Edited and modified 2-21-2020

I have included some correspondence with a serviceman who was on Okinawa at the same time we were. I have also included part of my autobiography from that time period.

This is rough! I hope you can enjoy it until I can clean it up.


5-12-2013-I’m adding some new material that was unavailable when this page was created.

Okinawa Picture Album

These are photos from Okinawa. Many are captioned by my father. I have included the caption, in his own hand wherever possible.

 I am adding the new material first. My brother saved these, and sent them to me in March of 2013.

New stuff first. From my autobiography.


The next thing I remembered was having to go get shots, (my favorite thing, when I was a little boy), and getting aboard the U.S.S. Mitchell, and being seasick for a week.  See http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt1.html

We arrived at Okinawa. It’s 1950. If I would have asked a few questions, this research project wouldn’t be such a horrible chore, looking through documents and records. I was unable (with my limited internet experience) to find the ship we were on, and I couldn’t find any records of what squadron, or what my dad’s job was, there. While doing research, I came across the web site of an old retired air force guy. He made the crossing the same time period, different vessel. His description of the trip fits my memory, exactly. Here’s what he wrote;



From: Terry Peterson [mailto:pete@thepetersonranch.com]

Sent: Monday, December 27, 2010 11:30 PM

To: kfannon@gte.net

Subject: Kadena

I am Terry Peterson, son of Harold E. Peterson. My father was stationed in Okinawa in 1950. My mother and I traveled by boat/ship, and lived in a Quonset. I was very young, but I have many vivid memories of the mosquito netting, and the blackouts at night. I am writing a memoir, and I would like to gather as much accurate info as possible. It sounds like we may have made the crossing on the same ship, but I remember the name as the USS Mitchell, however her records do not coincide. How would I go about finding more information? Any help at all would be deeply appreciated.



Good morning Terry,

So you lived on the rock? Do you know when you arrived and when you left? Also; what outfit was your father a part of?

I left California at the end of May 1950 for a 3 week trip to Okinawa on the USS General Nelson M. Walker (a 3 stacker). The other troop ships were smaller 2 stackers (smoke stacks). It was the largest troop ship in the Pacific. We did not go by way of Hawaii as a lot of the troop ships did. On the way we got caught in the tail end of a typhoon. The waves were so huge that when the bow would dive in all three of the screws would be clear of the water. This caused the ship to shudder so hard that you thought that the rivets would start popping out. We arrived at Naha harbor on June 15th – just 10 days before the Korean War started.

I was Air Force and selected to stay at Naha with the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing (Air Installations Squadron). We had the F-80’s. My best friend was sent up to Kadena where they had the B-29’s.

If you haven’t already been to these sites you might want to:




Terry, if you have further questions that might jog this 81 year old mind just fire away.

Keith Carrollton, TX

and I replied

I think that you are correct. The other USS Mitchell that I found was scrapped in 1949, therefore it couldn’t have been the one. I was only five years old, and I went to kindergarten and first grade at the American school. I remember the trip, and the storm we hit seemed to last weeks, to a youngster. There were a lot of civilians aboard, and I don’t remember a lot of uniforms, I’m thinking you were mostly traveling with other troops.

300px-USS_General_William_Mitchell_AP-114 autobio pics 021

            First photo is Wikipedia                                                   Rite of passage                                                      One of our photos

I have a lot of memories, of our maids, Hatsuko, and Suzuko, (they hated steak, and preferred rice and fish), of the Habu and mongoose fights, and origami, and parades, and the music, and the strange smells, I remember a hamburger with Japanese mustard (hot), and a ginger ale (real ginger beer), and rain every day, and the beautiful beach with upside down, rusty, weapons carrier, left over from the war, and I could go on and on. It’s amazing to me how many memories I have. My dad went as 1st. lt. Peterson, and became captain, and I can still remember a lot of the names, as we followed a lot of those guys around the world.

I am delighted to hear from you. I hope you’ll stay in touch. Any little tidbits you have for me would be appreciated. I loved my dad, I just didn’t ask enough questions. It's good there is someone left to ask.

Thanks so much.

Happy Holidays to you.

End of correspondence

It is 2-21-2020. I just received another email from Keith. I wrote to him yesterday, and he responded immediately. I will add that here.

Dear Keith,




I am Terry Peterson, son of Harold E. Peterson. My father was stationed in Okinawa in 1950. I wrote to you 10 years ago, you were 81 years young, and I hope this finds you in good health!




I wrote to ask you about the USSMITCHELL. You wrote back to describe your trip. You asked; So you lived on the rock? Do you know when you arrived and when you left? Also; what outfit was your father a part of?
At the time I was unable to answer, but have since received voluminous material, and I assembled an album. You can click on http://www.petesmemories.com/okinawa2.html. It starts with dad’s outfit.


 I am sure this will bring back some memories.


I would love to hear from you again!





Keith responded;


7:24 AM    2-21-2020

To  pete@thepetersonranch.com  


Hi Terry,


Thanks so much for sending the photos.  I probably told you that I didn't get to explore the island very much.  I arrived on June 10? and we left for Korea In Sept.  After the war started June 25th every thing was a complete frenzy getting ready to leave.


I am trying to remember if the 51st Base Sq. stayed on the island.  90 year old brain doesn't work as well as it used to.  


You got to see a lot more of the island than I did.  I only went to Kadena one time.  A friend of mine that came over with me was stationed there.  The rest of the time I was stuck at Naha.


I was in Air Installations Sq.  We did most all of the base maintenance.  That meant that we had to build all of the shipping crates and move it all to the harbor.  I worked in the office taking all the requests.


Again, thanks for getting in touch again and sending the pics.


Take care,


S/Sgt Keith Fannon

And, my latest email to him;


Hello again, Keith.

WOW! It is really neat to hear from you again!

First, I want to thank you for your service. You didn’t tell me that they shipped you straight off to Korea, the first time you wrote to me. I thought you had spent a year there, like most of the single guys. I figured you might even know some of the people in the album that I sent. I hope you got a chance to look at that. http://www.petesmemories.com/okinawa2.html

Second, I thank you for taking the time to correspond with me. You provided information, which inspired me to do a lot of research. I have since, generated over a hundred web pages, many of which are meant to preserve some family history, including my autobiography.

One of the things I couldn’t find was the exact time we got to Okinawa, but I did go to kindergarten, and the first grade there, so it was probably closer to 1951. I have a photo from our return trip dated 15 March, 1952. I was thinking that we were there for a full two years, but, apparently, I only did partial school years. (late 1950 or early ’51 to early 1952.) This 74 year old brain has gone a little sour!

I am including our correspondence in my “Okinawa album” and part of my autobiography. If you didn’t get a chance to look at it, I hope you will, at another time. http://www.petesmemories.com/okinawa2.html

It is really exciting to exchange emails with you, and I hope we can continue to do so!

My very best regards,




Back to bio


I have some memories of the quonset hut that we lived in.


250px-Quonset  250px-Quonset_hut_emplacement_in_Japan       http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt4_files/image184.jpg

http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt4_files/image029.jpg   http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt3_files/image082.jpg  http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt3_files/image086.jpg 

 http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt3_files/image101.jpg                        http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt3_files/image141.jpg

                                    FINE DINING

I have created an “Okinawa page”. There are many photos and memories there.  Also at http://www.petesmemories.com/dlsbxpt3.html there are more. http://www.petesmemories.com/okinawa2.html

 I remember huge elephant ear plants, and colorful lizards climbing on everything. I remember my parents visiting someone, and I was sent outside to play. There was a captured, Japanese, 50 caliber machine gun in the tree in this guy's back yard.

50 cal Jap

 I managed to knock this enormous gun out of the tree, and it landed on my leg. I remember the base hospital, and the penicillin shots. I became infected with “staph”, and it plagued me for the rest of my life.

There were a lot of memories I can only write as they enter my thoughts, like our maids, and habu and mongoose fights,

 Image result for okinawa habu vs mongoose  Image result for okinawa habu vs mongoose   Image result for okinawa habu vs mongoose  Image result for okinawa habu vs mongoose

And bull fights. The bulls fight each other, rather than a MATADOR.  See https://www.visitokinawa.jp/information/okinawa-bullfighting-ushiorase


 and parades, and learning some Japanese at kindergarten, and first grade, and origami, and yen (I was given a pile of paper money to go to the movies, which cost a nickel to see.), and the beach, the beautiful beaches, the one we used to go to had an old war vehicle, upside down and rusting, a grim reminder to everyone but us kids, that a war had been fought right there, less than five years ago, and the beautiful seashells, and the crystal clear water, and the minnows, and the hermit crabs, and all the things that excite children.

Be sure to look at “Okinawa page”. http://www.petesmemories.com/Okinawa.html

What a beautiful place it was, and then another boat ride (no seasickness this time), and we end up in Yuma.  

End of excerpt from autobiography.



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The following color(?) photos are from overseas. I’m not sure of the locations.

Some similar ones were labeled “Formosa”. We visited several places in the far east.















Not sure about these. The date is 1953, and we did move from the Quonset hut to a house.     Is this it??????

I don’t remember If Doc Padden was in Okinawa.









The photos with the black border are from my mother’s personal album.

I received them shuffled. I will not attempt to organize them. It is too time consuming.







                                                                    End new stuff



This is the original material from which this page was created.

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NEW YORK - The figure in the photograph is clad in Army fatigues, boots, and helmet,

lying on his back in peaceful repose, folded hands holding a military cap.

But he is not asleep; he is dead. And this is not just another fallen GI; it is Ernie Pyle,

the most celebrated war correspondent of World War II.

In April 1945, the one-time Indiana farm boy had just arrived in the Pacific after four years

of covering combat in North Africa, Italy, and France.


The Army's 77th Infantry Division landed on Ie Shima, a small island off Okinawa, to capture an airfield.

On April 18, a jeep carrying Pyle and three officers came under machine gun fire. All scrambled for cover,

but when Pyle raised his head, a .30-caliber bullet caught him in the left temple, killing him instantly.


Army photographer Alexander Roberts was at a command post when he learned what happened.

Roberts went to the scene, and despite continuing enemy fire, crept forward to record it with his

Speed Graphic camera.

His risky act earned him a Bronze Star medal for valor.http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/File-Based_Image_Resource/dingbat_story_end_icon.gif

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.



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                                                                         Sunset in Okinawa