Letter from Japan, written by Ken Butler

Kenneth Morton Butler

17 May, 1954

Dear Helen, and Nell and Jack,

Left Ft. Lewis, Washington on April 10 aboard a troopship, the Gen.
W. A. Brewster. For 14 days we tossed on the high seas. You'd know that
they'd serve chicken on the roughest night afloat!.

Our first sight of land was majestic Mt. Fugiyama with its snow
capped top and lush green surroundings. The whole coast was littered with
small farms and the land was dotted with green trees or bushes. Around us
on the water were hundreds of small junks with white sails driving them out
to the fishing grounds. At 11:30 we approached Yokahama-Tokyo harbor.
The harbor was immense and must be one of the worlds largest.

A brass band met us as we docked and started up with "Tokyo
Boogie" and "Japanese Rhumba". Three hundred and nine of disembarked
and left 1050 on the ship who were bound for Korea. We boarded a train for
a two hour ride to Camp Drake, the Repo Depot (Replacement Depot).

On the way I glimpsed my first view of the Japanese. Their houses are
crowded together but there is always a green tree or bush separating them.
Every piece of land is cultivated. The fields are planted with barley, wheat,
corn and rice - the first three predominating. This area - 250 sq mi - is
called the Tokyo plain and is known for its fertile land and rainy season.

The people or I should say the children for they outnumbered even the
birds - all wear blue suits with shiny brass buttons. Even the railroad yard
men wore these suits in a natty manner. Blue or black is the favorite color in
this country and everyone wears it both males and females. Everybody also
rides a bike. The bikes almost force the cars from the road. The cars are
"Austin" in type and seldom is a bigger American car seen even though
Acre are many. We spend 30 hours at Camp Drake processing and shipped
out Monday 26 April. A bus took us to the Tokyo Central Station. On the
way we passed the Imperial Palace with its attractive moats and lawns, (this
buddy and I are "we").

A two hour train ride took us to Ta - 60 miles Northwest of Tokyo.
The town has a population of 80,000 and is small compared to W. Lafayette
with 15,000!! The area was the center of the Nakajima Aircraft plant during
the war. The 29's visited quite often and left it flat or in burnt out hunks. The
Nakajima was known as the "Zero".

During the Korean War this area had a 1000 bed hospital that filled up
after every big battle.

I'm at the Japan Medical Depot or Camp Bender. The function of this
organization is to supply all Army Hospitals and dispensaries and^r tow
Units of all U. N. nations with medical equipment and supplies. Trite-
maintenance section here repairs all types of equipment and last year- save
the government $1 bil 300 hundred thousand dollars.

But Camp Bender is small, which is great! Our PX theatre, gym, pool,
mess hall, service club, barber, and tailor shop and N.CO. club are all within
a block!
We sleep in a big three story office building which looks more like a
resort hotel! We sleep, my buddy and I, on the third floor and work on the
Every seven of us have a houseboy who makes our bed, shines our
shoes and bras, cleans and sweeps around our area, arranges our lockers for
inspection and takes care of our laundry.


The mess hall is manned by Japanese K.P.'s and we are served by
Japanese waitresses. During meal times we have music. The food is
excellent and varied. Plenty of milk and ice tea and sometimes lemonade.
The Japanese who bakes is a master and produces good pies and muffins.
With our K.P., cleaning duties and guard taken care of all we have to
do is fall out for reveille every morning at 6:00 am and be part of the flag
detail once every 10 weeks I have witnessed or felt two earthquakes. One was two weeks ago and just moved my desk, but the one Friday morning really shook the area and registered 5 on a scale of 12.

I am doing methods improvement work in the Management Office. I
was very lucky to get the job and I believe it will be my future when I get

Write and tell me how you're doing and what you're doing? Any
more long trips to Cleveland of Washington? My best to all three of you.