I was the barracks chief and I had about fifty men who I was in charge of. I had a big can at the front door with a sign on it that read please leave you spare change here for the RFF Fund. I was collecting quite a sum when one asked me what was the RFF fund. I laughed and told him that it was for Royal Francis Feltner. What I was really doing was collecting funds so that at the end of the month, we would have enough to have a barrack's party. This went over great and we had a lot of fun at these parties. One thing that I was noted for was that I looked after the well being of these guys.
Somewhere along the line, I started drinking. I can't remember why, where, or when. I was not a consistent drinker, but sometimes I did get drunk. On one such occassion, I was in the New Yorker Bar in Tachikawa having a few drinks when one of the women began to look very beautiful. I bought her a bar drink which was nothing more than cold tea and I asked her for a date to the movies the next day. She said that would be nice so I agreed to meet her at noon at the bar. The next day, when I got to the bar, what I saw was one ugly woman. She informed me that she couldn't go to the movies because she had to take care of the cleaning that day. I expressed my regrets and got out of there as fast as I could go. I did't go back to that bar again for a long time.
The last train out of Tachikawa that went by my base was eleven thirty and if you did not have an overnight pass, you had better be on it. It stopped three times before it got to Fusa and each stop more drunks would get on. The first stop was East Tachikawa which was where all the Negroes stayed and they got on the last car. One night I stumbled out of a bar and barely made the last car. When I got in and looked around, I knew that I was in trouble. I was standing holding on to a post, when four Negros approached me. I was 6'3" and weighed 225 lbs. Ordinarily, I can hold my own with one or two, but I had been drinking sloe gin fizzes and I was not in that good of condition. One of them was about 5'6" and he gouged me in the ribs. If this little man could whip a big man, he had some bragging rights, but if he got whipped, he was picked on. I asked him why he gouged me. The largest of the four said if someone gouged me, I would hit him. I thought that I had a better chance by hitting the big one and I swung at him. I could barely raise my fist and I missed him by a foot. The four of them piled on me and started beating me and pushing me to the door. A lot of people were screaming for them to stop. When I finally had a chance to fight back, the car doors opened and they pushed me out onto the platform. There was a souvenir shop still open. I ran and got a couple of swords and came back swinging. The doors closed before I could get in. The next morning, I had some explaining to do to the Air Poiceman at the main gate because I did not have an overnight pass. He let me in without reporting me.
One day Renee Cals and William Moore and I decided that we would like to climb Mt. Fuji, the higest mountain Japan. There was a lava bed trail to the top. The Armed services had a Hotel and recreational services at the base. We got a three day weekend pass and drove down. There was a local pond with a lot of people fishing so I thought that I would do some fishing. I rented a pole and some bait and was I lucky, I caught several fish and started to leave when I found out that this was that one had to pay for the fish that they caught. My catch came to fifteen dollars and I had a lot of fish that I did not know what to do with them. I came back to the hotel kitchen and gave the fish to the cook and let him decide what to do with them.
There was a small bar in the hotel with a small band and not so bad a lady singer. I was drinking Scotch and Coke and I had a few too many. I began to think that she was singing to me and when she had a break, I invited her to sit with me and we chatted for a while I asked if I could see her the next afternoon. She said that it would be fine. I stumbled off toward my room and I somehow found the stairs, but had a hard time finding my room. I went up and down the hall and I realized that I had better get in a room. I opened the door and luckily, it was mine. I opened a doorto what I thought was the bathroom, fell on the floor, and passed out. The next morning when I awoke, I was in the closet. I crawled out and Cals and Moore just looked at me. They said that they could not understand why I wanted to sleep in the closet. We went down for breakfast and somehow I was able to eat. Two of the diners were talking about a person who was walking up and down the hall last night and making so much noise.
I told my friends that I was not able to climb the mountain and they would have to go without me. They put on their hiking shoes and off they went. A few hours later, I was feeling much better so I decided to play a round of golf. The course was on the base of Mt. Fuji and it was up and down very hilly terrain. I played nine holes and called it quits. I was able to tell my friends for years that I had played a round of golf on Mt. Fuji. That afternoon, I met the lady and she asked if I wanted to row on the lake. It seemed like a good idea so off we went. While I was rowing, she would sing a few songs. I happened to notice that the wind had picked up and the surf was really getting rough. We wer quite a ways out and I began rowing as fast as I could back to shore. She said that she had to practice with the band. When I got back to the hotel. Cals and Moore were there waiting. They had finished the climb and was thrilled, but said the last part was really tiring because of the lava.
I bought a 150 CC motor cycle from a friend to toot around the area. When I bought it, he told me never drink while riding it. I would ride it to Tachikawa and back. I was so heavy that I could only go forty miles an hour on it. One evening, I was driving down the street wide open when a big truck backed out in front of me. I braked as hard as I could and slide sideways under the truck. All I could think of was what an idiot I was. I could have been killed. I had been jumping "fox holes" on the base with it until I landed upside down in one. The next day the motorcycle was sold with a twent dollar loss.
One of out duties at night were to fuel the planes that were flying night practices. These were F-86 Sabre Jets, the fastet plane in the world. They would all have landed been refueled by eleven, except one. This was plane that flew reconnaissance flights over Russia and China and never got in until after one. It was known as "Nighttime Charlie" and the crew never had any problems. I would assign one man to refuel it and the rest of us would go to bed. We once ran an experiment to see when the fuel was the coolest. This was done to determine when we could put more fuel in the tanks. Several jets were going to be transferred to Iowa Jima and there was no air refueling. There would be just enough fuel for them land without have them circling the base. Only one aircraft could go at a time and we never had an incident.
The Air Force was sending a Squadron of B-36 Bombers around the world to remind of our air power. The were known as the "Peacemakers". The code name for this excercise was known as the Great White Fleet. The Squadron's home base was Fairchild AFB, Washington. I can't remember what day this was. but I certainly remember their arrival at our base. These were the largest propeller driven planes ever built, originnal designed in 1941, first flown in 1946, and decommissioned in 1959. These planes were a sight to behold! A regular bomber would hold five thousand gallons of fuel, but these held twenty thousand gallons. They were there for three days and we worked around the clock refueling them. Their wing span would cover an entire taxi way. When going to and from refueling them, one had to be very careful and avoid meeting one of them while they were on the taxiway. One time, I was driving on one of these taxiways when I saw one coming toward me. I turned to go back when I saw another one coming. The only place that I could go was to another runway which meant that I had to drive over about one hundred feet of dirt. I thought that it would be no problem, but about half way across, my truck sank to its axels and I was stuck. I had to call for a defueling truck to empty my tank and a bulldozer to pull me out. When I got to the office, I had to explain what and why I had done. Everyone was laughing and one said " better you than me".
While I we working one night, I heard a loud explosion and immediately saw a B-50 bomber going up in flames. I got a call from the Wing Commander asking if we were refueling the aircraft. I told him that we had finished all of our refueling and were in our office. I found out later that an electrical short caused the explosion.
All of our meals were brought to us; K-rations during the day and cold sandwiches in the evening. The sandwiches were usually corned beef which was so tough that when one bit into it, he had to hold the bread. He would have a hunk of corned beef hanging from his mouth and a two slices of bread crumbled in his hands. We were glad when they left, but proud of being a part f this great excercise. Two of them flew from our base and around the world. It was great experience.