6922nd RGM

The unit continued active at Onna Point until it was officially deactivated on March 15, 1971.

Thanks to the various alumni who contributed information that went into the historical account .

While this website is likely to be of interest mainly to those who have some sort of ties to the '27th, all visitors are always welcome. If you have any questions about this page or just wish to comment, please do not hesitate to e-mail us.


WHERE WAS IT???


SHORTCUTS

(Click 'n' go!)

[ 6927th History ]    [ The 6927th Hall Of Fame]    [ 6927 RSM Contact List ]
[ 6927th RSM T-Shirt Design ]    [ Visit Memory Lane ]



SOME MUST-SEE WEB SITES

HATS, PINS, MUGS 'N' STUFF An online "store" where you can order all sorts of USAFSS-related items. They have not only USAFSS-related items but also unit-specific ones as well. It looks as though just about every unit down to the squadron level that was ever a part of USAFSS is represented. The proprietor claims that you can order custom LAPEL PINS in quantity-one at the same prices as stock pins if you want. .
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For Another Source Of USAFSS-Specific Memoribilia Items, Visit the USAFSS Store
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If you didn't find what you were looking for at those two sites, Try The USAFSS Cafe.
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The 6987th RSM--our "sister" site at Shulinkou Taiwan. We weren't alone out there. The 6987th was probably the geographically closest USAFSS site.
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A Sentimental Journey Pictures from Peter Messmore's (6927th 03/59-09/60) December 2007 visit to Onna Point.
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Honoring America's Silent Warriors A web site by Airlee Owens, chock full of interesting material and links to a wealth of USAFSS-related pages, photos and other images.
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6990th ESG Century Club Home Page To be a member of this group, you have to have flown 100 or more missions with the 6990th. They can be considered "latter day" bats in that many of them were still flying into the 1990s. Nice page by webmaster Bill Pace.
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6916th ESS Homepage. This page is a lot like ours. It serves as an Internet meetingplace for those who were assigned to the unit at some time in the past. The one thing that sets this one apart from ours is that...hold on to your hand logs, guys,... Heidi Fuller, one of the people behind this page was also a bat.
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Ron Samson's memories of a garden spot in the shadow of Mt. Pinatubo. A most informative and entertaining site by and for former members of the 6922 Security Group/Wing (Which is it, Ron?). This must have been after the shutdown of the 6925 RSM at the place they named the beer after. Thirty years ago, if he had even hinted in public some of the things you will see on his web site today, they might just now be getting around to thinking of letting him out of the slammer. I don't know about you, Samson, but I spent my time at the 27th helping the wrench jockeys at the Onna Point motor pool decipher the owners manuals for those imported six bys.
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The SKIVVY NINE HOME PAGE This one is a web-based meeting place for former members of the 6988th both in Japan and Korea in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Contains a wealth of info always of interest to those of us who were in the business. Nice page by John Baldwin.
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The 203 LOCATOR PAGE This page will be a reprise of "Back To The Future" for many OLD Bats. It is dedicated to the 203s who flew airborne during the Vietnam era. It is still under construction but already has a wealth of interesting information. It promises to be a superstar among USAFSS-realated web sites as more info is added to it.
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MEMORY LANE

View A collection of Onna Point pictures contributed by various Onna Point alums from all different eras and "curated" by Ward Vuillemot.
If you have a memory you would like to share with everybody contact us to arrange to showcase it here or in Ward's album.


Onna Pt Centerfold Some welcome(?)
Left: Onna Point's own centerfold, Jim Grogan, scans the Okinawan skies for possible airborne threats to the security of the island's last two reams of skivvy paper.
Photo courtesy of the J. Grogan Archive
Center:As always, the 6927th RSM extends its warmest welcome to all.
Right:Onna Point Airmen on their way to Choir Practice and quilting classes. They will be where they are going in a short time.

Click Here To view a collection of Onna Point and Okinawa photos from another of Ward Vuillemot's photo albums.


Does Anybody Remember The USO Shows That Came To Onna Point?

This one was in late '59 or early '60 after the theatre opened.
There was another in April '59 held in the room used for movies and commanders call etc.

Can anybody attach names to any of the faces? The "hoochy-coochy" dancer in drag in the center in the picture on the right is Charlie Bell. No idea who the other sexy siren is


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WHAT'S BECOME OF ONNA POINT?

Thanx to Wayne Westbrooks for a super photo.


Here 'tis from yet another angle.....

From a slide by S. Feit


According to Dave Hamilton, Security Service closed the facility in the late '60s and the Marines picked it up from the surplus property list. The Marines used it until Okinawa reverted back to Japan in 1972. At that time, it was taken over by the Japanese Self Defense Force. They used it for a few years and it now stands abandoned (sigh!).

Click here to read an account of life at Camp Onna Point -- USMC.

Mr. Naotsugu Urasaki of the Military Base Affairs Office of the Okinawa Prefectural Government was kind enough to provide us with information about "The Point" that dovetails nicely with the information provided earlier by Dave Hamilton." Their records carry it officially as "The Onna Communications Site."

Mr. Urasaki also indicated that the U.S. Army 58th Signal Battallion used the site sometime during the period the Marines had it. It is not known whether they shared the site with the Marines or whether they moved in after the 3rd Marine Recon Battallion transferred back to Camp Schwab in March 1982.

Other information provided by Mr. Urasaki also shows that the geographic entity known as "Onna" now extends southward to Nakadomari (where you turned left to go up the winding hill toward Camp Hague and Chibana) and northward to beyond the place we knew as "Onna Village." A host of world-class,luxury resorts and recreational areas have been developed in that area and it appears to be well on its way to becoming Okinawa's "Gold Coast. The road we used to call "Route 1" (where the 6927th RSM sign was) is now called Highway 58.
A map from a 1993 document published by Mr. Urasaki's office shows the facility still in U. S. hands at that time. It was not turned over to the Japanese until 1995. However, they are unable to do anything with the site because it was found to be contaminated with PCBs and Mercury.


Randy Wing a 202 who arrived at the point in January 1970, reports that the last day of operation for the 6927th was March 15, 1971. Randy was one of three people who composed and sent the last telex from the 27th on that date. The troops were moved to Kadena as a detachment of the 6990th and were bused to work at JSPC colocated with the 3rd ASA at Torii Station in Sobe.

In March 2006, we received an e-mail from Bill Fogle who reported that the Marines actually moved in in May 1971. Bill was a 1stLt and the 3rd Recon Batallion's adjutant at the time, they moved into the Onna Point site in May 1971--barely 60 days after the 6927th was deactivated and renamed it "Camp Onna Point." .

According to Aussie Thayer, a former Marine stationed at Camp Butler as an MP from 1983 - 1986, the site was manned only by a lone Japanese security guard during the 1985-86 time frame but otherwise abandoned. It was considered by the Japanese guards to be a "punishment" assignment as it was the bottom of the barrel as far as guard assignments went.
Thanks, Aussie and "Semper Fi" to you, too.



Former 6927th member, Jim Grogan visited Onna Point during the summer of 1988. The gate was locked and the site was under the watchful eye of a lone Japanese caretaker who let Jim in to take a look around. Here's what he saw:
"Visiting my old Air Force unit site at Onna Point, ... ... was a trip into another dimesion. The base had an empty look from a distance. Arriving at the gate, it became immediately apparent that the emptiness was no illusion. The site was deserted. And not recently. Peeling paint on the cinderblock buildings, broken windows, doors fallen from hinges. A silent dog eyed me warily from inside a padlocked gate. I noticed that although the buildings were in a state of tropical decay, the grounds had been maintained. Grass cut, hedges trimmed. A lone cartetaker graciously allowed entry into what had been an around-the-clock center of military activity.

Viewing the exterior of these dead buildings I once knew so well was eerie enough, but going through the doorless entrances was a feeling beyond my experience. Was this really happening? Was it really I that spent two and a half years living and working within these walls? Perhaps it was my father who was here. My grandfather? An episode from 'The Twilight Zone' I saw years ago

The rooms reeked of decay and things long gone. I stepped gingerly not only to avoid the debris, but so not to disturb the spirits whose presence were as heavy as the smell of mildew. I went room by deteriorated room, building by building. The compound where all the electronic activity occured, the very purpose for the base, was definitely the most frought with feeling. This windowless blockhouse which once had the tightest security--armed MPs, Top Secret Clearance and photo ID required for entry--was now secured by a rotting 2x4 nailed across the doorless entrance. In a dreamlike state, I walked the dark hallways. Is that the constant chatter of teletype machines I hear? Do I detect the clicking of a morse code key from that corner room where I spent eight hours each day?

PHOTOS FROM JIM GROGAN'S AUGUST 1988 VISIT TO ONNA POINT

Former 6927th 203 Bill Harris at what was the main gate house.
(Sorry Bill, the last bus to New Koza left in March of 1971.)
Here's Bill waiting for an AP to show up and give him his badge so he can get to work. Still as dedicated as ever. What was left of the chow hall. Grogan says the SOS improved considerably with age but the coffee was as lousy as ever.

From what could be determined from the caretaker, the base was abandoned years ago by the Air Force and taken over by the Marines (as is almost every military installation on the island). And the marines, apparently not into sedentary entertainment, had converted the old movie theater into a racquet ball court and the antenna field became an exercise course.

The Marines, in turn, abandoned the base and there it sits, crumbling buildings with trimmed lawns. A Pacific ghost town. I'm sure it's but a matter of time until some enterprising Japanese real estate developer turns the whole thing into condos."

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In 1996, Art Zich visited Onna Point. Here is his account of what he saw.
"when i was back on oki doing the nat geo story, i naturally paid a visit to the old 6927th rsm site. it ain't there any more. i mean, it was astounding: from that left turn off the coast highway up to the site itself, it's all chock-a-block with houses now; the sweet potato fields are gone; and there is not a sign that anything had ever been built on the site itself. even the concrete foundation slabs have been taken out. it's all razor grass and wild sugar now, and a soft wind blowing over the place gives it a genuinely eerie feeling."

NOTE:--The site may have been cleared due to perceived environmental hazards reported in March 1996, SF.


In April 1998, John Dankowski was on Okinawa and, of course, made the obligatory pilgrimage to Onna Point. Sadly, all he could do was to confirm what Art Zich saw in 1996. [Sigh!] It all goes to prove the old chestnut that "you can't go home." So let's all drink a toast to our temporary home and relish some fond memories of how we knew it. Here's John's account of what he found:
".... Then, off base, FIRST DESTINATION: Onna Point! And, yes, it is GONE! Totally obliterated. As one makes that run from Kadena to Onna, the whole coast road is now dotted with trendy and expensive beach resort hotels, one right after the other. As one enters a much grown-up town of Onna on Highway 58, that left turn into the Point is now a busy intersection, the road goes in a thousand yards, and as it starts to make that right uphill turn past those old (and newer) Okinawan graves, even the PAVED ROAD is....GONE! It's now a sand road, and as we went up the hill, I kept telling Eve, this is about where the Onna Point site was. But there was NOT A TRACE! All grass and weeds and coral. But not a foundation or a grown-over sidewalk or anything. I began to even question if this indeed WAS the place.....until I drove right to the cliff, and there below, was that same set of coral outcroppings, cliffs, and the big cave with its gaping hole facing the sea, where I--and many of you--scuba dived or beach-combed or just relaxed looking at the sea urchins, seaslugs, starfish, and tiny cobalt blue fish, which are all still there, in lesser abundance."



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Based on information obtained from various sources, here is a chronology of the site and the organization as best as can be pieced together:

A special note of thanks to Paul Lafitte and T. C. McKissick for details on the Yontan Years.

April 1953:
USAF Security Service establishes the unit at Yontan Airstrip as Detachment 2, 15th Radio Squadron Mobile(RSM).


October-November 1953:
The unit becomes Flight A, 29th RSM. The 29th RSM was located at Clark AFB in the Phillipines.


November 1954:
The unit redesnigated as Detachment 1, 29th RSM.


Late 1954-Early 1955:
Construction begins on a new home for the activity at Onna Point to be known as the 6927th Radio Squadron Mobile. Completion scheduled for Spring 1956.


May 7-8, 1955:
The 6927th is born when Detachment 1, 29th RSM is redesignated 6927th Security Flight.


February 1956:
Squadron moves into newly completed barracks at the Onna Point facility still under construction. The operations people continue to commute to work at Yontan pending completion of the Operations Building at Onna Point.


August 1956:
Typnoon Emma severely damages the Yomitan facility and a decision is made to just relocate the activity to the almost complete Onna Point facility rather than rebuild. Thie move was accompanied by the upgrading of the unit to a squadron.


March 15, 1971:
Operation of the 6927th ends and the site is turned over to the Marine Corps shortly afterward.


May 1971:
Marines Open the facility as the "Camp Onna Point "; home to the 350- man 3rd Recon Batallion.


1974:
At the 15th meeting of the Security Consultative Committee (SCC),
an agreement was reached that returned 260,000 square metres [About 40 acres] of the total
of 631,000 square metres[About 100 acres] occupied by the site [to Japanese control]. This was most likely the area to the north of the site used for the antenna farm.


Sometime during 1977:
USAFSS goes out of business with the remnants folded into the newly formed Air Force Electronic Security Command (ESC).


March 1982:
The Third Marine Corps Reconnaisance Battallion transferred to Camp Schwab


1985-86
Site sat abandoned but used by Marine Corps for patrol dog and Military Police SWAT team training.


June 1990:
The U.S.-Japan Joint Committee confirms that they will continue with realignment
process and completely return the site [to Japanese control.]


November 1995:
The Onna Point Site is returned. [Presumably to Japanese control.]


March 1996:
PCBs and other chemicals are found in the water filtration tanks at the site


November 1997:
Seventy former members of the 6927th RSM gather in New Orleans for a reunion. The reunion was a resounding success. All who attended enjoyed it and many old friendships were renewed. Another reunion is being planned for October 1998 in San Antonio.

Reunions become an annual event. Click here to view Ward Vuillemot's albums of photos from all of our annual reunions since 1997.


December 1997:
Found someone trying to tell the world something we knew 40 years ago. Take a look at http://www.virtualginza.com/scuba0.htm


June 1999:
The photo below, of the site once occupied by the 6927th RSM, was taken in June 1999 by the son of a friend of Terry Clarke's who is a jet jockey stationed At kadena.





The photo below was also taken by Terry's friend's son on his June 1999 visit to Onna Point. It shows the intersection where you turned left off the old Route 1 looking south toward Moon Beach.



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Presently:
According to most recent information available, the U. S. military and the Japansese Defense Facility Administration continue ongoing discussions about the site. However, the site has been completely leveled with even the roads and building slabs removed.


THE 6927th RADIO SQUADRON MOBILE HALL OF FAME


Over a thousand men were assigned to the 6927th during its organizational lifetime. While it might not be considered unusual for perhaps one member of a group that size to achieve national or worldwide recognition, we have identified at least four such superstars and are proud to have known them "way back when..."

To recognize the achievers among us, we have established the Onna Point Hall of Fame. While a lot of our alumni have gone on to do great things, the hall of fame is reserved for those who have risen to national or international prominence as a result of their accomplishments.

Here are the ones we know of and a rundown on what they have accomplished to merit being in the OPHOF. If you know of someone whose name would be recognized nationally or worldwide by people outside of their own fields, then let us about him. Also, if you see any errors of commission or omission, please let us know so that we can correct them. In view of the fact that we have at least one world-class journalist looking over our shoulder, the least we can do is try to be accurate.

Here are the members of our own "Hall Of Fame."


Michael F. Coady

Mike returned to civilian life and became CEO of Fairchild Publications; parent company of numerous national periodicals such as Women's Wear Daily. Indeed an accomplishment. Wish we knew more about Mike to include here but he seems to be a bit publicity shy. Proud to have served with you, Mike.




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William A. Harris
Got to see Bill's resume in full. The guy is a phenomenon. However, in compliance with Bill's wishes, here are the specific accomplishments he feels are his most meaningful ones:

Dr. William A. Harris

Served at Onna Point, August 1958 to February 1960.

Later Career:
Director of Black Studies, Western Washington University
Ass't Professor, Center for Afro-American Studies, Wesleyan University
Director of Research, University of the Virgin Islands
Visiting Professor, African American World Studies, U of Iowa
Currently, Dept of Sociology, Boston College"

Not to take away from these not inconsiderable accomplishments, even if Bill won't say it, let it be known that what you see here is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; an extremely LARGE iceberg.




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John (JC) Quinn

Onna Point alumnus JC Quinn (Nov '58-Aug '60) can be seen in TWO films coming (March 1998) to a theatre near you; "The Deceiver" and "Primary Colors." In the Deceiver, he plays a mob-connected priest, and in "Primary Colors, he plays the role of "Uncle Charlie."

JC's story is almost a screenplay in itself. He came to the Air Force as a high school dropout and after returning to civilian life, he eventually found acting. His career took him from local reptory companies to the world-famous Actor's Studio and on to roles in about 70 feature films including "Barfly," "Vision Quest," "The Program," "The Base," "Criss Cross," "Days of Thunder," "Turner and Hooch," "The Abyss," "Wired," "Big Business," "Heartbreak Ridge," "At Close Range" and "Chud."

JC's TV credits include roles in episodes of "Cheers," "Cagney And Lacy," "Quantum Leap," "Miami Vice" and "Silk Stalkings." He also played a role in the first episode of last years "Big Easy."

In February 2004, while driving back to his home in North Carolina from Mexico, JC lost his life in a traffic accident. Rest in peace, JC.



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Arthur M. Zich

During his tour at the '27th, Art was well known for his wit, artistic ability and talent as a writer. Thus it came as no surprise that he was one of the few who rose to the top of his chosen field.

Art's achievements since leaving the 27th and returning to civilian life, without a doubt, make him a true Onna Point Hall Of Famer. We had to twist his arm, but here's what we were able to wheedle out of him: Eight years as a staffer at Time, Inc., including reporter, Life Magazine (Sports), staff writer Sports Illustrated (yachting and skiing [If it were me, I would have even taken a pay cut if they let me do the swimsuit stuff. S. F.].

He did a stretch with Time's San Francisco Bureau capped off by three and a half years covering Vietnam and Southeast Asia for Time and Life.

In 1968 he jumped ship and went to work for Newsweek as national affairs editor and followed that up as a Newsweek correspondent in Vietnam (1973-74).

Awarded a Professional Journalism Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a year's study at Stanford (1975). [Note: Although he doesn't mention it here, I think that he has taught graduate level journalism at Stanford in recent years.]

Not content with reporting on current affairs, Art also wrote the book "The Rising Sun" chronicling the start of war in the Pacific for the Time- Life Books World War II series.

Art's work most likely to be seen by the average person has to be the many major stories he has written for National Geographic. His most recent story was the cover story for the September 1997 issue; "China's Three Gorges Dam." He did one on Okinawa called "OKINAWA: Claiming Its Birthright," that appeared in the June 1997 issue. Also among the articles Art has written for National Geographic were "The Fall of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos" (July 1986) and "Japanese-Americans" (April 1986). The latter was chosen for inclusion in National Geographic's own anthology of 100 years of great writing.

Sad to report, Art departed this world for the "Big Press Gallery In The Sky" in 2012. His obituary can be found HERE



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