The Incredible Story of One Vietnam Veteran Who Served at Every Japan Base

by Michael Freeman
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Those currently and previously in the military likely know something about moving around. My father served in the Air Force and we moved more than 8 times as I grew up, with me being born in Okinawa, Japan. A Vietnam veteran seems to have me beat though, as he recently recalled visiting every base in Japan.

Charlie Austin is the Vietnam veteran in question and hails from Wichita, Kansas. Speaking to KSN about his military history, he noted going from a southeast Kansas farm to all over the world. Enlisting at only 19 years of age, Austin departed for Japan and received orders to Fuchu Air Base in Tokyo. “It was a new world for me,” said Austin. “You could see Mt. Fuji from our air station.” Unknown to him, he’d get to see every base the country had to offer.

Fuchu served as the United States headquarters for our forces in Japan and the far East. Being that it was the main communication hub for the Pacific during Vietnam, it was busy. “We relayed stuff out of coming from the U.S. went through Japan and then we sent it to, you know, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Phillippines,” Austin told KSN. “We had Coast Guard sites, we had Navy, Army, and Air Force and we maintained about 1,500 pieces of teletype.”

As one might expect, communication at the time was imperative, so Austin jumped from base to base maintaining equipment. Each base had a communication center and authorization was so strict, operators could read technicians’ handiwork like it was their handwriting. Authorities also brought food, bedding, and every essential item you could think of to maintain security.

Nonetheless, Austin enjoyed it. “We maintained, you know 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And that was your routine for two years, I never, it never changed.”

Homeless Vietnam Veteran Finds a Home Just in Time for New Years

While Charlie Austin made his home at numerous military bases throughout his life, others weren’t as lucky. Fortunately, a Vietnam veteran who lost his home late last year found a new one just in time for the new year.

Terry Ashenbrener tragically lost his home on November 23rd from a fire in his apartment building in Dewey, Wisconsin. As if that wasn’t enough, a few days later, he received a cancer diagnosis, WSAW reported. Though his outlook was grim for a while, Ashenbrenner received good news around New Year about a new home.

WSAW said his new neighbor Richard Peterson helped him out. “When I first found out about it, I started looking for houses. I told them about Terry’s situation and so I called Terry and told him to get over there right away.” Before he knew it, Terry had a new home, a wonderful neighbor, and people in the community all telling him they’d help him whenever he needed it.

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