Okinawa Prison (Part 2)

Now let me get a little deep here of how bad it sucked in Okinawa. See, joining the military sucks pretty bad. Joining the Marine Corps sucks that much more. Being a Marine in Okinawa is downright painful. Now the Group I was with was even that much worse as the Brigadier General was a mustang that served in Vietnam. The Battalion I was with was even worse than the other Battalion’s that where in it as the Colonel (we called him Col. Maximus) was known for burning Marines to the stake with not 45 days restriction, but 60 day restrictions, reduction in rank and the max amount of money taken from you (1200 as a PFC). The Company I was with was downright atrocious as it was known as the Company that was always fucking up and getting in trouble (underage drinking, jumping the fence after midnight curfew, larceny etc).

There were a lot of Marines before me that pretty much fucked it up for the future Marines. They fucked shit up and then left after their 1 year tour came to an end. They would leave and dodge the bullet. I came in right in the wake of things. I came in when all the higher ups were like “fuck you all, now we are going to get serious” it was another one of these “punish you for what the ones before you did” kind of thing. I came to Oki when the tours of service were raised to two years for single Marines, three years for married Marines. Now let me paint a picture.

A while back, there were these group of jar heads that raped an Okinawa teenage girl in the 90’s (y’all pretty much heard of it) and the future retards would get punished as a result (another one of those being punished for others kind of thing). Let me read the list of what Marines couldn’t do in Okinawa. Let’s see, Marines couldn’t leave base by themselves, they needed a libo buddy. All the other branches could happily leave base and come back by themselves, but us Marines had to have a damn libbo buddy (makes it that much harder to get laid out in town). Us Marines had a libo card system, red meant that you had to be back by midnight or you risked getting NJP’d. Yellow meant that you could go off base by yourself. But, the only way you could get it was if you were and NCO and ran above a 285 PFT (figures, make it harder for dumbasses) and even then some NCO’s were not permitted to have a yellow libo card cause some dumb fuck came in late a couple of nights ago (again getting punished for others). Other branches, regardless of rank could drive a vehicle on base. Now you could imagine how us retards felt when we would see E-2 Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen driving their cool Japanese cars bumping their music and us dumbasses had to march in formation like recruits and the only music that was bumping for us was the Sgt’s cadence.

Now, I know it sucked being a Marine, but what really pissed me off was how all the other branches could drink at twenty years of age and buy as many cases of beer they wanted. Us idiots were not allowed to drink until age 21. And those that were 21 could only buy a six pack for the whole day if you were E-3 and below. This really bothered me because I felt discriminated (kind of like Jews in Europe when the Germans were taking over). And no I don’t buy the “were Marines and were held to a higher standard” bullshit because that was downright stupid and I knew it was a way to micro manage Marines into not drinking. I did not get this, I would ask myself “don’t we serve the same country? Don’t we serve the same Department of Defense? Aren’t we all in this together? Doesn’t the USMC need the Navy as much as the Navy works with the Army as much as we all use the AirForce’s airplanes?” I felt very offended at this. For the first time I felt discriminated for the uniform I wore. I soon started to see my digital cammies as an orange prison jump suit. Marines that would get questioned off base by the Shore Patrol (higher up Marines in civvies out to burn Marines in town) would lie about being in the Army, Navy or AirForce out of survival’s sake, and they would still get burned and put on blast that they claimed another branch. This is when I really hated the USMC. I felt that I was being punished for no fucking reason at all, I really did not commit a crime but it was kind of like being the son of a slave in ancient Rome and automatically becoming a slave. I did not understand this.

So to make a long story short, I was in the darkest of the darkest of the darkest units that could possibly exist in the USMC. I was worse off than the guys in the Brig because all they did was eat, sleep, watch tv. We did not even get to enjoy those luxuries. We were constantly getting hazed and fucked with. Not to mention the Sgt. I mentioned before would love to spread bad news to us, he would always belittle us and remind us on a daily basis how shitty we had it. He would always stand in front of us and say “you motherfuckers are not going anywhere this weekend, you motherfuckers will not drink this weekend, you mother fuckers will not ride honchos (Japanese taxis) for this week, and guess what, when you motherfuckers get back to the barracks, we are going to have a Charlie, fuck that, and Alpha formation tonight at 2200 after fielday (we fieldayed every day).” I seriously started to hate the USMC because I felt that I was being discriminated for no fucking reason at all. I would sometimes sit on my rack at night and punch the shit out of the wall with tears coming down my face (not being a pussy but I felt like I was being raped and treated unfairly for no fucking reason). This really hit home for me, I was very angry at the decisions I made and I soon started to seriously hate the USMC. I have been in jail before but guess what, it was not even a fraction as shitty as the unit I was with as I had better chow and got to sleep my eight hours and I was not constantly getting fucked with. The excuse that the higher ups would say that the reason for our mistreatment was shit like “we’re the best, we’re held to a higher standard, Chesty Puller believed in hardship, hardship makes better Marines, Semper Fi do or die, we have been doing this for 232 years etc.) this really ticked me off as I felt as the higher ups were doing a mockery of our bullshit existence. It really hit me, when we were voluntold to fill sand bags and make fighting holes for a mock exercise for a Company that we were not even associated with. Our CO got along with the other CO and said “fuck it, make my Marines do it” it really started to dawn on me when I was out in the 100+ degree weather with 95% humidity at 1200 out in the hot ass sun that it was going to be a long two years of my life. I could remember filling those sand bags that were 55lbs each and carrying two of them atop of both my shoulders and carrying it up hill for 200+ yards and looking at the sky and seeing a jet fly in the horizon. It was a jet that was from Kadena Air Force base and it was doing an exercise. I could so vividly remember that I would do anything, ANYTHING to be that motherfucker as he was an Airman and atop of that he was an officer. That is like having a double win win situation. I remember thinking “you lucky, lucky motherfucker!”

Stay tuned for part 3 of my Okinawa Prison experience. This is the tip of the ice berg.

Submitted by “free_bird”

  • mmafan3 .

    Really enjoying these, as it hits home for me in so many ways, Free_Bird..so forgive the multiple posts. It’s been 30 years since i’ve been there, but the familiarity is coming back to haunt me. We played more than our fair share of games..I was with the 9th ENG batallion. Even though our asshole cpls, sgts and other higher ups fucked us with field days and other stupid shit many times a week, also fucking with our sleep as well, they didn’t mess with our liberty that much unless something bad really went down. Things were already at a boiling point in the barracks and they were at least smart enough to realize that a few cold beers off base takes the heat off of things. BUT, when we were on duty and extra duty, it sucked.
    My theory is that you have to give your troops time away from the grind and one another. If not, they will turn on each other and you. Another Marine and I did something..We had to scrub the head for and clean up for a couple of hours but other than that, we were free to go do whatever. You had to REALLY fuck up to get restricted to the barracks and/or base back then, at least in my company.
    I do remember a Marine I flew to Oki with from the states got drunk one night and stabbed a local to death in Kinville. It was all over the news there and in the states . We were ordered to stay on base for our own personal safety for a week due to threats made against U.S. troops by some locals. I believe he got life and still may be there after 30 years. Scary. Then I guess this, among many incidents over there set the stage for what you had to deal with in the 90s and now. Plus, I know they have been trying to get the US military off the island for decades because of troop misconduct.
    Yes..Harship is good, but balance is key to troop morale as well. Be hard when it calls for it, but also reward the troops. The USMC, however has failed miserably at maintaining that balance.

  • BC

    In the mid 90’s when I got orders to Okinawa the first thing I did as a crafty Airman First Class (E-3) was to go research the regs on what I could take with me for my 3 yr Kadena stay. I found a little blurb under vehicles that said NO except a recreation motorcycle not to exceed 1000cc. I got on the phone and ordered a Harley Davidson 883 sportster and figured that was gonna take up most of my 500lb shipping weight limit. No problem. I arrived in Okinawa to find out my assigned AFSOC unit gave me my own room with bathroom and I could replace govt furnishings with my own if I wanted. Out with crap little bed and in with California King waterbed from on base store, add a leather love seat and big ass TV with giant Klipsch speakers and surround sound. Fully stocked bar with a dedicated beer fridge. Convection/microwave oven and hotplate,ricecooker. I enjoyed cruising north out of the city on my Harley or road tripping along the coast finding little fishing villages lost in time in my old van with my friends. We had no curfew and would stay off base drinking and exploring til the sun came up. Work life due to the whole spec ops missions requirements was demanding and required long hours, little to no schedule and frequently being called in the middle of the night and told to report for briefing in 20 min which required constantly having bags packed for different environments ranging from Arctic cold to desert. Much trust placed in my ability to perform my duties flawlessly in any location supporting any mission of any duration by myself regardless of my low rank. Failure to do so would have been disastrous for me and the stress was not easy. I became friends with a few Marines who didn’t show the usual dismissive and disrespectful attitude towards AF. I went to see how they lived and found it to be just as unpleasant or more than I’d imagined. They spent many weekends staying with me and I would even let them borough my Harley when I was off Island. I was on Okinawa during the horrible incidents involving the raping of local girls and brutal killing of locals at the hands of Marines and it was tense but I left before the backlash caused any change in my freedoms. Yes the crimes of those few Marines are still being felt by US forces stationed there today. Is it wrong? The island has a pretty low crime rate and statistically a disproportionate percentage of those crimes are committed by American Service members and of those what percentage are committed by Marines vs AF,Navy and Army? A lot more by Marines is the sad truth. In my big picture I did extensive research before enlisting to decide what was the kind of experience and lifestyle I wanted while serving my country. The Marine corp isn’t big on entrusting low ranking individuals with lots of responsibilities. I wanted to be challenged professionally and treated with respect and the Air Force was the best fit. I had a lot different experience than most who enlist in the AF and I don’t regret my choices one bit.

    • Sgt

      The standards of the Marine Corps began to drop in the 1990’s when it viewed itself as a miracle worker. I was a fireteam leader as an E3 but in terms of libo, yeah they don’t trust anybody. One screw up and everyone gets punished.

  • Luis Guerra

    I was there in 1987, I was 19. They had a Beer bending machine in the barracks. the seven day store sold you as much beer as you wanted. You could buy 3 bottles of Johnny Walker or Seagrams a week at the package store. You could leave the base intoxicated or not at anytime and come back at anytime. I would go out in town about 6 or 7. and come back about 5 grab a beer from the bending machine and get ready for the company run at 6. I was shocked to read your story. What we did in town is another story.

  • J Rickabaugh

    I was On Schwab in 86-87, Beer machines in the BEQ, I had my own car as an E-3 on Schwab purchased from an exiting PFC for 50.00, drove to Kadena every weekend and I LOVED OKINAWA!!!! All this being stated: I worked for a Lieutenant who hated my guts because I was TAD to Intell. I Ran Intel reports and other classified material to Courtney and Foster all week. I also am shocked to read your story bro, Okinawa was a dream assignment, when we arrived on Foster for base assignment, everyone was saying “man you better pray you don’t go to Schwab”, well I caught that card and I loved every day on that base.