Remnants of the US Air Force Base in Tachikawa, Japan

May 13, 2010 · Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 

The abandoned US Air Force (USAF) base in Tachikawa is a bramble-choked memento from the early days of Japanese/American war and peace. It was annexed by the USA shortly after World War II, in co-operation with the still-active nearby Japan Army (SDF) Base, then abandoned in the 1970’s as the Vietnam war came to a close.

Its three huge chimneys are still visible from the exterior, brick-red and lined up like masts on a rudderless ship, slowly sinking deeper into the smothering sea of green jungle. Its airstrip now swims with weeds, and bamboo forests have grown through the foundations where buildings once stood, patrolled by old men on bicycles keeping a watchful eye on the 10-foot perimeter fence.

Storage bunker, one of the few remaining structures on base.

As with the Fuchu Air Base, I’ve been here before. The first time was some two years ago, in the early days of my haikyo exploration. I must have walked the perimeter circle 4 or 5 times, as dusk fell around me, wondering if I had the chutzpah to scale the fence. At no point was it easy to climb, and at no point in an isolated spot. It got dark, and I became antsy. The guard in the guard box out front didn’t leave, except to occasionally drive carefully around the interior, or cycle around the fence. In the end, I gave up. It didn’t seem worth it, so I backed off.

Map of the whole base. The central part is now the huge Showa Kinen Park, site of Tokyo`s only full disc golf course. The left oblong, 1km long, is the abandoned base. The right oblong is the still-active SDF base.

The second time, around a year later, I arrived with my chutzpah turned on, knowing what to expect. After circling the base to my desired sport, I just went at it. Over a fence, and in.

After that, my memory’s a series of frantic snapshots as I ran around looking for things to shoot. It started to rain, reducing visibility, and that just amped me up further. Roads criss-crossed in every direction, and I knew that the old security guard could use any of them. I didn’t doubt I could out-run him if it came to a chase- but I didn’t want it to come to a chase.

And so even with the sense of real risk pretty absent, I still ran from cover to shelter like a hunted animal. When taking shelter in buildings, I became acutely aware of my heart thumping, and more worried every second about stepping back out of my new-found safety, and into the open.


This massive bunker hosted me for around 30 minutes, as I planned my next line of attack-

It is pretty huge, covered in ivy, and built to withstand serious punishment. The walls and doors are several feet thick.

Covered in ivy.

The central part of the bunker had probably once been an office, with desks, machinery controls, and grilled windows looking into the hangar-like storage area alongside.

The two doors left and right lead to the hangars.

Filing cabinets belie it was an office.

Empty storage shelves in the bunker’s back room

The hangars either side were filled with old equipment. The southern wing (below) had what looks like a lot of air conditioning equipment. The northern wing had chairs and assorted engine parts. In the back was a staircase, going up to the roof.

Of course I clambered over everything to get to it. and up- affording me the best view of the remains of the base anyone’s had in years.

Elevator and lift gear in storage.

Looking back towards the entrance, the stairs to be climbed.

Up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs was a small room, smashed in rot and weather, then more stairs, then the roof.

Signalman`s room?

Rickety stair-case.

One of the hazards of haikyo- stairways whose rungs have fallen away. I walked with great care.

On the roof the view was excellent, dominated by the forest, and the three chimneys.

Roof and chimneys.

Roof ruins.

After leaving that sanctuary, again I was on the run, bobbing in and out of the overgrown forest and through clumps of bamboo, head ducking in search of the old dude on his bicycle. I heard there were immense apocalypse-emergency tunnels underneath the old base, perhaps some kind fall-out shelter for Tokyo’s elite. I saw a few hatch-like structures emerging above ground, which had no doors of any kind. Could those be the air circulators, for such a massive complex?

This from Wikipedia.

Consolidation resulted in the establishment of the Tachikawa Disaster-Preparedness Base, involving hundreds of miles of tunnels designed to support 5,000 top government members for a year in the event of a catacylsmic disaster. The bunker building is one of only a few remaining structures on the large base lot.

I didn’t linger around them.

After a while I got pretty turned around inside. Even seeing the three massive chimneys, that I’d seen clearly from outside, didn’t really help orient me.

The guards had buckled a ladder into the chimney flues, so it is possible to climb up inside them.

I climbed up inside one, and again briefly relaxed. What were these chimneys for, remnants of some kind of power plant, or a waste incinerator? Did they cremate bodies here?

Inside the flue.

Looking out.

Looking at the inside of the base of the chimney.

Looking down at the base of the chimney.

Dreaming of the past.

After the towers, dusk was falling and I really thought I was pushing my luck to stay any longer. I wasn’t sure any more which way I’d come or which way was out- all the straight grid streets of the base looked equally overgrown, and I’d zig-zagged through so much bamboo I had no idea where my entry climbing fence had been.

I got out my iPhone and pulled up the map feature. Then, working myself up into a lather, I started to run.

Which way was I going? Where was the exit?

Watching the little screen with me inching down an overgrown road, peeking up to check I wasn’t slaloming into some obstacle, I felt weirdly like a World of Warcraft character running to his next battle. I ran in a straight line for a few minutes, until at last one of the easiest fences- also closest to the guard’s box- emerged, and I plunged for it. At last I hit it, vaulted over the top, and landed on the legal side, out of breath.

An old lady looked at me confusedly. I nodded, and went on my way. So it goes.


The Tachikawa base started life as an Imperial Japanese Army airfield, though that role later morphed to also cater to civilians by the 1920’s. In 1929 Japan`s first regularly scheduled commercial air service departed from this base to Osaka, a three hour commute that was in operation for 4 years, until the service was moved to Haneda airport on Tokyo Bay. After 1933 the base returned to being an Army airfield, and remained so until the end of World War II. During the war it was defended by the Shintentai, an anti-aircraft kamikaze group. Near the end of the war Tachikawa was subjected to heavy bombing, and in the aftermath was occupied by the US.

From Wikipedia Disaster struck Tachikawa on June 18, 1953 when a U.S. Air Force C-124 Globemaster II transport experienced an engine failure on takeoff, crashing shortly after. The accident claimed the lives of 129 people, and was the deadliest air disaster in history at the time. With a runway only 1,500m long, Tachikawa was not adequate for the largest aircraft, and the U.S. decided to extend the runway into the neighboring town of Sunagawa.

The July 8, 1957 Sunagawa Riots resulted in cancellation of the plan. The U.S. instead developed Tama Airfield (the present-day Yokota Air Base) and moved its operations there. By 1969, the U.S. had largely left Tachikawa, and in 1977, after the end of the Vietnam War, it returned the base to Japanese control.

The Japanese government put the land to a variety of uses. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force established a base there, as did the Japan Coast Guard, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the Tokyo Fire Department.


Sign up to MJG's free newsletter and get:
- updates on latest books
- special discounts and giveaways
- exclusive free stuff

198 Responses to “Remnants of the US Air Force Base in Tachikawa, Japan
  1. Steve O says:

    I went to mid school, High School and raced moto-cross (with the DRACOTT BOTHERS) , Jason Dracott was my friend. We lived in a lot house just north of the mid school. 74-76. Yokota Panthers ! Anyone seen RON HIDISHIMA , Mike Hinckle, or J D or sister Jody ? ? Email me at yahoo. P.S. Talked to Tom French recently. I lived at Kingsley Air Force Base , in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and knewCorina Beard, she was a hotty then too.

    • Kathy Durham says:

      I lived at Tachi from 74 to 76, lived at Yokota from 76 to 78. The pics of Tachi are sad. What an adventure, I would love to take a trip back.

  2. Walter Schafer says:

    In 1946 I was stationed at the 8Th Army Automotive Maintenance School i in Fuchu ( Fuchinobe?). I do not remember an air base other than Tachikawa.
    Our base was a former Japanese Tank training school.

    Any information on the subject would be appreciated

    Walter Schafer

  3. Marci says:

    I went to kindergarten off base in 1976 but my sister went to ementary school on base. I have fond memories of living there and it breaks my heart to see the condition the base is in today.

  4. Gary Watkins says:

    In 1962 I was 12 and my brother was 5. We snuck into that old bunker..squeezed between the bars. Had a great time exploring. When we left some lady saw us and yelled at us. We hightailed it on my bike, back home where we hid in the house, for sure thinking the Air Police were on their way.
    My 3 years there (60-63) were the probably the coolest of my youth. Baseball, school trips, movies (15 cents) in that old wind tunnel, the best teacher in my life (Mrs. Price 6th grade), having the run of the base (and sometimes off base) with the blue line and red line buses, Bamboo Village. So many memories.

    • steve robinson says:

      Gary–have no idea if you remember me—doing a little Googling late at night in Farifax, VA. We were classmates—had Mrs Price and spent a lot of time together for several years–played LL baseball together–and I remember your cameo in “Fight from Ashya.” Would be great to catch up with you.

  5. Beth Irish Hamilton says:

    My father was stationed at Tachikawa in 1965-68 I believe. His name was Paul Irish and I was just curious if anyone knew him there. We all were there with him, my mother Peggy, me and my sister Stephanie.

    • Richar Start says:

      My family was also there from 65 to 68 or there abouts, The best of times there. We had a year in the paddies and some time on base. My Parents were Dick and Dee Start and we the kids were Bill, Rick and Pat.

      • Pat (Start) Hensley says:

        Rick’s sister Pat, here: I remember school mates Jay Blue and Caroline Kennedy. I went to K, 1st & 2nd grade on base. I also remember that my brothers had a friend named Dave Crocker, his mom’s name was Betty (that sort of thing sticks with you)

  6. Charles Seale says:

    I was born at Tachikawa, AFB in 1961 when my Father (a fighter pilot) was first stationed there. We returned to the States soon after my birth, but returned in 1967 shortly after my 6th birthday and remained till late 1969. I still have very vivid memories of time there. I find these pictures incredibly haunting. We lived in Base housing at Shoa. Our neighborhood had a series of tunnels and bunkers underneath, and we kids explored every inch. I think our parents would have completely freaked out if they had known. If anyone viewing this page remembers Capt. Leon C. Seale (or his kids), or was in 1st grade at Tachikawa, AFB in 1968, I would love to hear from you. Drop me a line at

  7. Gene Wagoner says:

    If anyone is interested there is a web site called
    anyone can join if you were stationed there, not only for military but also dependants. The person that runs the web site went to school on the base. Has over a 1000 members and tons for pictures.

    • I lived near Tachikawa AFB when I was a very young dependent then ( I just turned 67) with my older sister Suzanne, mother Isabelle, and my father Bruce Jones, Sr. ( now deceased) who I believe ran the motor pool as an NCO, that may have been involved with transporting wounded returning from Korea to a nearby hospital, about 1950. Please have someone contact me from the TABJ Yahoogroup during that period. I recall we also went over on a troopship- in some very bad weather. I am doing some research for our family album now that I am retired and could use some help. Thank you for any assistance.

      • Genette Taylor-Eysselinck says:

        Dear Bruce,
        I am not sure about your time frame (I am 65), but your troopship experience in bad weather sounds very familiar to me. My mother, brother and I departed San Francisco on the USS General Gaffey on December 24, 1954. The ship ran into bad weather in mid-Pacific and was blown several days off course. I can remember eating breakfast in a deserted mess, and climbing up to the upper bunk where my brother was sleeping because the trash can kept rolling around the cabin, banking into the walls and the lower bunk. We did finally arrive safe and sound in Yokohama, but several days late…better late than never, right?

  8. Ray J. Clark says:

    I was at Tachikawa AFB in 1953-1954 It was the embarkation point for Air Force personnel going to Korea Passed throuhg their going over and coming back. In those days you went overseas on a troopship.Tachikawa was also the central point for R&Rs. About all I can remember of the base is that it had a nice NCO club….but not as nice as the Rocker 4 club in Tokyo.
    I remember the short runways,you could see oil and grease marks and smudges all over the houses at the end of the runway.So much for the golden days.

    • brandy says:

      did you know a james d. buchanan from georgia? tall beanpole of a guy? i know it’s a common name, but my grandfather was stationed there, maybe around the same time. flight engineer, lived off base next to a dairy farm with wife betty and two kids. he never talks about anything. keeps it all bottled up, so it’s hard to know when exactly he was there. he was burned badly in a plane crash where he went back in and saved some of the guys, and that yah, they had a nice nco club. that’s all he would ever really let out. he and grandma retired and still live in northern california. we’re newly stationed in yokosuka and i thought it would be cool if i could visit the old tachikawa. please email me if you have any info. Thanks!


    Really interesting article. My father was stationed at Tachikawa in 1961 – 1963. I went to kindergarten and remember a little about the area. My youngest sister was born there.
    My dad was an MP. I have several pictures of my parents at the NCO club.
    I definitely remember my “nanny” Yoshiko giving us a going away dinner at her home! Fantastic!!

    • Skeeter Funge Gurzick says:

      Linda, we lived there from 1961-1963, too. We had 6 kids & lived by the back gate. Our dad was a flight chief. He was in the 59th (?) Air Rescue. He kept the planes and hangar in great shape for the crews who went out looking for anyone who might be water-stranded. One brother was born at Johnson AFB, Japan, & my sister, Pattie, was born at Tachi in ’62. She lives n Cleveland area today. I went to Yamato HS as a fresh/soph and then we were transferred to Offutt AFB in Omaha NE, where I live today. I have some photos but would have to find them to post on-line.

      We remember the Green Elephant Apartments (where there was a theater in the lower level, a commissary, beauty salon, barber, etc. We loved visiting friends who lived there, but we lived on base in a two story. The NCO club and the NCO olympic pool was where we spent a lot of our weekends and summers.

      • Ron Bound says:

        I was at Fuchu from 63-65. I remember the Tachi NCO club, and remember going back in the 70s when it was falling apart. How sad. Was a great tour. Also living in Omaha area. Ron

    • Diane Biales Allison says:

      Hi! I was in Tachi, 60-63, with my family. My Dad, at that time Capt. albert Biales
      Was in command of the Terminal–there was nowhere to hide for us young teens
      without the parent grapevine knowing…however, there were the midnight movies on Friday. And the pool. And do you guys remember the Teen Club? I believe my bestie, Holly Correll’s mom, was in charge. Don’t feel confused. There were six Correll kids, and they were there for multiple tours.
      I remember going to 7th grade on Tachi,at the old Education Center. I guess 8th, too.
      But then…Yamato! In the shadow of Mt. Fuji…pep rallys, basketball games. Five cent plates of fries at snack bar, or gargantuansized: 10c!
      I know that Holly has gone to some of the reunions…do you guys remember clustering before school, listening to our transistor radios when the Cuban Missile Crises was making us unsure if we were to be sent Stateside?
      I hope you are all well and full of good memories!
      Does anyone remember Mr. Pins, Miss Tveit, …..?
      Well, best to all. Would love to reconnect. 54 years later.
      Diane (dee) Biales Allison am on facebook.

  10. david says:

    thank you for the photos, i was born there in 1962,

    • Skeeter Funge Gurzick says:

      David, my sister, Pattie was born there in April 1962. She currently lives in a Cleveland suburb and is a teacher.

  11. Roger says:

    I was with the 374 troop carrier Wing (H). C124s 1956-1958.
    Great memories. All promotions were frozen, I left A2c.
    Prices were reasonable nevertheless.
    I still have the welcome to tachi book given to new arrivals.
    I’m 74 now with floods of good memories of my 2 years.
    USAF was good to me.

  12. karen says:

    i have a framed kindergarten cap and gown from the Tachikawa AFB Japan graduating kindergarten class of 1955 . i came upon it at a yard sale, could anyone provide info about this piece of history, the names on the inscription are Billy and John Newnan, it has a photo of the boys and what looks like an invitation in a matted frame at the bottom of the cap and gown which is like i said also framed, please email me at


    • Wendy (Amore) Littrell says:

      Roger – my family (not me) was at Tachi 53-55 & 57-58. My dad was Gene Amore & my mom (she was civil service) Mary Amore. Not sure if anyone remembers them. My dad’s still living in Florida. I’ve never been over there but have tons of slides & photos of my family’s time over there as well as letters back here to the states. Too bad Tachi AFB is gone – was hoping to someday see it as my family saw it.

    • Bob Pedersen says:

      I was also stationed at tachikawa in 1951. Our sqadron ,the 4th troop carrier squadron, was one suadron of the 62nd troop carrier group sent to Japan in November 1950 for 90 days TDY. We first went to ashiya and then to tachi. They kept extending our 90 day TDY. Then in last of 1951 two squadrons of the 61st TC group were sent to tachi and we became the squadron they left in washington. We became the 14th tc squadron in the 61st group. our squadron barracks was in a large brick building that had been the assembly line for the kamakaze aircraft during the war. I was a flight engineer on our C-54’s and reterned to the states in January 1952. If anyone has a picture of our barracks and/or the air base olease let me know. My email adress is

  14. Gowynne Braxton says:

    I was born on Tachikawa Air Base in March of 1969. I liked your documentary. so much I didnt know.

  15. Ann Ranlett says:

    How interesting to have found this! My dad was stationed there with the Air Force in 1953. I was just looking at a photo of his and it says Tachikawa, Japan on the back so I was trying to find out more about the base. His name is Philip Simpson , he’s 83 now and still going strong!

  16. Karen Franklin says:

    My father was stationed at the Tachikawa Air Base with the Army Air Force #317 Troop Carrier Group/ 39th Squadron in 1946. His name is Toney C. Franks and he is 85. He has some old pictures from that time that he used to always show us.

  17. Victor L Smith says:

    We were a U.S. Navy air unit stationed at Tachi the better part of 50 and 51.
    We had 5 aircraft and 22 men towing targets for the Navy and Air Force. It was a great place to be, good duty , good chow and plenty of Liberty. Would love to communicate with anyone who was there at the time. Our outfit was called VU-5.
    We flew JD-1’s and TBM’s. I have a few pictures.

  18. Gene Wagoner says:

    If anyone is interested there is a web site called
    anyone can join if you were stationed there, not only for military but also dependants. The person that runs the web site went to school on the base. Has over a 1000 members and tons for pictures.

  19. Very interesting to know about the history of the place. A great place to get to know about acquaintances in the vicinity, Great posts to read. Keep posting. Good job,

  20. Adrian Loyall says:

    Was stationed at Tachi from 1954 to 1956 Loved it. 374th field moint squadron. R4360 engine buildup shop. Spent two years in #350 hotel. I have a lot of pictures. Would like to hear from anyone that was there at this time I am from Kentucky. Will soon be 78 years old but have a lot of good e-mail is Thanks Adrian Loyall

    • Jim Cunningham says:

      My name is Jim Cunningham and I was stationed at Tachi from 1956 to 1957.
      I was not in the Air Force but in the army and lived in the tall building that is shown on this web page. We had a radar on the roof and we could pick up aircraft at a great distance ( forgot the exact distance ) and when they got closer we would send the plot information to the five 75mm guns that surrounded the airstrip, these guns also were equiped with radar and could lock on the aircraft and follow it. I do not believe that many people knew the guns were even there. We watched over that airstrip 24/7. I’m formally from Philadelphia but have lived in New Jersey for 44 years. My email address is
      Jim Cunningham

      • James Brashier says:

        I was in the army for two years. First year was at Fort Bliss, Texas where for 33 weeks I atteneded Fire Control Specialist school. I was taught basic electronics, (reading and understanding schematics) along with the maintence of the computer and radar and troubleshooting the Skysweeper (google skysweeper). This is the gun to which you refer.

        I arrived January 1, 1955 and was assigned to Battery C 32 AAA, Tachikawa AFB. We spent several months with little to do except to wait for the guns to be delivered. They arrived about the end of March. These were the first Skysweepers to be deployed at Techikawa AFB.

        It may have been your group who flushed us out of bed in the middle of the night or at the base theatre when a message would appear on the screen: “All Battery C 32 AAA return to battery area immediately. There, we got the orders: “Man your guns”.

        Agreed, I don’t believe the Air Force knew we were there. We were confined to the battey area for most of the time where we had a small day room with one pool table. Food, both quality and quanity, was great at the Air Force mess hall.

        • come join the 2 tachi sites here is the facebook page:

        • Jim Cunningham says:

          Hi James
          Nice to hear from someone who was in the same outfit as me. You are the first, and I’m sorry about getting you up in the middle of the night but duty comes first. I was one of the guys who would pick-up an unidenified aircraft and send the plot information to the people who manned the guns. I don’t know if you remember that tall building that is pictured on this web site but that was home sweet home. One of the roof pictures shows what is left of an air-raid siren and I have a picture that shows that very siren as it was in 1956.I would guess that you remember taking the skysweepers to Katiki (not sure of the spelling) to fire at small remote control planes to set the present and future positions of the guns.
          Again it was great to hear from someone from the old outfit and lets hope more guys read this and respond.
          Have a nice day and pray for the troops.

          Keep in touch,
          PS- I was also stationed at Fort Bliss but started out in the 101st Airborne at Fort Jackson South Carolina.

      • Ron Bound says:

        Thanks for your service. I enjoyed our tour there at Fuchu, and enjoyed our many trips to Tachi and the NCO club.

  21. Reed says:

    Wow, Very nice clicks you have shared here. Actually I am so much facsinate about Air Force in fact I wanted to join the Air Force but couldn’t thats why I got very much excited when see or hear about Air Force. Thanks for sharing this beautiful documentary here.

  22. Ray Spitz says:

    My step father, Sgt Walter T. White was stationed at Tachi 1954-1956. I was 12 when we went over on the USS Mitchell. I used to hang out at the teen club and joy ride in Jeeps we hijacked from the motor pool. Almost got my step dad busted over that but my friend’s dad was a Colonel and he was with me. I enjoyed my 3 years there growing up. Quite an experience. I remember the movie theater had tunnels running under it.

  23. John Townes says:

    I worked for MATS contract airlines on and off from 1958 to 1963. Inter Island contractor American International Airways (C-54/DC-4s) . Trans Pacific Contractor Flying Tiger Line (L1049H Super Connies & Canadair CL-44 swing tail turbo props) Riddle Airlines (DC-7s), I was station operations manager. Being a Brit I couldn’t live on base and lived in a hotel just near the main gate. Great days when Japan was still cheap and the girls very friendly. I went back in 1991 and found that it had returned to the Japan Self Defense Forces, although our hanger and office were still there at the North end of the ramp. Good days, fond memories.

  24. Nancy Ardell says:

    Our dad was stationed on Tachikawa/Feamcom AFB 1953 – 1956. We lived
    near by on another base, but we went to Tachikawa Dependent School on
    Tachikawa. 53-54 & 54-55. After that my sister went to the dependent high
    school in Tokyo, & I went to a new dependent school, called Green Park
    My sister recently found our year books from Tachikawa for those 2 years,
    when I have more time this fall, I’ll look at those books to see if your picture
    is in one of the class photos, if it’s there I’ll take a picture with my I phone, &
    send it to you.

  25. was looking places for where I have been and came across tachi japan where I was two days after the korea started having flown from the philippines with the
    13th airforce.we flew supplies to K and wounded and some times dead back
    to tachi. spent 7 months there then back to states to activate the 64th troop
    carrier sq for duty in Korea.I also spent 3 months at tachi 49 1n engine school.
    I am now 81 and live in Maryland

  26. john wessel says:

    i taught math at tachikawa middle school 1966=1967 and went to school at chofu and lived in fuchu in 1969 on nsf fellowship. Alas no pictures. Did anyone mention the typhoon which blew away one hanger and the roof of my neighbor BOQ building? must have been fall of 66.

  27. Jim Misener says:

    I lived across the street from the three chimneys, 1969 – 1974. I was a child then, and didn’t ask; however, I have always assume they were part of the central steam generation plant to provide heat to all the buildings.

  28. Marshall Huber says:

    I was born on Tachikawa AFB during 1948. My father (Maj. Albert B. Huber), was Provost Marshal during the occupation. I’m not sure how long the family was actually there as I am the only family member left that was alive then. My Mother told me the family had 7 maids working for us then (to help get people back to work) and I was very spoiled with all the attention I received as a newborn. I have several pictures of the family having Thanksgiving dinner on the base and of otherr sites. It visited Japan in 1975, I think the year the US pulled out of the base.

  29. Harris says:

    My father was stationed at Tachikawa from 1967 to 1972. I was 8 year old when we left Tachikawa so I don’t remember much about tachikawa but the only thing I remember about is my friend Trisha and the three chimneys. I want to go on a trip to Air Force base at tachikawa. Very beautiful documentary, me too have some pictures of Air Station clicked by my father may be I’ll share these with all of you here.

  30. Sharon Stormberg MacFawn says:

    Lived in Tachikawa from 57-59. Went to kingergarten there, my younger brother was born there in 1958. Some memories but I was pretty young 3yrs-5yrs.old. Remember a typhoon hit while living there. water up to the floors of the base housing we lived in, which was above ground and had a short stairway that led to entry door. Many pictures of our years there..

  31. WILLIAM SWOAPE says:

    My name is William A. Swoape and my father William C. Swoape was stationed in Japan for a total of about 8 years. First Misawa in the 60’s and then Yokota and Tachikawa early to mid 70’s. Air force. He was with CES ( Civil Engineers Squadron) and an ALL AIRFORCE fastpitch softball pitcher. I remember riding my bike from one side of Tachikawa to the other to go too the bowling alley and skating rink. The communist Japanese would light tires on fire and we would have to ride thru heavy smoke on our bikes to get back home. I remember living at Y-14 Fujimi heights. As a young boy it was a fun and interesting experience living in Japan. My father served 28 years in the Airforce,…including Dover, Delaware,… Edwards, California,… Kinchloe, Michigan,…Carswell, Texas,…the dewline in Alaska,…Misawa, Yokota, Tachikawa, Japan,…and a VERY long time in Viet Nam. I know I’m missing a few,…but wanted to share about Japan. Maybe some here knew my father. GREAT story by the way,…worth the read for sure !!!!
    Bill Swoape
    P.S. some might remember my Father and some of his buddies taking a manquin named Ethel and showing up with her in different locations on base. They raised a lot of money for charity. That was Yokota I think.

  32. Hi. Was at Tachi 60-63 from age 11-14, my sister, Sandy Biales, and I went to
    7th, me and 8th, at the old Education Center, then Yamato.
    Holly Correll was my bestie, and Lauren Correll my sister’s. Not writing a lot at first, because I did, and it erased itself!

    Very best,
    Diane Biales

  33. I promise many more memories, and thank you all, so much for yours!

    This is exciting!

  34. Howard Feltham says:

    Hello All: My Father and family were stationed at Tachi from 1962 to 1967, we lived off base in Tachikawa city for one year near the Haciochi line and Tama River, then moved on base in a home one block from the teen club. I went to Yamato High School and graduated in 1967. I remember the wind tunnel movie theater and spending much time at the on base teen club, and dancing to the beet of the young American teen bands. Had many friends who lived in American Village, and going out at night at the front gate (Main Gate) and exploring the downtown night life. We (my friends) all had small Honda 50cc Motorcycles to get around and go to Yamato Air Station to go to High School. I was on the school foot ball team and I remember we took first place that year (1967). I had been given a Red Datsun Fair lady sports car to drive, and I enjoyed traveling with my Girlfriend JoAnne. Tachikawa was a great place to grow-up as a teenager. I remember the Tachikawa train station and getting hot chestnut’s in the winter, or the crazy yen vs. dollar value at 360 Yen to one dollar, and the 10 cents per gallon gasoline on base, 11 cent per pack for cigarettes. I remember the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. My friends and I even claimed Mt Fuji and stayed overnight in the 8th station so we could make the final climb to see the sun rise. I guess I could go on for many more lines.
    Regards Howard Feltham (Yamato HS class of 1967)

  35. John S. Reddoch says:

    I was stationed at tachikawa 1951 &1952 was a radio operator on c46’s flew to Korea every day. was in the 344th TCS known as “the fat cats”

  36. John S. Reddoch says:

    enjoyed it

  37. Michael Oakley says:

    My father was stationed at Tachikawa from 1956 to 1960. When we lived in the “patties” I attended Green Park Elementary, then attended school on Tachikawa.
    We lived on the corner right next to the steam plant with the canal right across the street. Base hospital was on east side of base. My sister was born at the base hospital. I was 8 when we arrived in Japan and 12 when we returned stateside. Some of my friends and I would at a bus down to Atsugi/Yokohama and spend the day playing put-put golf and going to free movies. My uncle was jet fighter pilot stationed at Yokota. We lived close to Fuchu before moving on Tachi. Spent a lot of time at the Fuchu NCO pool. Ate Sunday breakfast at Fuchu NCO Club. All-in-all it was a good life over there.

  38. Steve Schwartz says:

    I am not surprised at the fond memories exhibited by all the people here. I am the same way because being in Tachikawa was one of the most happiest times in my life. I was 13 when my father was transferred to Tachikawa. I traveled to Japan with my parents and younger brother. My sister was born in the Tachikawa AFB hospital in 1962. My Father was was a Master Sergeant. My brother and I had a fun time in Japan. On my allowance of 20 dollars a month, I could buy a lot of stuff. At that time a dollar was 365 yen. Prices were cheap. I can remember that for 5 cents you can buy a plate of rice and gravy or french fries at the base cafeteria. Also a plate of 3 donuts was 10 cents. I can also remember that all money was in military payment certificates. When I got my monthly allowance, I felt rich because you had 20 (5) cent script for a dollar. My family lived in the rice patties for 2 years until we moved on base in a nice two story quarters that was fit for a general. I attended school on the base at Tachikawa and then to Yamato HS. I remember the statue of the elk outside the NCO club, I wonder if it still stands. If I had to relive my life in Japan, I would gladly do so. I get nothing but fond memories.

  39. Susan Sorg says:

    My mother, Betty Lou Willis, was at Tachi from 1951 to Nov. 1952, working as a civilian bookkeeper in the Exchange. Her brother, Joe Willis, was a Chief in the Navy and a corpsman serving with a group of Marines in Korea, coming to Tachikawa from time to time on leave to see her. If anyone knew her or a friend of hers, Capt. Archie Bower, who was AF, please contact me, at She passed several months ago at the age of 92, and she never forgot the time she was there, and was still talking about it not long before she died. I’ve found some photographs from there, and it looks like a small city.

  40. Susan Sorg says:

    One added postscript: I was born several years after her return, and know she had a pretty amazing life. Everyone in the family in her generation is gone now, and I just wanted to find out more about the young woman she was, that’s all, who on a whim decided to work overseas. I don’t have any other names of the people she knew, other than Archie and Mieko, who was the maid for the apartment she shared with I think two other women.

  41. Lynn Collins Keener says:

    My name is Lynn Collins Keener- I was born in Tachikawa and want to see pics of what it looked like in 1958 when I was born. My father Lewis McLean Collins retired from the Air Force, & before I was old enough to be curious about my birth place he passed away. If someone has pics of the base I would love to see them. My email is

  42. William R. York says:

    I remember sitting on one of the swings on the playground of my school at Tachikawa Air Force Base, Japan in the late 1950’s and looking at Mt. Fuji covered in snow. What a memory. Thanks!

  43. Richard (Rick) Dojack says:


  44. Richard Dojcak says:

    I arrived in Japan just before the terrible C-124 crash, as a radio operator, in the 22nd tcs squadron. I remained there til Jan of 55. E-mail me at


Only enter your email for your free book.

Popular Ruins / Haikyo