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THE HEADLESS MARINE

Story ID:5434
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Local Legend
Location:Kadena Okinawa
Year:1954
Person:Fred and Jimmy
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In 1954, the United States Air Force had one of the world’s four largest bomb storage areas in the world. It could have even been the world’s largest, but we didn’t know for sure what the Soviet Union had. As a member of the Air Police section of the 546th Ammo Supply Squadron Depot, one of my duties was to either man an entry control gate or to patrol these bomb areas in a jeep.

There were two large areas, designated areas #1 and #2, a little more than twelve miles from the main base in another part of the island. These bomb storage areas were spread over a huge area and were, in part, covered with jungle. Parts of them had small farms where the natives raised delicious yams. They were permitted to come in the areas during the day but had to be out by sunset in the evening.

Any who did not leave the areas on time were arrested. There was a problem with people sneaking in the areas at night. They located storage revetments with 250-pound bombs. Using a large hacksaw, they cut the bombs in half, scooped out the TNT, and sold it to local fishermen. The fishermen used it to set off explosions underwater where schools of fish were found. The stunned fish floated to the surface and were scooped into the boats.

In addition to the vehicle patrols, there were Japanese men with K-9 dogs, contracted by the Air Force who patrolled the areas on foot. Soon after I began patrolling the areas at night, I discovered there was one road where patrols did not like to go, and the K-9 dogs handled by the Japanese guards refused to go.

I was advised that there was a headless Marine seen at night down that road. Being a headstrong skeptic, I found another man with an equal share of brass willing to ride the road with me at night. We took a few trips down the road after dark. Especially at midnight one night, believing midnight to be a more likely time than others to see anything.

We never did see anything, but we did feel hair rising on the backs of our necks and we felt chills up and down our spines. Was it caused by something supernatural? Or was it just our imaginations getting to us? We never knew.

When on the dayshift, I was taken by another man who had been there longer to see something. Not far from where the headless Marine had been reported seen, we explored an underground hospital from WWII. We found rotting boots and other uniform parts from Japanese soldiers there. We found a helmet that was partially rusted away.

The rooms and passageways had been dug from the coral rock there. The air was musty, and all objects we found were coated in a green mildew. We discussed whether we should take something for a souvenir but thought it too irreverent to do so, and left everything where it was.

I visited that place several more times, in awe of the hardships that must have been suffered there. I wondered many times if there actually was the spirit of a headless Marine roaming the nearby area at night in search of his missing head. Surely this was a place where death had been a visitor many times.

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