Camp Drake was one of 20 military installations around the Tokyo area. It was located northwest of the city. It took about 30 minutes by train to get into the city.   As I remember, there was a main camp and a north camp. There was a guard post at the gate and to get from one camp to the other you either had to have a pass or go on the inter camp bus.   I think the town of Asaka was in between the two camps.   To go into Tokyo you would take the train from Asaka to the edge of the city then transfer to the Yamte line which circled Tokyo and would take you anywhere within the city.   You could either buy a ticket for where you wanted to go or get a ticket from a machine for 10 yen and settle up at your destination.

I have no idea how many troops were in the camp but I know the 1st Cavalry Division had been there before us.   Which means that there was room for at least 15,000 troops.   We took over one their barracks and spent the first month painting out 1st cav emblems. Even the silverware had 1st cav on it.   The barracks were heated by a central system.   The main smoke stack, which had to be about 50 feet high, had a 1st cav patch painted at the top. I believe the camp was a couple miles from one end to the other.   Oh yes it had to be that big because it had a golf course and a riding stable. A good friend took riding lessons there.   It had a great service club and the PX was the size of a small Wal-mart with a snack bar.   Our barracks were located somewhere in the center of the camp. Our guns and trucks were in a motor pool that was within walking distance.   I was told that the camp was originally built for the Japanese army and in 1986 the camp went back to the Japanese government.   It is now occupied by the Japanese Self Defense Force.

I joined the NCO Club.   Membership was $3 first month then $1 every month after that.   It looked like a plush nite-club.   Every evening they had a 15 piece orchestra.   The meals and drinks were quite inexpensive, served by waiters in formal attire.   Most nights there was a floor-show. Sundays they had special entertainment for the children.   One night Jim Wingfield and I had a formal sukiyaki dinner, served by the wives of the waiters (dressed in kimonos) and cooked at our tables.

A good friend of mine was the company clerk of C battery.   His sargent was on the club's board of governors.   When I started going to the club I met my friend and the sargent.   He had a reserved table up front.   As I became a "regular" I always sat at their table.   Most nights neither the friend nor the sargent were there so the table became mine.   It got to a point that the head waiter would greet me and take me to "my table".   We got very few passes so many of my evenings were spent at the club.
Arrival from Korea The New Barracks Training Arrival from Korea The New Barracks Training