Saturday, August 28, 2010

Revisiting Camp Kue Hospital

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

Today I drove to Kadena to accomplish a few errands.  My first stop was at the post office.  Little did I know that it would turn into a medical drama that would last the better part of the afternoon, and also serve to reconnect me to some old memories of my stay here in the 1970;s.

Walking toward the post office, I discovered one of my co-workers sitting on a small wall outside in the sun.  I spoke to him and was surprised to find that he was disoriented.  The man has some serious health issues and has not been feeling well, so I was concerned,  After unsuccessfully trying to get him to let me take him somewhere, I was able to contact another co-worker and we sat with him until a passing physician got involved and called an ambulance.  My friend was taken to Lester Naval Hospital, the military's only complete hospital (the others are just clinics) on Okinawa.  Lester is situated about one mile from where I live,  When I was here before it was known as Camp Kue Army Hospital.

Later this afternoon another co-worker and I went to Lester to check on our friend.  We found him being treated in the emergency room and mercifully doing much better.  He will be in the hospital at least for the night.

As we were preparing to leave, the friend that I had ridden to the hospital with asked me if I would like to take a tour.  I told him that my oldest son, Nick, had been born in that hospital thirty-seven years before, and I had not been in there since we checked out  with him in July of 1973.  We found a diagram of the hospital and learned that Labor and Delivery was still on the fifth floor.  Arriving on five and stepping out of the elevator, I walked directly into the same waiting room where I had waited for Nick to get here those many years ago.  The furniture was new, and there was a flat-screen television on the wall, but it was the very same room!

The day Nick arrived I sat in that small waiting room, by myself, for about an hour and watched Sanford and Son on an old, large television.  I'm sure it was funny, but to this day I can remember a thing about that episode.  I had other things on my mind.


  1. I was an HM2 in the Navy/Marine liaison office at Kue Hospital from 1972 to 1973. Maybe I bumped into you back then.

  2. I was stationed at the WAC Barracks in 1967-68, but worked at Stratcom. I have very fond memories of Okinawa.

  3. My Father died in Camp Kue Hospital Dec 1972. Would anyone know if there are still records for that time?

    1. Yes check online at the National Archives and Records Administration.

    2. I was in high school back then (early 70's) and lived at Camp Kue. One day were were on the hospital grounds throwing my boomerang, and it got stuck up on the ledge of one of the floors of the hospital. When we went into the hospital to get it, we found out it was on the ledge of the psyche ward. We never did get it back, so maybe it's still up there!