Remnants of the US Air Force Base in Tachikawa, Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 620 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.


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.

Comments 620

  1. I am an Assistant Professor of Japanese History at Yonsei University, South Korea. I am looking for any info about a US serviceman, Sgt.(?) Elmer L. Hawkins, a young African American man stationed in Tachikawa around 1952-1954 for my current research on the early history of women’s professional wrestling in 1950s Japan. With his amateur wrestling background, Mr. Hawkins briefly trained Japanese female professional wrestlers in Tokyo around 1952-54 and also served as a second (or referee) when Mildred Burke and other US female wrestlers came to Tokyo in November 1954. He is said to have been transferred to South Korea around 1955. But nothing else about him is known. If anyone recognizes anything about him, please let me know. My email is: 

  2. I was stationed at Pope AFB in North Carolina from 1966 to 1969 working as and aircraft electrician on C130’s. On several occasions we would go to Tachikawa for 90 days for training etc. It was a long flight on those planes. We would refuel on Wake Island that still had remains from ww11. It was pretty interesting for a 19 year old.

    This site is very interesting unfortunately I don’t recognize anything

    1. Hi! I’m trying to piece together my childhood. I know this is a long shot, but my dad was stationed at Pope AFB. Do you have any photos of the base or housing or anything that you could share with me via email? He was transferred there in June 1962. Thank You in advance! Just trying to see some of the places where I grew up!

      We were in Japan, N. Carolina, Florida, Utah, Texas, Missouri, & Ohio just in case you or anyone has pictures of any of these & they’re willing to share them via email!

    2. I was stationed at Tachi 66 -68 and remember a group like yours who stayed at the military police barricks very close to the chow hall and post office. had an idea today to see what the place looked like. Surprized to see the comments here on this site. I remember one fellow from that group who spent an great deal of time grooming himself at the sinks every morning. I mean much much more than average. I was there for 2 years, age 18 to 20 and when I left it felt like I was leaving home.

      Tim L.

    3. I too flew to Tachikawa in 1958 then was reassigned to an operations unit at Itazuke AFB, in Kyushu. I remember well flying from Hawaii and landing on Wake Island after flying in on a C-46 and walking on that very hot tarmac to the canteen.
      On Itazuke, many times I watched those F-86s take off from the alert pad and was still there when the 68th FIS phased out the F86’s to F-102’s.

  3. I lived in American Village just off base 1968-1970. I went to 1st and second grade at the school on the base. I have lovely memories of the cherry blossom trees and the snowy winters. These pics are kinda spooky for me and make me feel old lol. Thanks so much for sharing though.

    1. We lived in a neighborhood off base that I think was called Tashiro Flats. Also 1967-1970. We moved on base in 1969. I went to the school from 3rd to 5th grade. Moved back to the states in 1970.
      Japan was home to me. We lived in Okinawa when I was even younger so 7 if my first 11 years were in Japan. Very found memories of growing up there. Would love to visit although I agree that the base looks creepy now. Japan is such a beautiful country that it is hard to picture it looking like that.
      I wonder if we knew each other back then….remember very few names of the kids I knew.

  4. Hey Bob, my Dad took a contract job with Western Electric in 1967 And was hired to to put in telephone installation units for the US government. We lived in Tachikawa right next to the base in a neighborhood called “American Villiage”. I attended Tachikawa elementary school on base in the 5th & 6th grade, played football for the Tachikawa Oilers, Basketball & Baseball and evening took Judo. It was probably the best time of my life. In 1969, my Dad and I, climbed Mt. Fuji to watch the Sun rise above that beautiful country! In 1970 my Dad’s contract ended and we returned to the States, settling in San Bernardino, CA.

    1. I grew up in S.B.. where abouts where you ? I was all the way up Waterman and 30th .. also lived right across from Norton for a while… on 3rd and Del Rosa..

      1. My father’s name is Clarence Norton but he went by Sam. He was stationed at Tachikawa from 1964-1967 & was an illustrator for the Stars & Stripes newspaper. My mom was Jo & she taught English to the Japanese students. She was involved with TOPS, a weight loss group. I was born at Tachikawa Hospital but we left when I was a toddler so I don’t have any memories of Japan. I had 3 older siblings who were 9, 10 & 12 years old.

    2. William, I attended Tachi Middle school also,grades 4,5&6 ,left in 1970 ! Also took Judo. My stepfather was Operations Officer for the 36th ARRS squadron, flew HC-130s ! I have great memories of Japan it was a kids paradise! Been looking for an old friend by the name of Carl Hurst any chance you’ve heard of him !

  5. Sounds like your Tachi tour was similar to mine except I was stationed at FEAMCOM Area (A) Showa AB. HQ 6400 Maintain. Gp. Who knows we could have passed each other downtown.

  6. I was stationed at Tachikawa from mid 1969. I was in the Com squadron,
    worked on teletype. We had a great crew in the shop. Had a lot of fun in Japan. the last 7 months I went up to Hokkaido at Chitose.
    Went to see Tachikawa in 2018 and the main gate road looks the same The old Headquarters building was still standing. The place really changed except the 5 way intersection just outside the base is still theere!!!

    1. Hi Carl, I was born in Tachikawa Air Force Base Japan in 1962 when my dad was stationed there. I’m looking for anything to see what the Air Force Base & housing looked like to help piece together my childhood! Is there anyway you could take a picture of anything you have & you email them all to me? My email is ~ Thank You in advance for helping me get a piece of my life story!! God Bless You! Jodi

  7. I loved in the housing area just outside the Laundry Gate on Tachikawa AFB from1958-1962. I went to to the elementary school and the junior high school.

    1. Hi Kathi,
      My Dad was stationed at Tachikawa AFB during 1958-1959.
      Daddy was a C-124 Captain.
      As I recall when we first moved we lived off base near the gate.
      Shortly after we moved on base and I remember playing in foxholes that I believe were remnants of WWII.
      I use to walk over to Sundries sales building and buy chewing gum ( I was 8 years old).
      On my route was a small pool ( always intrigued me with the aqua color and plants and tadpoles , insects that lived in the pool). I would stop and stare into the pool.
      There was a enlisted fellow who worked in the building next to the pool who always cautioned me and scooted me away.
      One day I was leaning over looking into the little pool and he came out.
      He scolded me and wanted to know my fathers’ name.
      I was a brat and said “ My Daddy is a Captain and I will tell on you”! ?
      Such a brat when I was a kid.
      I have my Dad’s USAF 1503d Badge.
      After Japan we moved to Okinawa were Daddy was stationed at Naha AFB.
      We returned stateside the summer of 1960 where Daddy was stationed at Dover AFB Delaware.
      Daddy retired as Lt Colonel in 1972 while stationed at Little Rock AFB.
      I actually had a job in the Officers Club in Little Rock working in the Package Store which looked out onto the dining room. Fun job! I was 21 years old.
      Loved my life as a Air Force brat!

    2. Hi Kathi,
      I too went to elementary school 5th and 6th grade on Tachikawa AFB! Then 7th grade off base. I remember the bus ride to and from school getting stuck behind a Honey Bucket wagon…phew!
      I spent most Saturdays at the movie theater watching double and triple features plus cartoons and newsreels! Summer days were spent at the pool. I loved my three years on Tachi!
      My name was Nancy Way. My dad was Colonel John A Way deputy commander NAMAP. We were there 1957 – 1959

  8. As a person who loves to venture into old over grown housing ruins it was easy to experience your adventure at the Air Base ruins. So well written… and the photo’s were marvelous.
    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Joe,
    I was stationed at Showa in the Air Police (2711th Air Police) from Dec 56 to Aug 58. Transferred to Fuchu until I rotated in Feb 59.

    1. I was stationed at Shows Air Station for several months in 1957. Assigned to the 12th Special Activity Section before moving to Yokota where it became the 12th Tac Recon Sq. I would participate in the pool and pinochle tournaments at the Service Club when ever I could. We had a small but nice Siemens Club.

  10. Joe Landsberry,
    I was stationed at Showa in the Air Police (2711th Air Police) from Dec 56 to Aug 58. Transferred to Fuchu until I rotated in Feb 59.

  11. We lived at Tachi until 1976, I remember American Village and the cherry blossoms along the canal. I went to grade school and Jr High on the base and was then bused to Yokota High School. So many great memories. We went back to Tokyo for a visit last year and even though we never made it back Tachi or Yokota it was so good “to be home again”.

  12. I lived in Japan near Narimasu in 1968-1969, very young aged 3-5. I have a lot of memories of the base. I thought the base was Grant Heights but my mom says Tachikawa. Was Grant Heights a housing neighborhood for the base? I remember being able to walk with my mother to the commissary. I went to Nursery school and kindergarten there. And we (sister and I she was 6) were able to go off base from our first house and play with Japanese children. I have lots of memories. Does anyone know grant heights? Are any of the base housing complexes standing?

    1. Grant Hgts is now a park. I lived there also. Google Grant Heights, you will.find many photos of Commisary, theater, BX, etc. As houses and maps. Enjoy!

    2. Hi Karen.. my name is carie I lived at grant heights back in 63- ? My dad was stationed at the air base.. base housing if I remember right.. my last name was Gardner my daddy’s name was Jordan ( J.J. ) for short..

  13. Hi! I’m trying to piece together my childhood & happened upon this site today! Thanks for sharing the pictures & your adventure! I was holding my breath as you ducked in & out of safety!

    My dad was Air Force 26 years. They lost all their pictures, so I have no pictures of anywhere we lived. If anyone has any pictures of the base or housing or just anything, of any of the following places would you please email me some?

    Tachikawa AFB, Japan
    Pope, North Carolina
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    San Antonio, Texas
    Lee’s Summit, Mo
    Dayton OH

    He joined the service 1952.
    I was born in 1962 in Japan.
    He retired in 1978 in Dayton Oh

    Thank You So Much if you’re willing & able to share any pictures via email with me!

    “Air Force Brat” without any pictures!!!

    Thanks again, Jodi

    1. I wa stationed a Tachi in the early 60’s-probably was there when [or right after] you were born] I have some photos of Tachi in the early/mid 1960’s. I can email them if you give me an email address.


      1. Hello Bob. I don’t know if your offer of photos of Taki was specific to Jodi or not, but I would really enjoy seeing them. My uncle was stationed there before his C-133 crashed in June of 1961. I’m trying to piece together some details of his life in Japan before the crash and have very little to go on. If you’re inclined, you can reach me at:

        Many thanks.

  14. Hello,

    I’m doing some research into the June 10th, 1961 crash of a C-133 “Cargomaster” that departed Tachikawa for Travis AFB and went down in the Sea of Japan. My uncle, Cpt Donald E Holmes was the pilot of that flight, but given that I was 18 days old at the time, I never met him. Just trying to learn what I can about life on the bast at that time and, of course, anything I can uncover about my uncle, Cpt Holmes.

    Any and all info, even just anecdotal, would be welcome!

    Many thanks,

    Richard Ober

  15. I was born at Tachikawa hospital in ’64 and I need to get a copy of my birth certificate. Does anyone know how I can acquire it?

    1. Hello Steve,

      You should contact the State Department and inquire about getting a copy of your “Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen”. I don’t recall the form number. Three of my children were born overseas when I was in the USAF and those forms were issued to them in the 70’s. Best of luck

    2. Steve,

      Check with the US State Department for a copy of your “Report of Birth Abroad of an American Citizen”. Your parents should have received one at your birth.

    3. Hi Steve:

      I was born at Tachikawa in 1961 and have the exact same need…. to get a copy of my birth certificate. If you figure out how can you please share with me? Of course if I figure it out will share with you.

      I see Mr. Legault has responded to you so I will start with his suggestion.


  16. My dad was stationed at Showa AFB from 54-57. We lived in the quonset huts for enlisted men. The dormitory for young Japanese women who worked as maids was close to us. My favorite memory of the base is the playground behind our housing.
    One of my favorite toys was the telephone pole. Surely that’s an odd toy but, it was a favorite of all the kids. The long, blackened length of wood was horizontal, attached to a sturdy frame at each end by chains, and swung side to side. As many kids as it could hold would jump on and off. It didn’t go more than 2 or 2 ½ feet off the ground although that doesn’t mean it would meet today’s standards of safe toys. We would have contests over how long we could stay on, how many were on it, or how few were on it to make it go. I loved that telephone pole. It was one of the things I really missed when we left Japan.
    I attended 1st and 2nd grade at Tachi.

    1. My father enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and became one of the first Flying Sergeants. He was battlefield commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant. He flew the C47 throughout the North African Campaign and was shot down in Sicily. He and four others survived the crash landing over the water and the thirty days behind enemy lines. After WWII he remained in the military because of his love of flying. He flew the C124 in Korea and later was assigned to Tachikawa. He reported there in the summer of 54. My mother and two brothers joined him in December just in time for Christmas. I was born in Dec 48 and was in the middle of my first grade. I can’t remember my first grade teacher but my second grade was Ms Weeks. I was young for my grade, but from what you said you would have been a year behind me. We may have passed each other in the playground. I was oftentimes playing marbles with my classmates. I completed third grade there and went back to the States. I recall living on the base. My dad was a Major then. I’m sure the pay was okay but Mom lived like a queen she later said. We had a gardener, an ironing maid and a live in housekeeper. That was one of her fondest domiciles in Dad’s 30year career. Military kids adjust and go on. We were in Amarillo Texas in 1960 and the first day of school I recognized A girl from my first grade class in Japan. It’s a small world. I was glad to see your account of things.

    1. Hi Donna, my father, James Russel Johnson, was in the AF in Japan from 1964-1967 and we lived in the base housing. Your name sounds familiar. Did you have a brother named Jimbo? If not, I hope we can share some memories. Celia

  17. Robert Porter here. I first set down at Tachi in 1957 after a long and troubled flight from the US. I was a radar tech for 15 months there and Japan was pretty exotic for an 18 year old kid from Houston. We left California for Japan from Parks AFB, stopped in Hawaii for the night. But an engine on our MATS C97 blew up and delayed us till we got another engine flown in. Then we took off and our radio went kaput but out pilot was in a hurry so we left anyway. We made it to Wake ‘Island where we lost another engine so we spent a night there ’til we got another engine flown in. After an outrageous Pacific storm we finally set down an Tachikawa. Welcome to Japan.

  18. My family was stationed at Tachi 64-67. 10-14 year’s old and adventurous. We use to climb up to the roof of the bunker. We found a way to get inside and investigated a few times. At one point we took a box of fluorescent tubes and threw them to the street. From four stories, they sounded great. The big explosions soon had others interested and we had to get off base through gate 7 to American Village. We would hang out or ride to the next gate. Depending on the day we used on base off base to keep out of trouble.

    I’ve been told that the bunker goes back to the WWII to store airplane parts and other war materials. Thus the thick walls and why it’s abandoned now. It was used as a storage bunker when we lived there. That’s why you found furniture, hvac, and office supplies. The view from the roof was amazing and that’s why we hung out there. Two ladders and your on the roof.

    The story also goes that under the west theater is a tunnel connecting Tachi to Yakota. Planes could be moved without being bombed. You mention the storm shelters. Each group of homes had a underground shelter if a typhoon of 4 or 5 magnitude hit. One time some of the quadplexes had to use theirs. Mostly due to a large field next to gate 3. The major damage to a few of them and tiles were still being blown off 8 rows deep. I lived next to the main teen club. Which was just down the street from one the bengi ditch crossings. All that’s left of that part of the base are the smoke stacks and the bunker.

    1. All the bases were connected by world war 2 tunnels there were 5 bases that the connected one had a 5 tunnel hub of under the main buildings they transported aircraft from manufacture to testing to active use, all under ground. They were deemed to be unsafeand burried the entrance of a f3w survived. One was used a pistol fireing range at Yokota but was demolished when they closed the bomb dump and made a housing area of it. Many times during earthquakes the tunnels would collaspe. 5he bunker 5hat was 5alk3d about was also ww2 and it was under Tokyo, it was actually a city and parts were used at least up to the 1970`s

    2. I graduated with a girl named Kathy auger 1967. Wondered if you are related? If so wondered what happened to her?

  19. Hi All, Like some of you I’m trying to piece together my history in Japan. My dad was in the AF in the 50’s and I was born in Japan in 1955. My dad passed in 1975 from cancer. My mom is Japanese and came to the US with him in 1957 and naturalized. Unfortunately, she has dementia and doesn’t remember much regarding this time. She mentions Tachikawa and Johnson AF base? Looking for more info if there was a hospital at either of these places. I’m also going to try to find my birth certificate to verify more info. Thank you for the fabulous pictures and great write-up. Happy hunting everyone!

  20. I was med evaced to Tachikawa hospital from Danang in 1968,and then on to Yokosuka after a one week stay.Thanks to anyone who may have cared for me,and thanks for the best meal I had in four years of USMC service.

  21. Thank you for this site! Reading comments from other military kids and adults who experienced Tachi has brought up so many childhood memories after 52 years!

  22. When I was 10-13 years old, my father was stationed at Tachi from 66-69. What a blast from the past! I was absolutely in shock to see photos of those huge cement bunkers. About 20 single family houses were situated on a short narrow road that ran along the right side and back of the bunkers. To the left of the bunkers were many very large apartment housing units.

    I lived right next door to the bunker with the red door! Just to the right of the photo. It was not red in those years, it was gray. The rectangular strip of mowed lawn next to it was basically part of my front yard.

    Even in 66 it was used as storage just for machine parts. Sometimes we kids would watch guys moving equipment and machine parts in and out. We never went into the building, even though we knew that the key for the red door was kept on the ledge above the door. I actually liked living next to it and it did protect our house from a typhoon that damaged the rest of base housing.

    I also have a vague recollection of Jimmy Ault. He was one of the kids who used to go weekly by bus to Camp Fuchinobe to ride horses.

  23. Tachikawa was the headquarters of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service in Japan. I was transferred there in 1971. We lived outside the laundry gate. I was responsible for the small BX’s at Fuchu, Kanta Mura and Grant Heights. About the only entertainment was the movie and bowling. And AFRN broadcasting. After about 1 year I was transferred down to Hakata AFS on Kushu. I was in charge of all the exchange facilities. It was a wonderful assignment compared with Tachi! But, as luck would have it, they decided to close the facility. So, after 6 months I was back in Tachi. But, this time with on-base housing which was a big improvement. I was in charge of the inventory for the PACEX Mail Order Catalog which was warehoused at Tachi. We shipped about 1 million $ a month out of there via mail back to the states. I left Japan after 4 years for an assignment back in the states. All in all it was a great experience. I just wish I could have stayed longer in Kushu!

  24. It is a pleasure to read all of the memories shared on this site. Our family lived near Tachikawa in an out-of-the-way “compound” called Murayama Heights. I attended junior high at Tachi and later, Yamato High. Dad was stationed at Yokota, and we lived in that little house from 1963 until 1966.

    Reflecting on those times reminds me of how powerful the experience of living in Japan as an American teen was at that time, as the conflict in Vietnam escalated. My attention was focused on friends I would have to leave and probably never see again, but I also was aware of being a representative of America at all times. That’s what dependent kids were taught.

    The photos of Tachikawa are haunting.

    Thank you all for sharing.

  25. Hello,
    My Dad Joseph Hermanski was out in Tachi from 1968-1972. I was born in 1970…. Ive always loved that I was born in Japan and I will go back and see it someday!!! Thankfully my parents took lots of pictures.

  26. I was born at Tachikawa in 1958. Left Japan 3-years later and have no real memory, just some photos of me as a baby/toddler. Wish my Dad was alive (Delbert S Turner/AF Staff Sargent) to show him these photos. Sadly, he passed away last year… he always shared how much he loved it there.

  27. I was in Japan from 1051 to 1960 (age 8 to 18) as the son of a Lutheran missionary. We could only get on American bases like Tachikawa if a serviceman brought us in and we found them to be a touch of the USA, especially if we got hamburgers! One day a year though they opened Tachikawa to the public for an airshow and I loved it. I’d spend the whole day there watching planes take off and land which I loved. Dave, Houston, TX

  28. My dad was Clarence “Rocky” Seevers. We lived at the Kanto Mura annex. We were there from 67-68, when we all shipped out to the PI’s. I was 10/11. My fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Barnett. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    1. My father was stationed in Tachi from 62- 66 and we live in Kanto Mura too. The name doesn’t sound familiar but I’ll ask my Mom.My second grade teacher was named Mrs. Bell I think and my all time favorite teacher. She always had charm bracelets on that made noise when it moved.My Fathers name was David.Any pictures. Do you know if it’s still there.

      1. Patti, who was your first and second grade teachers at KM? My husband went to Chofu Elem/Middle from 65 to 74, when they closed. I was there 72 to 74.

  29. I was the airman in charge of the Tachi Hospital Med Evac Section from Feb 1956 to Feb 1958. Great job; great people and hopefully I served them well. Regrettably, I never made it back to Japan. However, the lessons I learned at Tachi carried me throughout my entire career. I retired in 1991 at Robins AFB, GA.
    (Col Donald R. Martin)

  30. While stationed in Vietnam in 1968 I extended my tour which entitled me to a month free vacation. I first went to Danang and there wasn’t any immediate flights to the USA however they had a supply flight going to Tachikawa and I could go there if I wanted. When I got there no one meant the plane so I took a taxi down town. For a nineteen year old taking a break from the war for two weeks I had the time of my life. Two weeks later I went back to the base. Just as I arrived a plane had just landed from Vietnam so I got in line with them and was on the next flight to the USA for my month vacation. Tachikawa let me with a lot of fond memories and two weeks of my life I will never forget.

    1. I was at Tachi from 68 to 71. I was a gmo at the hospital there and also Kanto Mura. Our son was born at the Tachi hospital. I used to ride my bike from the west side (laundry gate?) to the hospital. We bought a tiny shack on base for $600 and lived there after our first few months in American village for over two years. We are glad we were shipped to Japan instead of Europe. I had finished my internship at Wilford Hall in San Antonio and requester Europe as number one choice and Japan as number 2. Glad I got Japan.

  31. My father (John S. Palacios)served in the USAF from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean conflict and was stationed on Tachikawa for at least the last 2 years. The hospital there served as mid point transport for severley wounded coming in from the heavy fighting and told of the things he was part of. Being a radio crew chief he did double duty as an orderly and fire brigade member. Please let me know if there are any relatives of service members that were stationed there.

  32. I was with 2875 GEEIA Sq from June 1967 to July 1970. Was housed at Yamato AS until the last few weeks. Was a great tour of duty and a great adventure. Many great memories. I enjoyed both my coworkers and the Japanese I met.

    1. my name is johnny thompson i was there during that time , i was olso in the 2875 geeia ground radar electronics played on the base baseball team

  33. I was born in May 1953 on Johnson AFB, Irumagawa. My father was a pilot, and flew the first helicopter flight in Japan while stationed there. I have pictures of that ceremonial event.

    This is a terrific site and I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments.

  34. I spent most of my first hitch from 1958 – 1961, I was in aircraft refueling or POL as it was called, after an Oil change a C-124 held 80 gallons of 1100 oil, I hated to stuck on the flight line after an oil change in an oil truck. The C-130s took JP-4 but everything else took Avgas or 115/145, some of the guys filled their cigarette

  35. My dad was stationed in Japan (USAF) and we lived there from late 1953 to early Spring 1956… We were transported to Japan via a USNS ship (Edwin Patrick) and back to the states via a USNS ship (General Mann)… I have vague memories of that time in life; I do know we lived in Momote Village and Grant Heights… I have a class picture of me (in first grade); the picture is dated: 26 May 1955… Not sure if it is the elementary school in Momote Village or Grant Heights… If anyone was there during that time (1953-1956) who may have been in the same elementary school, give me your email address and I will send you a copy of the picture… Looking at that picture, I often wonder where all my classmates in that picture are now…

  36. I was on leave from Kunsan AB, Korea for 10 days leave at Tachi in 1969. I thought the base was nice. Chow Hall food was great. I have some pictures of Tachi I can send you.

  37. Lived at Grant Heights and later Tachikawa from 1971 to 1973 as a gmo working at the Grant Heights and later the Yokota dispensary. Busy work schedule but was fortunate enough to meet a Japanese national who also enjoyed travel. Together, she an I were able to visit most of the prefectures on Honshu over two years. These were some of the best years of my life. Had to remember to stop driving on the left side of the road upon my return stateside.

  38. my name is johnny thompson i was there during that time , i was olso in the 2875 geeia ground radar electronics played on the base baseball team

  39. I was stationed at Tachikawa April 1968 – April 1970. We were housed at Yamato Air Base. Lots of good travel and a couple of TDYs to Korea. The Pueblo was captured by North Korea just about the time I arrived.
    I worked in the Public Information Office just inside the main gate. I remember one weekend they were changing the MPC money and were concerned local merchants would storm the gate since the old MPC they were holding might become worthless. So they stuck a bunch of us out at the gate with M1 carbines ( which we were never trained on) with live ammo. This after many of us just got in from Sunday night visiting bars.
    Talk about an opportunity to create some serious ill will.
    Once a few of us took the “bullet” train to Kyoto, but it was so crowded getting off the train there we thought we’d be smart and wait a bit. Then the doors shut and off we went to Osaka. Fortunately the conductor let us ride back to Kyoto a short while later. 🙂

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