Remnants of the US Air Force Base in Tachikawa, Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 515 Comments

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.

Exciting.

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.

History

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.


Comments 515

  1. Great site…thanks Michael.

    My name is Larry Schwing and my father was stationed at Tachi from 65-67. We lived at Kanto Mura and attended 5th thru 6th grade there. I can remember my science teacher named Mr. Morwaki (sp), he took us on school weekend field trips throughout Japan. Wish I could have recorded all of the trips and taken pictures. In Kanto Mura we could buy candy from the Mingko Store through the fence. We moved to Tachi for my 7th grade year. My best friend at Tachi was the Commander of the 6100th Support Wing Brigadier General Ault’s son Jimmy…think that was his name, but his sister went to Yamato HS and sang opera all the time…YUK! The big running back for Yamato HS, Tom Lang, lived across the street. Only time I got into any trouble was when Gen. Ault’s son got his father’s staff car, complete with the two star flag mounted to the front, to take us to the amusement park Yomiuri Land for the day. When we returned my father, who was a Major at the time, was with Gen. Ault at their house…not fun! Great memories and loved my time in Japan, especially the trips into Tokyo to stay the weekend at the American Sanno Hotel. My father drove once, but we took the train there after.

    1. I was stationed at Tachikawa during 1954 and 1955. Enjoyed my time there and traveled to many other places in Japan. Also climbed Mt. Fuji with my good friend and his Japanese wife. By: Carl Hillis.

      1. Carl I was there in Jan 1956. Going to the airport barber shop there was a picture of a beautiful three master schooner all in gold. I’m trying to find a picture of it

        Can you help me…Thanks

        Armand Gaudette
        armandgaudette@yahoo.com

    2. Sounds like you will have memories for the rest of your life. I was born at the Air Force Base Hospital in Tachikawa to my American parents. Been back here in the States and getting any licenses renewd is hectic! Have a great life!

      1. Ms. Witcher,
        My name is david shawn alexander, and i was born at tachikawa to american parents also in august of 1961. I was wondering if you would be willing to share if you were born close to that time. My parents are deceased and I am left with nothing but my fathers photo album. He was in an intelligence group and he never, to anyone, his entire life told what he did. Even to his closest son. If you could enlighten me with any details I would greatly appreciate it.We returned to the states when i was three, and I have no memories of my birthplace. And I have never met anyone from my home town, so to speak.

    3. I lived at Kanto Mura also but 64-65. We were at Washington Heights before it was closed for the ‘64 Olympics. I also had a Mr. Moriwaki for 7th grade science. Wonder if it’s the same guy. Did you know of the Laundry Gate by the elementary school annex? We lived in the local housing there when we first came to Japan.

    4. I live in Kanta Mura in 1970-72. I remember the hole in the fence. We lived right there. Do you happen to have a picture of the school there?

    5. Larry,

      I also knew Jimmy Ault and his older sister Ann. Their older brother, Richard, Jr., was an FBI profiler and is now retired. I created publicity photos for Ann’s show at the Tokyo Hilton as well as for various plays that she and other folks in the Kanto Players put on for the base personnel and hospital patients. (The hospital took care of many soldiers who had been wounded in Vietnam.)

      I was stationed at Tachi from January 1966 to January 1968 and worked in the Far East Command Post. On my off duty time, I was a freelance photojournalist for the base newspaper – The Kanto Plainsman. Several of my photography assignments took me to the base schools to cover stories and I also photographed sports so we may have met at that time.

      One of my news assignments took me to the island of Iwo Jima with General Ault to photograph Japanese civilians and/or their descendants who wanted to visit their pre-war ancestral graveyards. I was the only photojournalist in the world to cover the event.

      At age 74, I still work as a photographer and have all the film negatives from then.

      Thank you for bringing back valued memories.

      Terry Thomas…
      the photographer
      Atlanta, Georgia USA

  2. Great site…thanks Michael.
    My name is Larry Schwing and my father was stationed at Tachi from 65-67. We lived at Kanto Mura and attended 5th thru 6th grade there. I can remember my science teacher named Mr. Morwaki (sp), he took us on school weekend field trips throughout Japan. Wish I could have recorded all of the trips and taken pictures. In Kanto Mura we could buy candy from the Mingko Store through the fence. We moved to Tachi for my 7th grade year. My best friend at Tachi was the Commander of the 6100th Support Wing Brigadier General Ault’s son Jimmy…think that was his name, but his sister went to Yamato HS and sang opera all the time…YUK! The big running back for Yamato HS, Tom Lang, lived across the street. Only time I got into any trouble was when Gen. Ault’s son got his father’s staff car, complete with the two star flag mounted to the front, to take us to the amusement park Yomiuri Land for the day. When we returned my father, who was a Major at the time, was with Gen. Ault at their house…not fun! Great memories and loved my time in Japan, especially the trips into Tokyo to stay the weekend at the American Sanno Hotel. My father drove once, but we took the train there after.

  3. I was stationed at Tachi, 65-67, would have arrived probably in June of 65, and left to be discharged at Travis in May or June of 67. Duty was in the 1503rd command communications center, headquarter building commanded by Colonel Howe. My supervisor was Sgt. Dineen, and I know one of the other guys was Busby, don’t remember any other names. When i first got there I guess there was no room in the barracks, so I was at Yamato AS for awhile.
    if memory serves me right, when I got on main base, room mate was Cantrell.
    Lots of good memories, would like to go back and walk around sometime.

    1. Quick question: my grandfather was stationed at this base in the 50s where he had my aunt. She died as a baby while he was still stationed here. Considering you were stationed here yourself, do you have any ideas where she may have been buried? (I’m not sure if it would have been done locally because she wasn’t military herself, or through a military grave or location.)

  4. I was 10 years old in 1960 and my stepfather was stationed at Tachikawa. I was in the 5th grade at the school on base and my teacher was Miss Canino. I will never forget her till the day I die, she made that much of an impression. At first fear, then after a few month nothing but respect and admiration. There hasn’t been a time in my life I didn’t think about her. We lived in a small community of off-base houses (about 4 little houses on a small hill overlooking rice farms) built for military families I believe in Ashima, about a mile or so from Tachikawa. Our houses were accessed from a main road via a small dirt road with a little bicycle shop on the left.
    My neighbor had two girls, one was Rhonda Jean Lynch. Anyone know her or of these little houses?

  5. I was assigned to Tachikawa 8-1-1958. I extended 1 yr & stayed till 1961. I was born in Nov 1939. We flew to Japan on a 1049 prop job or the Air force C-121. I was in aircraft refueling or POL as it was called. I refueled C-124’s, C-118’s C54’s C-46’s C47’s. C-130 & we got in some C-133’s which was bigger. One day I got called in the office & they asked me about the last C-133 I had refueled with JP-4. As it turned out many of the C-133’s disappeared at sea with no trace so they didn’t fly them much after that. Now planes are refueled with a single point nozzle where all the planes at Tachi had to be refueled over the wing so U had to back up to both sides of the plane. A- C-124 would take 80 gallons of 1100 Oil after an oil change. We got this oil in 55 gal drum & ever so often we would have to go to fuel storage & unload these drums by hand. We hated that job. We had 2 typhoons while I was there. We had to refuel all the planes so they could leave the base. I can remember power poles being down on the flight line. I got stationed at Takhali, Thailand in 1965 so I may write about that another time. I am subscribed to SAC veterans on Facebook. I was stationed at Dow AFB ME and was married there. I live near Charleston, SC now near Chas-AFB.

  6. Is this Bill Swoape… red hair and freckles if I remember correctly? I remember you were at Tachi for a few years at most. I didn’t realize that you moved to Yokota. Like a lot of our classmates, one summer you just disappeared. Transfers happened without us (kids) knowing much about them.

    1. My family was at Tachikawa from 1967 to 1971. I have fond memories of running around that air force base with my sisters. Would love to go back and see it as it was.

        1. How old were you in 1960? I was there in May 1960-63. I was 6 in the 1st grade.I sure would like to see old school pictures but can’t find them.

    2. I was stationed at Tachikawa 67 and part of 68. 6100 Ops Sq. Flew on C-54s and Gen. Aults C-118 (Ault was pilot). C-54s flew into Vietnam and brought walking wounded back to Hospital in Japan. Flew to Korea with General first day Pueblo was Siezed. In Early 1968 (April/May) picked up last American servicemen from Iwo Jima and delivered them back to Japan on a C-54 (Flight Engineer was TSGT Jack Rippey). As well as I can remember they were a Communications Squadron. My family and I lived at Green Park. B-wing 2nd floor. My additional duty when not flying was managing the snack bar in the hangar. Two Japanese girls did the work. I made sure they had supplies and handled the cash for opening and closing. I still have a working Toshiba rice cooker after 52 years that I purchased for $3.00 a a hangar bazaar. Robert Atwell

      1. I was assigned at Tachi at the same time., ’67-’68. Was in the 901st Med Evac Sq, we medics crewed the C-118s of the 6485th Squadron. We also moved patients on C-130s. We spent most of our time bringing the wounded up to Japan from Clark AB in the Phillippines. I was in a group sent to Kimpo AB , South Korea to bring back the crew of the Pueblo, in Feb ’68, but that didn’t occur until about a year later as I recall. Meanwhile after the Tet Offensive in ’68 the 6485th aircraft were reassigned to Clark AB, and several of us medics went as well. That was the end of my three year tour in Japan.

  7. I see that there are a lot of people that either lived or worked at this base in the 50s/60s. My grandfather was stationed here in 1951-1953 I believe. My aunt (my mother’s older sister) was born here and supposedly died as a baby sometime before my grandfather returned to America. Would anybody here know where a relative of a service member at this base may have been buried?

    1. I found this site because I’m doing some Ancestry research. My brother’s son was still-born at the hospital here in July 1970. Tom was stationed in Tokyo with the Army. I remember that Tom and Susie brought their son’s body back to the U.S. to be buried. As I recall, they told me that bodies of U.S. citizens were not left in Japan. You might try researching on Legacy.com or Ancestry.com with your aunt’s name. Good luck.

  8. My dad was stationed at Tachi from July 1958- June 1962. My dad was a Navy pilot. I went to the elementary school as well as the junior high. We first lived in the American housing outside the base laundry gate on the west side of the base. Two years later we moved on base. I remember a young boy, Billy Spinney was my best friend. I have fond memories of Tachi. One such memory was going to the massive movie theater.

    1. I think we may have been in the same class. This is Steve Robinson and my family (older brother Neil and my parents) live at Tachikawa from July 1960-July 1963. We lived in Quarters 3654 and the 3662.
      Am in The Imperial Hotel as I type this. Going to Kamakura today and Hakone tomorrow.

    2. My dad, Master Sgt Thomas Kirk, was stationed at Tachi from 1959 to 1963. He was a civil engineer. We lived in Green Park. My brother, Larry Kirk, and sister, Gayla Kenser, went to junior high and high school there. I was much younger, and attended kindergarten. We had a wonderful maid named Ishiko who taught me many Japanese phrases, numbers, colors, most of which I’ve forgotten, but I have many fond memories of her and our time at Tachi. My parents would get together with friends and have cookouts on the roof of our building. I remember a Houser family, but don’t recall other names at the moment.

  9. I was stationed with the 344th Troop Carrier Squadron at Tachikawa AFB 1953-54. I was an airborne radio operator on the C-46 aircraft. We flew troops and supplies to Korea and throughout the far east. My friends and I bought motorscooters and saw a lot of Japan. I had a good time, staying in the Air Force until I retired in 1951.
    George Lewis Jan. 3,2020

  10. I enjoyed your site. It assisted me in a trip down memory lane. I was stationed at Tachi East from May of ’56 to December of ’58 and really enjoyed the base amenities as well as traveling around that part of Japan. I lucked out in my overseas assignment because many of my buddies from tech school got some truly bad assignments. I even got an ocean cruise from San Francisco to Yokohama as a bonus.

    Thanks for your work in putting all of this information together.

  11. /* I remember landing there from the states and staying for about two hours waiting for a flight to the Phillipines to catch a ship. That was in Nov 1962. I often wandered what had happen to that base and exactly where it was located. This is a neat site. */

  12. I was born here in 1954. My dad was Tech Sgt. in the photo lab–Mark Myers. So very sad to see this AFB no longer exists.

  13. I was a member USASA and after graduation at Ft. Devens (Ditty Bopper School) I was sent there at Tachi in 1969 to 1970. Although 50 years ago I still have fond memories of the base and the trips to Tokyo. 18 years old when I went in and would not have seen the world and most of the United States had it not been joining. I went on to spend 40 years in law enforcement all stemming from my army background.

  14. I was born there in ’64 and, incredibly, never thought to look it up. And I’ve been spelling the name wrong the whole time, though I think the incorrect spelling is on my birth certificate! Thanks for the pictures

  15. I was born in Tachikawa on the Air Force base. My father was stationed there in 1972 after he had married my Korean mother. I have enjoyed this site and hearing about the stories of a place that I haven’t been to again since birth. My mother passed when I was young and trying to become familiar about a place that no longer exists has been tricky. Thank you all for a little of my missing history!!!

    1. Hi, I WAS STATION AT TATCHI IN 1968 AND LEFT IN 1970 , HAD A GREAT TIME, THE JAPANESE PEOPLE WERE GREAT. I REMEMBER GOING TO SAKI PARTYS . THE POPPASONS ( I CAN’T SPELL AS YOU CAN SEE ). I REMEMBER HAVING TO GET ON THE BASE BUS TO GO TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BASE. I REMEMBER THE FIRS MOVIE I WENT TO THERE TO SEE , ” THE GRADEUATE ” STARING ” DUSTIN HOFFMAN ” . I ALSO USED TO GO TO SHINJUKO WITH MY GIRL. CATCHING THE ELECTRIC TRAIN , THAT WAS AN EXPERIENCE . I BELONG TO THE 5th AF , PACAF COMMAN. ALSO WAS MEMBER OF THE 5TH AF HONOR GUARD. I WAS LUCKY TO SEE SOME OF MY BUDDIES FROM THE STATES AS THEY WENT TO THE PHILLIPINES. I ALSO MET A GENERAL’S DAUGHTER THERE AS A FRIEND , SHE LIKE TO PLAY TENNIS . ONE OF MY BEST FRIEND’S THERE UNFORUNATLY PASSAWAY LAST SUMMER. ” DEAN OLHISER FROM OREGON. “”. WELL , I COULD TALK LONGER BUT NO INK LEFT THANK.

  16. I was stationed at Tachikawa AB, in 1968. I was an AF Medic, hung out, outside of Gate #2, where there was an enjoyable, Black owned eatery, Maiwoo Tailors, who by the way, got lots of my paychecks. Thoroughly enjoyed my stay there, as well as hanging out in Shinjuku, at places like Knack The Boy, stop a hi rise tower.

  17. Hi

    My name is Larry Kilburn and my father, Ssgt William G Kilburn was a in-flight crew chief on c-130s out of Tachi from 66-70. I remember living across the street in base housing from the Base Commanders house. His house had a playground next to it and you could stand on the slide and look into his back yard which was a fukk Japanese Garden, complete with Koi ponds and bridges. Starte school there, remember my Teacher Miss Noda, very well to this day. We had a maid even at that time who came in 3 times a week. I don’t remember her name but she used to bring us treats (my sister and I). I remember many school trips which wre awesome and going into Tokyo itself, the high rise buildings, even remember 1 having an amusement park on the roof.

  18. I found this site because I’m doing some Ancestry research. My brother’s son was still-born at the hospital here in July 1970. Tom was stationed in Tokyo with the Army. I remember that Tom and Susie brought their son’s body back to the U.S. to be buried. As I recall, they told me that bodies of U.S. citizens were not left in Japan. You might try researching on Legacy.com or Ancestry.com with your aunt’s name. Good luck.

  19. A1C Robert D Gay
    Stationed at Tachikawa from April 1961 to May 1964. We were a Mobile Depot Activity for all types of electronic equipment in the Far East and Southeast Asia.
    We were initially Headquarters Air Material Force Pacific Area and later became Detachment 18 Sacramento Air Material Area.

  20. Circumstances create experiences we never chose but happened upon, well not all circumstances are by chance, I enlisted in the Marines on November 1966 as a 17 year old, delayed entry arrived at Parris Island in January 67 for three month tour, then Le Jeune for advanced training,with four years of service and My older brother was on tour in Nam and because my Dad had to ‘sign’ permission slip, on the condition I not be in Nam the same time as him. Tell that to the Marines, well I was sent to Japan for two years.
    War & Peace combined in time and place, upon arrival I drove school bus delivering and picking up mail for the ships and the FPO during the day and rode as a Marine Guard for four on four off, till Tet happened and the Marine Barracks sent over one hundred Marines to Nam, I was not one of them, My Brother had signed up for another tour, I was sent to Camp Drake and to Yokota with a new liaison for Marine wounded recovering at the 249th General Hospital and the 20th Casualty Staging Flight, Two years of being a ‘Radar’ admin clerk, driver,, clothing supply and pay roll taking the walking wounded to see the sights, take in the night life and then watch as they were sent back to Nam to only return again within months, weeks, and after filling out progress reports, casualty lists and 3×5 cards on every Marine passing thru those units the same names were repeating,
    The Marine Corps sent many wounded back to their Nam Units while the Army sent theirs ‘Home’
    Those who were able and had seven months on their tour were the ones We looked for, they were temporary assigned to our Unit, Marine Hospital Liaison Tachikawa Japan, Nothing more than five young Marines trying to save a few from the hell of war,
    The Air Force Gave us a Quonset Hut for our Supply Room, Barracks, Offices and we had room for up to Ten for TAD/TDY up to six weeks of delaying the war. I never did see Nam first hand, I did experience the two years of being a part of the ‘War’ recovery R&R as we exchanged time shares of Being a part of Peace in Japan,

  21. My dad was flight engineer on c130 transport 817th group from 57-60 at Tachikawa. My mom, sister and me lived on base. Don’t remember much except for the house we lived in. Had big wall that i fell off of onto a lower street. After that we were transferred to Naha AFB on Okinawa for 5 years. Remember flying in cargo hole of c130 with loading hole open and could see the sea below. Sat on cockpit while my dad flew plane and pilot and copilot slept in back hammocks. Remember my dad gone for months flying missions into Indonesia. Always came back with odd carving souvenirs. Still have them. Many good memories of a different world.

  22. I landed in Tachikawa AB around the 2nd or 3rd of Jan. 1969. We were to spend 3 months there TDY from Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas. We had rotating squadrons from Dyess. (346th, 347th, 348th TAS). Our C-130`s supported the mission in Vietnam. Of the 3 months in Tachi, I spent 1 month in Vietnam. (Salvaged parts off of a 130 that was mortared at an Army LZ.) That`s making a very long story very short.
    Fred Rodriguez
    Hanford, CA

  23. Thank you. There was a hospital in 1969. I was a psychiatric patient, in the late summer. Perhaps, one August day, I looked in a bathroom mirror (see ‘The Guy in the Glass’), and I made a momentous decision that certainly provided agita to my superiors. Two AF attorneys would go beyond everything after I was eventually brought in. Saved my keyster. Tachikawa AB, August, 1969, the right place, the right time. Peace Out!

  24. I was born on Tachikawa in 1959. Dad was reassigned to the stares in 1961. I don’t remember a thing except what Mom and Dad told me. However when I was 7 I had to declare my citizenship. Apparently I was very adamant I was an American. Both my parents were farm kids from the states. I always thought it was weird that I had to declare. I also have more than one birth certificate and am considered a naturalized citizen in one document. We are hopefully going to Japan next year. Baring COVID crap and I want to drive by the base. I am now 61. It would be fun to see where I was born.

  25. My stepfather was stationed at Tachi 1958-1961 We lived in Kunitachi, then Grand Heights. Spent hours and hours at the Teen Club on Tachi. It’s the best memories I have of my teen years!!! Incredible experience!

  26. Hi, I WAS STATION AT TATCHI IN 1968 AND LEFT IN 1970 , HAD A GREAT TIME, THE JAPANESE PEOPLE WERE GREAT. I REMEMBER GOING TO SAKI PARTYS . THE POPPASONS ( I CAN’T SPELL AS YOU CAN SEE ). I REMEMBER HAVING TO GET ON THE BASE BUS TO GO TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BASE. I REMEMBER THE FIRS MOVIE I WENT TO THERE TO SEE , ” THE GRADEUATE ” STARING ” DUSTIN HOFFMAN ” . I ALSO USED TO GO TO SHINJUKO WITH MY GIRL. CATCHING THE ELECTRIC TRAIN , THAT WAS AN EXPERIENCE . I BELONG TO THE 5th AF , PACAF COMMAN. ALSO WAS MEMBER OF THE 5TH AF HONOR GUARD. I WAS LUCKY TO SEE SOME OF MY BUDDIES FROM THE STATES AS THEY WENT TO THE PHILLIPINES. I ALSO MET A GENERAL’S DAUGHTER THERE AS A FRIEND , SHE LIKE TO PLAY TENNIS . ONE OF MY BEST FRIEND’S THERE UNFORUNATLY PASSAWAY LAST SUMMER. ” DEAN OLHISER FROM OREGON. “”. WELL , I COULD TALK LONGER BUT NO INK LEFT THANK.

  27. Great site! My dad was stationed there from about 1963 to about 1967. My folks lived in base housing. I have some photos of his friends in and around the base. My brothers went to elementary school but I’m not sure where, probably there on base. Lots of little league baseball pictures too. Perhaps one of you went to school with one of my brothers? Marc was born in 1957 and Craig was born 1960. Reply here and I’ll figure out how to share some of the old photographs.

  28. Clinton (9/2019 post) my family’s duplex faced yours. I think our brothers were same grade. Yes, military life sure makes one grow up quick now here we all are all the better for it.

  29. Thanks for the great story and pictures. I was born on the Tachikawa Air Force Base in February of 1969. We left when I was 6 months old so I don’t have any memories – and this was a nice way to see the place where I was born and where my family lived (I have an older brother who was 6 at the time so he has some memories). Much appreciated.

  30. My family was at Tachikawa from November, 1959, until April 1962, where my father was a CMSgt in medical supply. I attended Yamato High School, which I understand no longer exists. I especially remember Mr. Arlen, a terrific math and physics teacher. Memories include climbing Mt. Fuji and worshiping at Far East Servicemen’s Church and Home near Yokota.

  31. My husband was stationed at Yokota AFB 1968-72. We lived on Johnson Family housing 1970-1972. We had to go to Tachikawa when our daughter was born, 26 Oct 1971.
    Found your site tonight while updating our family tree. Really enjoyed the update.

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