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Story ID:10653
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Tokyo Honshu Japan
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By Fred Wickert

Who might have thought something you did could catch up to you thousands of miles away and half way around the world? I saw it happen and it was to my benefit.

In June of 1953, I was finishing up my basic training at Sampson Air Force Base at Geneva, New York. The student Flight Leader was a cousin to a famous World War II General. Then General later became President of the United States. It wasnít his real name but because of his famous cousin we called him Ike.

At the end of basic most of us had been given our pay and travel money and had our orders. We were getting ready to ship out. We all knew that Ike was going to be assigned to the Air Force Band, but he had not yet received his orders or his pay. He was still going to be around for a few days. Ike had a problem. He was broke.

Ike came to me and explained his situation. He asked if I would loan him twenty dollars. He promised and gave his word that he would send it to me as soon as he got paid. Ike was a good guy and I believed I could trust him so I said okay. I gave him the twenty dollars and my name and the new address that was on my orders. I was going to Combat Air Police School at Parks Air Force base in California. He assured me as soon as he got his pay he was going directly to the post office and send me a money order.

We shook hands and parted company. I was taken by bus to Geneva and then got on a train, eventually arriving at SanFrancisco. There a bus took me to Parks Air Force Base. I arrived there on 4th of July weekend. The training lasted sixteen weeks. After the first ten weeks went by with no money order arriving I decided I had misjudged Ike and that I was never going to see that $20.

After graduation I was assigned to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. In January of 1954 a notice was put up on the bulletin board. A large number of men in my squadron were going to be shipped overseas. Three different countries were involved. The notice said if you have a preference, you should sign up for that country and it was to be first come, first served. I decided I preferred of the three to go to Japan and signed up for it.

In March I boarded the USS Mann bound for Japan. Eleven days later the ship docked in Yokohama Harbor. We were unloaded on to an ancient narrow gauge train. We traveled at about 15 miles per hour to Fuchu Air Station. There we stayed in tents. We were told that Air Police were no longer needed in Japan. They already had enough and so a message was sent to the States to find out what to do with us. After we were there for nine days we were sent to Okinawa.

At two A.M. one morning in November I was rudely awakened. I was ordered to pack my stuff and get ready to ship out. We were needed in Korea ASAP. The war was still going on in Korea. We were taken by truck to Kadena Air base where we boarded a plane that took us to Tachikawa, Japan. From there we got on another plane to Tagu, Korea. From Tagu we were sent by train to Pusan. There a six by six truck picked us up and took us to K-9 Air base.

After some time in Korea I was given a chance to choose my first, second and third choice of where to go when I went back to the States. I wanted for reasons I still donít know, to see Japan. I asked if I could get a transfer to Tokyo with an 18 month extension on my overseas tour. I wanted to be able to refuse the extension if the transfer to Tokyo was not available. All of it was approved and so in June of 1955 I arrived for duty in Tokyo, Japan.

One warm sunny day I found myself posted on the main entrance to the Meiji Building. It was the headquarters for the U.N., Armed Forces Far East, 8th Army and Far East Air Force, otherwise known as FEAF. There was a large cafeteria in the basement of the building.

Being posted at the main entrance it was my job to check to make sure everyone entering that building had the proper credentials to be in that building. There were two sets of large doors with a large room between them. I stood between the two sets of doors in the large room. Suddenly Ike came walking in the door. He was in uniform and was on his way to the cafeteria. We greeted each other warmly and shook hands. He asked how long I had been there and I told him. I learned he was with the band and was in town to perform at some function and then he was to be leaving again. His stay in Tokyo was to be short and no more than a day or two.

I asked him if he remembered that twenty bucks he borrowed from me when we finished basic? He sure did remember. He was terribly sorry about that. He was going to send it to me, but he lost the paper somehow, that contained my address. I asked if he thought to check in the orderly room to see if they had it? Well gee, no because he never thought of that. Then he asked if I want it now? I smiled and assured him that he wasnít going any farther until he gave it to me.

He hastily assured me that was his intention all along and he reached for his wallet. From his wallet he removed a twenty dollar bill and handed it to me. He apologized it had taken so long, and then said he had to be going. He hastily retreated through the inner doors and I never saw him again. That was okay with me. I had my $20 back.

I have some others that owe me much more than Ike did. I know at my age time is running out, but I always wonder if I will ever catch up with the others? Probably not. Even so, there is a far greater power that I believe has probably made them pay in some way, whether I knew of it or not. Then too, I often find myself rewarded in ways I never expected and probably didnít deserve. I am thinking it all evens out in the end.

As for why I wanted so much to go to Japan and yet, not knowing why I wanted to, I eventually found the answer to that too. I am convinced that was being steered by the Lord God Jehovah. I met and married my beloved Tae there. We had 56 years together before she was taken. That could not have happened if I had not gone to Tokyo. When you think you live your life the way you want and you alone are calling the shots, think again. Maybe there is more divine control than you think there is. Praise the Lord!

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Phot's of author in Tokyo at story time period.