The Machinato Service Area in the 1970's

The above aerial photo, edited and provided by Rob Oechsle, is a composite made from three 400 dpi scans taken from standard 9"x9" inch (230 mm x 230 mm) aerial images, which reside in Tokyo Japan.

Rob who currently lives on Okinawa as a civilian, served in the Army in 1973-74 as Pharmacist Tech at Camp Kue Hospital Pharmacy Service. He stayed on Okinawa after his service and opened an Aerial Photography business.

Rob was asked by Tom Majors to search for any past evidence of Agent Orange stockpiles. Tom and others have been concerned about their possible exposure to these chemicals which reportedly were kept in various places on the island including the Machinato area and specifically near the PsyOp Printing Plant that was close to a known storage site for chemicals. An article from the Asian Pacific Journal dated 2015 describes the problem. FOIA Documents Reveal Agent Orange Dioxin, Toxic Dumps, Fish Kills on Okinawa Base. Two Veterans Win Compensation, Many More Denied

Tom is trying to document any evidence of those stockpiles from photos during his time on Okinawa. As part of his research, he contacted me and included some photos and information that is being shown in this article. Some evidence has already been found. The nearby relationship of the Printing Plant to known chemical stockpile is seen in left photo below. This photo is from above FOIA Documents. The red X marks the location of the Printing Plant seen in right photo (Yellow Circle)

Tom served as an Sp4 in the 7th PsyOps Group 15th Detachment and ran a Honcho Web Press in the Printing Plant Building 205 (above photo) from 1966 to 1968. In an email, Tom said that he was in the unit when the barracks 1201 (above photo) was relocated to Sukiran.

A FILMCLIP of the Machinato Barracks also shows close proximity of chemical dump site. The captured photo (from filmclip looking South) shows general location of the storage site not seen in view(red arrow).

Tom's email also briefly explained how he began his research.

From our new barracks in Sukiran, we had to be trucked in a 2 1/2 back and forth to plant on our three shifts 24/7. I was one of the drivers. Found someone (Donn Cuson) on an okinawan web site that has an aerial view collection and explained to him all the details of 205 and he began his search. (April 1, 2020)

A coresearcher is Jim Rice who has Parkinsons and is one of many who are trying to relate their illness to Agent Orange exposure. Jim served in 15th Det in 1968 TDY from Ft Sill OK for about 5 months. Tom explains how Donn Cuson and Rob Oechsle became involved in the project.

I put an article on "Yeah...I Was In Okinawa" web page looking for people that had any photos taken around the printing plant to see if we could come up with plants exact location being close to 2nd Log for Jim's Agent Orange Claim. After several people posting on came Donn Cuson that got things going with his personal arrial views of the area then Rob came on with his updated 3D aerials which he currently working on for finishing touches. Doug was a broadcaster with Psyops came in with the film clips.

In another email Tom included the aerial photo below that was probably taken in early 1960's showing the Printing Plant.

It was a tough challenge but I was determined to find it (Printing Plant 205). The b/w image was photographed by Donn Cuson during an FAA flight circa 1963. Give credit to Donn for sticking in there with me. You can see that it is a double building and I remember having to drive up a hill to get to it being the third shift driver. Donn had to blow up photo to see it better. We could also see the building in the back we also used.

Rob Oechsle indicated that Donn Cuson (about age 77) lives in Arizona with his Okinawan wife, and is the webmaster for
Donn has about 5000 photos of Okinawa and other research papers on his Website --- about half his collection of images. He also has a map (or maps) of the Machinato Service Area, where some (or possibly all) of the buildings are numbered.

Tom then sent a number of aerial photos from Rob Oechsle dated 1970 that show printing buildings (yellow circle below), barracks and other structures.

Below is closeup aerial of printing buildings

A ground view of the printing buildings was taken by Dennis Kaliser 15th Det in 1966.

The aerial photo below shows barracks 1201 (1st red arrow) and area just South of Communications Compound (not in view) that housed studios and Cannibalization area for equipment from Vietnam (second and third arrows). The printing buildings are shown in yellow circle.

The Northern End of Machinato Area and the Communications Compound (yellow arrow) can be seen below. The two red arrows indicate the Cannibalization area and Studio buildings in previous photo. These aerial photos were incorporated into composite photo at top of page.

A final aerial from Rob Oechsle (via Tom in email) shows enlargement of the Communications Compound (yellow arrow in above pic).

The screen captured pic below is from a filmclip of the Communication Compound in the middle 1960's provided by Doug Stalker who was a Broadcaster for the unit. The building is marked with red arrow in photo above.

The poor quality image below is one I took of the same building in 1962 when I worked in that compound recording short wave broadcasts for the research division. I can remember digging a foxhole outside the fencing of the compound toward the East China Sea during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The brass evidently thought we would be invaded and our M1 carbines would drive them off.

The filmclip of the Communication Compound shows several unknown PsyOps personnel and civilians (or PsyOps personnel in civilian clothes). FILMCLIP

I had done a Google Earth search for the Machinato Barracks and Communications Compound in 2007 when the Machinato Service area had been rebuilt into Camp Kinser, a Marine Base. The area had become much different than the Army facilities in previous time. The composite photo provided by Rob is dated 1977 which is only one year before the area was turned over to the Marines. "During October 1978, 3d FSSG was relocated to the Makiminato Service Area, Okinawa which was later rededicated as Camp Kinser on 21 January 1980..."

The evidence thus far shows a chemical storage depot closeby the Printing Plant where many PsyOp personnel worked including Okinawan civilians some of which are seen in photo provided by Tom Majors. In addition, the Machinato barracks was also in the vicinity of the site.

Another factor in Agent Orange usage and later medical problems suffered by exposed personnel is that the Army did not know of its long term hazards. An Army Field Manual titled Tactical Employment of Herbicides* dated 1971 describes the storage and handling of these agents. The document states "Orange may be handled with ordinary sanitary precautions, however this agent on skin or clothing should be removed promptly by rinsing copiously with clear water to prevent possible irritation." In terms of toxicity, the manual states that "Orange is in low toxicity to man, fish and wildlife; however will cause slight skin irritation and minor inhalation effects." Long term effects of exposure have been well documented and cited by many medical journals and the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

If any reader including Okinawan civilians have any information related to chemical storage on the island please contact Tom (Tom Majors

*PDF of Entire Herbicide Manual