6927th RADIO SQUADRON MOBILE
Onna Point, Okinawa
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
Go Back To Shortcuts
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
Go Back To Shortcuts
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.
Go Back To Shortcuts
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
Go Back To Shortcuts
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.
Go Back To Shortcuts
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.
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
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.
"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?
|Former 6927th 203 Bill Harris at what was the main gate
(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."
"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."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:
NOTE:--The site may have been cleared due to perceived environmental hazards reported in March 1996, SF.
".... 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."
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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