Fighter Jets


Here is a photo of an Air Force F-117 stealth fighter while it is refueling and a photo of a Navy F-18 static display at Kadena air base “Friendship Festival.”

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18th Communications Squadron Flag Football


18th Communications Squadron from Kadena Air Base playing flag football against Marines on Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan.

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Jason Newsted (Former Metallica Bassist) the Unknown Story

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In 1998 I was in Okinawa, Japan when I received my Metallica fan club magazine which informed me of the bands upcoming tour. It was actually happening, Metallica was coming to Japan. I knew immediately I had to get tickets. So I checked with the Metallica club to see if I could get tickets through them for their Tokyo show. Unfortunately they weren’t sending tickets to fan club members overseas. So I did the next best thing, I went to a ticket office in Okinawa and purchased tickets. Next I had to get time off work and buy plane tickets to go to Tokyo from Okinawa. Once I got that squared away, then I just had to wait for the time to arrive.’, ‘The time finally came, I left for Tokyo on May 5th, 1998. Upon arriving at Narita airport I had to make my way to Ginza where I was staying. I went to the hotel and checked in. Dropped my bags off and took a shower. I decided to relax the first day because on the 6th is when I was going to the concert at the Tokyo dome in Budokan. I had purchased an extra ticket because I had a Japanese friend who wanted to go to the concert with me. So I went out to meet him and give him his ticket. When I met him in Shinjuku he had some troubling news. Because he was in a band called Janus and they were part of the X-Japan family. The lead singer from the band X-Japan had died and he had to attend his funeral, so he wasn’t able to make it to the concert. So I had this extra ticket and I didn’t know anybody else to give it to.

The following day I wore my Metallica fan club t-shirt and was pumped and ready for the concert. During the train ride I decided it would be best for me to try to sell my extra ticket outside the stadium. I stood around for a little while and nobody wanted to buy my extra ticket. Since I didn’t want to wait any longer I decided that it was a lost cause trying to sell it. So I decided to just go into the concert. As I was walking around the stadium to find the entrance there was a bouncer standing outside. He saw my t-shirt and asked me if I was a Metallica fan club member. I told him I was, then he told me that if I came back the following day I would be able to get backstage to meet the band. I thought this was some pretty cool news so it made me more pumped to go in and see the concert. Once I was in the stadium I was anxious for the concert to start. It was unbelievable, I was half way around the world from where I had seen my first Metallica concert in Ionia, Michigan, and I was about to see Metallica live again. Fifteen minutes into the concert I had already lost my voice from yelling as loud as I could. The concert went on and it was a kick ass show. After the show I took the train back to Ginza voiceless and wore out from attending an awesome performance.

The following day I went back to Budokan to see about getting backstage to meet the band. I walked around talking to some staff who pointed me in the right direction to get in line. Since I was so early I decided to buy some pamphlets to get autographed by the band. Then I found the line and I was the 2nd person in line waiting to get backstage. I started talking to Japanese guy in line in front of me and he was from near Osaka. He then asked me since I came from so far away that if I wanted to be first in line. I said, “Hell yeah” and he let me go in front of him. While waiting to go backstage Niclas Swanlund (writer for the Metallica fan club magazine) came out and told us what was going on. He told us that because the band was conducting interviews with local radio stations and TV stations, only Jason Newsted would be coming out to meet us. I must admit, I was a little disappointed because I was looking forward to meeting James Hetfield, the lead singer. Niclas Swanlund went on to tell us that Jason doesn’t like flashes from cameras. So if we had a camera we needed to cover the flash. Since all I had was a $10 disposable camera this was no big deal I would just cover the flash with my finger.

They escorted the line backstage where we waited for Jason to come out. When Jason finally came out I was surprised to see that me standing 6 foot 1 inch was taller than short little Jason who was only 5 feet 10 inches tall. As he walked out I snapped a picture with my finger over the flash as he walked up to me. When he got to me I gave him my pamphlets for him to sign and I told him that I was from Michigan too. He said, “Oh yeah, where about?” I told him I was from Saranac and before I said anything else, he said, “Oh yeah, that’s up near my aunt in Ionia”. After he signed my pamphlets he started working his way down the line to the other fan club members. He made it to the 4th person and he paused for a second. He said, “Where am I?” I blurted out, “You’re in fucking Japan man.” He then glanced down and said, “I know that dude”. He then proceeded down the rest of the line when a guy came out and took Jason outside to show him a Harley Davidson motorcycle that had Metallica painted on the gas tank. Once he came back in, he was walking on his way to the concert. I was so excited that I just met Jason Newsted from Metallica I wanted to say, “Rock on” before his show. As he was walking by, I blurted out, “Jason!” and before I got to say “rock on”. He just shook his head and I heard him mumble to the person he was walking with, “These fans” then I couldn’t hear what else he said. It was as if he was getting an attitude because I wanted to let him know I appreciated their music.

I ended up venturing back to Okinawa where I told my coworkers about my experience of going to the Metallica concert and getting backstage to meet Jason Newsted. I didn’t forget to leave out the part about him being a little guy with a big attitude towards his fans. I brought in my pictures after having them developed and the picture of Jason did not turn out since I wasn’t able to use a flash, but my picture of Niclas Swanlund and me did turn out. After that one experience I never looked at the band quite the same so in 2001 when I heard news that Jason was leaving the band I was not heart broken. Once I heard Metallica’s 3rd bassist was going to be Rob Trujillo, previously from Ozzy, I knew the band was going to rock again.

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Habu Sake


I went to the botanical gardens in Okinawa with some friends to see a Christmas light event that was going on. While there I was walking through a gift store and saw this Habu sake. In Okinawa “Habu” means snake and sake is Japanese rice wine. So you literally buy a bottle of wine that has a snake inside of it.

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Kadena Technical Control Best in the Pacific

While stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan the 18th Communications Squadron facility I worked in received a Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) best technical control facility in the Pacific award.

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First Night in Okinawa


In 1996 I was new to the United States Air Force and just arrived in Okinawa a little after 11 PM, when I walked off the plane and met my sponsor for the first time. On the way driving back to base he was driving like a madman. He was cutting through traffic just to get stuck at the next stop light. This kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration of the drive, but I would learn not much longer after that, that is how people drive there.’, ‘After we got to base he took me to get some food from the dining facility and then to the dorms. After getting some food he took me to the dorms and showed me my room. It was literally a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10 foot room which I referred to as a closet. I mean shit, prison cells are bigger than this and I’m supposed to be serving my country. Anyway, I started unpacking my clothes when I heard somebody beating on my door. I had no idea who that could have been since the one and only person I knew there was my sponsor. I opened the door and there were 4 guys standing there. This short, but muscular guy, (whom I learned later his name was Joe) asked me, “Are you the new guy?” I said, “Yes.” He asked me, “Are you drunk?” I said, “No, I just got here and I’m not old enough to drink.” Then another one (whom I learned later everybody called, “Doughboy”) threw his car keys at me and said, “Good you can drive.” The other two’s names were Jarrod and Nate. After I informed him I didn’t have a Japanese driver’s license he said, “That’s ok, You’ll probably drive better than they do here anyway.” As we were walking out to the car Doughboy asked me if I knew how to drive a standard transmission car. I told him I did, but I don’t think it mattered. I would have been getting a crash course anyway. Then I walked around to the Nissan Skyline (Paul Newman edition) and before I could get in, the group told me the steering wheel was on the other side of the car. So I walked around the car and got in to drive.

As we were driving down the road there were 4 drunken guys in the car stuffing more beer in their pockets and continuously drinking as we were driving down the road. The drunken guys were attempting to give me directions of where we were going and telling me how to drive the car from the back seat. Once we managed to get to the Kadena air base USO, after stalling the car twice and making a couple wrong turns, we started walking out the gate. Once we got out the gate they were telling me about a curfew that is between 12 AM – 6 AM. They told me you’re not supposed to be in the gate 2 area between those times. Then they told me as long as you stay out until 6 AM that you can’t get caught. I decided this wasn’t such a good idea and I was getting tired from the long plan ride. I decided to walk back while they all went out and partied. I figured I wasn’t old enough to drink anyway, so I figured I couldn’t even get into the bar with them.

Without even thinking the situation through, I decided to walk back to the base. I got back on base before the curfew started and started walking down the street in the direction I came from. I made it a block when I noticed a cop car. I decided to ask them for directions because they may know a faster way back. I then had to explain the situation to the security police before they told me to hop in the car and they would give me a ride. The problem was I didn’t know what dorm I was staying in. So they drove me around for a while until we found the dorm. Now don’t forget I haven’t met my boss yet, I haven’t found out where I work yet, and the only person I know is my sponsor and I had no idea how to get a hold of him. After I made it back to the dorms I went back to my room and fell asleep.

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Welcome to Kadena Air Base in Japan


Here is an arial photograph of the flight line and a map I received when in-processing at Kadena air base in Okinawa, Japan.

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335th Training Squadron Gazebo


While attending Air Force Technical Training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi I had time to kill until the next training started so I got together with some other airman and we worked on this gazebo. The gazebo was outside the 335th Training Squadron in the section of the base called the “triangle.” The mascot of the 335th training squadron was “Da Bulls.” I recently found this old newspaper clipping which talked about the gazebo. I even remember Major Carol St. Denis as I ran into her a few times while she was the commander of the training squadron.

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Welcome to Keesler Air Force Base


Upon completion of Basic Military Training I flew from San Antonio Texas, to New Orleans, Louisiana where I caught a bus to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. I will be at Keesler for the next 16 weeks while attending technical training and learning how to do the job I signed up to do for the United States Air Force. Here is a map I received upon arrival.

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Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers


This was the first NFL football game that I ever saw. Here is my ticket stub from the game. From what I remember I saw Barry Sanders come running right towards my direction for a touchdown. It was a pretty awesome.

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