A Brief History of the FAR EAST NETWORK
H. Jordan Roscoe
[photo circa 1953 courtesy of Wallace "Wally Correll"]
l. The Background Years.
The study of history is properly the study of people. Events in the lives of people. their reactions to those events, the actions they took in consequence, and the influence of those events, reactions and actions upon other people, constitute all that is essential to the continuum of change we call history.
On this premise, a history of the formation and early days of the Far East Network threatens to be a barren recital at best, for the names and even the personalities of our founders are largely lost in the limbo of post-WW II confusion.
Our parent AFRS is said to have originated in May of 1942, molded from a miscellany of Command Performance Shows, Troop Information news broadcasts (some not even radiated but merely via hastily rigged public address systems), Special Services entertainment broadcasts, and even Army Intelligence radio. The equipment used was begged, borrowed, or acquired by other and more devious methods. This joint Army-Navy-Air Force operation was put under direct control of the Secretary of Defense 1 May 1948.
It soon became evident that here was a powerful and important medium capable of disseminating much more vital material than the merely latest Goodman or Miller recording. People who hold the purse strings took notice, interest and appropriations grew, and so in the Pacific area did the Far East Network.
What eventually became FEN originated, not in Japan at all, but in Okinawa, or the Philippines, or New Guinea long before the term Far East Network was used and much longer before the name was made official.
The name did become official 1 September 1951, when by General Orders Number 58, Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Command, Far East Command, dated 9 August 1951, six AFRS detachments were organized as the 8213th Army Unit, assigned to Japan Logistical Command, and with Headquarters in Tokyo. The six detachments were AFRS Sapporo, AFRS Tokyo, AFRS Osaka, AFRS Kyushu, AFRS Sendai, and AFRS Hachinohe. Of these, the first four all lay claim to having been the first on the air in Japan.
2. The Formative Years.
Let us examine these interesting claims.
In February 1945, a well-integrated group of AFRS outlets called the Jungle Network, with headquarters at Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea, moved to the Philippine Islands. Key station of this Jungle Network was set up in Manila, in March of 1945 under the direction of Lt. Col. (then Captain) Graf Boepple. Col. Boepple called this AFRS operation "Far East Network", so Col. Boepple may well be considered the father of FEN, and his brain-child was born in Manila, March 1945.
August 30, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur and his staff landed at Atsugi airport, to complete arrangements for the Japanese surrender. Hot on his heels came the AFRS detachment from Manila. In a 1955 letter to Maj. Mark Azzolina, then Station Manager of FEN Tokyo, Col. Boepple writes: "The first American troop broadcasts in the Japanese islands were made on 21 September 1945 - - - - - - - - On 23 September 1945, Radio Tokyo No. 2 began operation as an American troop station with the call letters WVTR". However, there is considerable doubt that those two dates signaled the "first American troop broadcasts in the Japanese islands".
Although we can find no documentary evidence, old-timers will agree that there were such broadcasts from two vans in the city of Yokohama, two or three weeks earlier. These vans, by the way, became FEN property, and along with others of similar vintage, were ultimately shipped to American Forces Korea Network during the Korean conflict of 1950-1954.
No matter who was on first, the new-born AFRS stations in Japan roused world-wide interest, and were deemed of sufficient importance that Time magazine devoted 12 inches to a somewhat inaccurate article, crudely titled "The Jap Air is Jumping" in their October 8, 1945 issue. Among the fallacies of this article is a map of Japan which shows what presumably purport to be AFRS stations at Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Kumamoto! These imaginary stations are neatly connected by a line indicating network status.
Chief contender with FEN Tokyo for the distinction of being first on the air, is FEN Kyushu. This group of AFRS stations, originated with stations WLKH operated by the 24th Infantry Division in Kure (Honshu, not Kyushu) and WVTO operated by the 2nd Marine Division in Sasebo. Both were on the air from portable stations in early September, 1945. The exact date of their first broadcast is unknown, but there seems to be no really valid basis for the traditional date ascribed, September 11th.
WLKH moved to Okayama, in South Central Honshu, January 1946. In June 1946 it moved again, to Sasebo, to take over WVTO. At that time relay stations were established at Kokura (WLKH), Kumamoto (WLKF), Oita-Beppu area (WLKB), and Kanoya (WLKA). Kanoya is in Kagoshima prefecture, Southern Kyushu.
Meanwhile an independent Air Force Station, WLKI, had been operating in Fokuoka for the benefit of Itazuke, Kasuga, and Brady Air Bases. This station was also moved in August 1946 to a location near Beppu., the "Riviera of Japan", where the call letters WLKI were retained, and operated as a fifth relay from WVTO Sasebo. The term "relay" in these cases indicated a transmitter site with some assigned personnel, little or no studio facilities, and re-transmitting broadcasts received by shortwave. No program lines were used until 1947.
24 November 1946 an RCA BTA-10F 10KW transmitter was installed at Saga, later relocated to Fukuoka, as the main transmitter for AFRS Kyushu. This transmitter was shut down September 1952, stored for time, shipped to Tokyo during April 1953, and installed in the FEN Tokyo transmitter site at Momote Village near Camp Drake, where it went on the air July 1953 and is still in service
The 10KW transmitter at Saga went off the Air 5 August 1950, in order to move to Fukuoka. The next day (August 6th) a 10KW NHK transmitter at Fukuoka began broadcasting AFRS programs, and continued until the AFRS owned RCA transmitter went back on the air 10 October 1950. During this period AFRS Kyushu broadcast four programs daily in the Korean language.
When this WLKH transmitter at Saga began broadcasting at its full power, 20 February 1947, WVTO, WLKA, WLKB, WLKF, and the WLKI operation at Beppu were closed, although the call letters WLKI remained in use at Fukuoka. However, on 23 July 1947, a 250 watt relay was opened at Kokura using the call letters AKAX, redesignated AKAS in February 1948.
After a time, the 10KW transmitter alone proved unsatisfactory for covering the widely scattered Kyushu installations, so relays of the Kyushu AFRS main station, with studios then in the Kokura NHK building, were re-established at Kumamoto and Sasebo (both 8 July 1950) and Oita (5 Oct. 1949).
In Central Honshu, a Lt. Smithers (the name is a re-translation from the Katakana of NHK records) negotiated for the use of NHK facilities in Osaka on the 27th of August, 1945. Lt. Smithers must have been a man of action as well as vision, since it is recorded that the enlisted men reported for duty September 7th, and AFRS station WVTQ occupied studios in the Osaka NHK building September 12th. The official on-the-air date for WVTQ Osaka AFRS may well have been broadcasting earlier - as early, possibly, as September 12th.
WVTQ had three transmitters: a 10KW at Senri (Osaka) 23 September 1945 to August 1953, a 10KW at Nagoya 24 September 1945 to 9 August 1953, and a transmitter of unknown power at Tsuruga (on the west coast of Japan) 20 October 1945 to 31 March 1948.
In the far north, similar events were taking place to lend to the establishment of AFRS station WLKD in Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido. WLKD went on the air 22 September 1945, one day later than the date claimed by Col. Graf Boepple for the earliest American troop broadcast in Japan, and one day before the official opening of WVTR Tokyo and WVTQ Osaka.
Unlike Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyushu, there is no indication that AFRS Sapporo did any broadcasting prior to their official opening date.
AFRS station WLKE began broadcasting from Sendai, in northeast Japan, 15 December 1945.
As for who was first- in summary and without the long, monotonous list of quotes from and references to the voluminous and ofttimes contradictory documents upon which this opinion is based, it is the opinion of this writer that:
a The first actual American troop broadcast in Japan originated from a portable transmitter operated by the 2nd Marine Division, in Northern Kyushu, probably using the call letters WVTO, not later than 1 September 1945.
b. The first U.S. Army radio station in Japan was WLKH, 24th Infantry Division, at Kure, on the air within the first 15 days of September 1945.
c The first U.S. Air Force radio station in Japan was WLKI (actually then Army Air Corps but referred to as "Far East Air Forces") in Fukuoka area, probably January 1946.
d. The first AFRS station to be located in permanent studios was WVTQ, in the Osaka NHK building 12 September 1945.
e. The first official on-the-air date was that of WLKD Sapporo, 22 September 1945.
f. The first use of "Far East Network" in Japan was by WVTR, Tokyo, 21 September 1945.
g The first use of "Far East Network" anywhere was by WVTR Manila, March 1945.
3. The Years of Organization
An official history of Armed Forces Radio Service, published by Far East Command in 1949, begins with the Statement that "in 1947 sixteen radio stations comprised the Far East Network", thereby giving at least semi-official recognition to the name.
The stations listed were as of 1 January 1947, rather than throughout that year. They were WVTR Tokyo, WVTQ Osaka, WLKH Kokura, WLKD Sapporo, WLKE Sendai, WLKI Fukuoka, WLKA Kanoya, WVTM Manila, WXLH Okinawa, WVTG Guam, WVTX Iwo Jima, WVTF Saipan, AKAY Admiralty Islands, WVTP Seoul Korea, WLKJ Chonju Korea, and WLKC Pusan Korea.
No list would, be complete, however, without at least this brief mention of the very cooperative British Commonwealth Overseas Forces Station WLKS Kure, who among other things carried American shortwave news broadcasts for the benefit of U.S. personnel at Eta Jima School Command and elsewhere in Southwest Honshu.
No record can be found of AKAS, the relay at or near Kokura, which is known to have been active in 1948. In fact, among available documents there is no further mention of this relay after the original identification of AKAX was changed to AKAS.
Many of those sixteen 1947 stations were short-lived WLKA and AKAY closed February 1948, WVTX August 1948, WLKJ September 1948, and WLKC November 1948.
WVTM was closed at the request of Manila Commercial broadcasters in October 1947 but went back on the air Christmas Eve of that year.
The first actual network operation by AFRS in the Far East dates from August 1947, when WVTR, Tokyo began feeding WVTQ, Osaka four hours a week, by means of land lines Prior to that, the so-called Far East Network and its predecessor Jungle Network had fed news and special events by short wave, but in general the term "network" had been a misnomer.
Another first in 1947 was the first AFRS conference in the Far East. Held March 18th and 19th of that year, this was the forerunner of the present day FEN Station Managers Conference. In attendance were radio officers of all TI&E Sections, and Officers-in-charge of radio stations in all major commands of FEC. Among the subjects discussed was the proposed GHQ FEC Circular 49.
This circular, dated 3 May 1947, was probably the first published official recognition of what was to become the Far East Network. It set forth the mission, organization, and functions of AFRS in the Far East Command. The Radio Officer, TI&E Section GHQ, FEC, was formally charged with the immediate direction and supervision of AFRS, under the supervision of the Information Officer, GHQ FEC.
At that time the Radio Officer, and therefore the first actual chief of an officially combined FEN, was Major William E. Rowens, Jr. Major Rowens was replaced in September 1948 by Major Jean L. Wood.
The 1948 AFRS conference was also deeply concerned with "Care and Disposition of AFRS Records", but not the "records" a military man might reasonably suppose. Evidently the problem rearing its ugly head had to do with transcriptions-recorded shows and basic music library.
Also in 1948, an AFRS School, the first in this area, and "radio clinic" were started at WVTR Tokyo. There is no record of the curriculum, but a Mr. Burney Howard, described in the records as a "speech clinician", was hired "to visit all the stations". This he is said to have done, except for WXLH in Okinawa. (The quotations are from "2 Year History of AFRS, 1 January 1947 thru 31 December 1948" an unpublished manuscript by V.V Saul, dated 15 June 1949, from which the before-mentioned FEN history of AFRS seems to have been drawn.)
Two typewritten documents in FEN files deal with AFRS history during 1949. One is titled "History of AFRS from 1 January 1949 to 31 December 1949", and begins "Armed Forces Radio Service began 1949 with eleven stations operating throughout the Far East Command". The other, "AFRS in the FEC from 1 January 1949 to 31 December 1949", contains the statement: "Ten AFRS stations remained within the Far East Network" (at the end of 1949). Neither appears to have official sanction nor was adopted in its entirety for incorporation in FEC history reports. Both are unsigned, but the condition of the paper indicates that both were actually typed as long ago as early 1950.
These two documents agree that the eleven AFRS-Far East Network stations in operation in 1949 were WLKD, WLKE, WVTR, WVTQ and WLKH, under Eighth Army, WLKI and WVTM under Far East Air Forces, WVTG and WVTF under Mariannus-Bonin Command, WVTP under U.S. Armed Forces in Korea, and WXLH under Ryukyus Command.
All eleven stations identified themselves with and as "Far East Network", whether in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Philippine Islands, or Marianna Islands .
WVTP Seoul, Korea, was transferred operationally to Korea Military Advisory Group 30 June 1949, whereupon WVTP ceased to be considered a part of FEN.
The big change in 1949 took place September 15th, when all eleven stations stopped using call letters, and began using an identification consisting of the geographical location followed by "Armed Forces Radio Service". For instance WVTR then became: "This is Tokyo, your Armed Forces Radio Service Station".
Also during 1949 the first serious effort toward systematizing and standardizing the weird assortment of equipment then in use was begun as Class IV Projects to authorize existing equipment and provide for planned replacement were drafted. Still, some two years passed before these projects were finally completed and approved, by which time they were unfortunately already somewhat obsolete.
By 1949 the "speech clinician" had become a "speech correctionalist" who in addition to teaching "speech fundamentals" is reported to have "distributed the mimeographed pages of speech aids prepared by the Radio Office".
FEN stations in that era averaged 120 hours of broadcast per week, from 6:30 AM to 11:30 PM, except that on Saturday nights the boys were permitted to really cut loose and stay up till midnight listening to "a whole half hour of continuous dance music".
The FEC Circular 49, FEN's first official charter, became Section III of TI&E GHQ circular 3, 24 January 1949. Each station was organized administratively into a numbered Army Unit, complete with Table of Distribution (Manning Document) for 1 Officer and 14 EM Except Tokyo, which had 2 Officers and 22 EM. The fiscal year 1950 budget for the 10 stations was $265,909, which "paid personnel and equipment requirements". This did not include the major equipment provided through AFRS Los Angeles from Dept. of Defense funds, nor Y1,100,000 for "supply items of an emergency nature", nor Y162,000,000 for "leasing of stations in Japan, for land lines and remote equipment".
At the request of AFRS-LA, AFRS Tokyo tested microgroove transcriptions and concluded that "microgroove was a superior type of recording". This was 1949 - microgroove transcriptions finally came into limited use eleven years later.
The AFRS stations in Japan which had been assigned to 8th Army were reassigned to Japan Logistical Command by G.O. 22, GHQ FEC, 24 August 1950.
But the big event of 1950 was the addition of a new major outlet at Hachinohe, in northern Honshu, to serve troops in Camp Haugen Although other AFRS units, notably the components of AFRS Kyushu, had moved, opened, closed or changed call letters, names, and commands, yet not since the establishment of WLKE (later AFRS Sendai) December 1947, had an entirely new operation in virgin territory begun. AFRS Hachinohe, the 8008th AFRS Detachment, opened 15 February 1950, broadcasting from studios in the Elmer E. Fryar theatre building at Camp Haugen.
As mentioned before, major changes in AFRS Kyushu took place in 1950 also, with relays at Oita (established October 1949) and Sasebo and Kumamoto (July 1950) now programmed from Kokura and connected by land lines, as well as the removal of the Saga 10KW transmitter to Fukuoka, where it was beamed to Korea.
The war in Korea created a need for far greater radio coverage than the one station in Seoul plus the Fukuoka transmitter could provide. Hence in the summer of 1950 a new network was born: American Forces Korea Network. AFRS Seoul became the first of nine stations which comprised AFKN by the end of 1954. Four were more or less permanent installations (the vicissitudes of war occasionally interrupting the permanence) and the remaining five, portable. These AFKN stations were not identified by geographical locations, but bore colorful code names like "Vagabond", "Gypsy", "Homesteader", etc.
Far East Network station AFRS Saipan closed April 1st, 1950. Thus the Far East Network by the end of 1950, consisted of nine units, 14 outlets. These were (1) 8007th Army Unit, Kyushu AFRS Detachment, including Kokura, Fukuoka, Sasebo, Oita, and Kumamoto, transmitters; (2) 8006th A.U., Osaka AFRS Det., transmitters at Osaka and Nagoya; (3) 8003rd A.U., Tokyo AFRS Det, (4) 8004th A.U., Sendai AFRS Det., (5) 8008th A.U., Hachinohe AFRS Det.; (6) 8005th A.U., Sapporo AFRS Det., (7) Far East Network Okinawa, RYCOM; (8) Far East Network Guam, under Navy jurisdiction, and (9) Clark Field AFRS, operated by the Air Force.
Most of these were on the air 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Of the 126 hours programming; each week, almost exactly 50% was produced by FEN Production Department or by the individual local station staff, the remaining half being packaged shows transcribed, from AFRS Los Angeles
During the 1951 - 1952 era fully professional programs took form and brought FEN a status wall calculated to rouse the envy of any major network. The production department came into its own with the arrival of ex-Army Air Force P.I.O., Mr. C. G. Wells, bringing forth unforgettable radio classics and stellar performers.
From Kyushu, zany Army Corporal Fred "Fearless" Forgotto sold everything from traffic safety to blood bank contributions with his inexhaustible wit, irresistible, personality, and more originality per minute than the combined efforts of a dozen big-name comedians could master up in a week. From Osaka, Army Sgt. Ted "Cowboy" Clemens' "Sagebrush Symphony" was so interesting even hill-billy haters enjoyed the program, and with his lovely dulcet-voiced wife Patty, displayed ample versatility in the popular and jazz fields.
Air Force SSgt Russell (Skip) Ellis from Hachinohe, and later Tokyo, led a long list of famous FEN disc jockeys. The distaff had its day, with WAC Cpl Sherry Eason's "Music with Sherry" from Osaka, and Army dependent Mrs. Midge Kimes' voluntary hospital request show "Music with Midge" from Hachinohe.
Originated in Sendai by Army M/Sgt Johnny Baker, whose interest in Japan once induced him to leave FEN for one year to attend the Army language school, then return to FEN able to speak fluent Japanese, "Stories of Japan" was on the air some six years, and became as much a part of the touring serviceman's impression of Japan as hot baths and Mt. Fuji.
M/Sgt Baker was long-time station manager of FEN Sendai, an accomplished musician, and spent his last year before retirement as producer of the Army Hour from Washington, D C.
From Tokyo, what was perhaps the all-time high in interest-provoking language programs began August 1952 In the form of a colloquy between former US Navy language instructor John Sato and his friend Army Cpl. Jan Levy, this little five-minute gem had men all over FEC greeting one another with "Konbanwa, John" or replying "Konbanwa, Dan".
Also at Tokyo, DAC Mrs. Lee Hall chatted pleasant nothings to the dependent ladies by day, then switched personalities and voices to MC a late-night DJ show in a manner so enchantingly seductive that Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose sounded downright masculine by comparison. Navy Journalist Ben Oldag, possibly the most versatile voice ever assigned to FEN, was demonstrating that the right man could do hill-billy, or long-hair, or introduce church services (not, except for one very brief and horribly embarrassing occasion, simultaneously) all with appropriate style and equal aplomb.
Perhaps FEN offered its greatest appeal and served its greatest purpose through the news department. Inspired by Navy Lt. William G Hunefeld, this department then included at least four of the finest newscasters in the business: Army Corporals Julian Barber, Ernest Myers, and John Blashill, and Navy Journalist Victor Sonnenberg. Of Sonnenberg, C.G. Wells once said "You could set a level on Vic, go away and let him talk fifteen minutes, and come back to find the level hadn't changed one percent" .
One of the outstanding news features in the history of broadcasting was FEN's "News Front Far East", a weekly 30-minute documentary with on-the-spot coverage of significant events throughout the Far East. Like other news features, this was ably produced by DAC Mr. Larry Merritt, and for the most part magnificently voiced by Julian Barber. A major contributor to the interest and success of this show was P.I.O. Army SFC Stuart Queen, whose coverage of the Korea conflict made broadcast history.
FEN programming acquired the professional look under the expert guidance of DAC Mr. Ed Masters, now with Broadcast and Visual Aids. He left in 1952 and, in April of that year, was replaced by DAC Mr. John F. Buey, Sr., multi-voiced raconteur and old hand in the broadcast business, who transferred from the FEN complex in the Mariannas.
An efficient engineering department was organized under the direction of DAC Mr. Roscoe Phillips, with DAC Mr. Howard Talbot as assistant, and with civilian engineers at each of the AFRS units in Japan and Okinawa.
Major Jean Wood was replaced as theatre Radio Officer in 1951 by Major (now Lt. Col.) Edgar L. Tidwell. Effective 1 September 1951, by G.O. 58, Headquarters and Service Command, Far East Command, dated 9 Aug 1951, the six separate AFRS Army Units in Japan were discontinued, the post of Theatre Radio Officer was abolished, and all were organized as the 8213th A.U., Far East Network Japan, with Major Tidwell as the first Chief, FEN.
At the same time, AFKN became the 8214th A.U. and FEN Okinawa became the 8104th A.U. All three of these Army Units were under the supervision of the Information Officer, of the GHQ FEC staff, and as such received supply support from TI&E Depot at Camp Zama, Japan and engineering, program, and production support directly from FEN headquarters in Tokyo.
Capt. William H. Hablett was the first Company Commander of FEN Company, 8213th A.U He was succeeded in March 1952 by Capt. James Rawley, former Station Manager FEN Kyoshu.
So it was that FEN grew up, organized, and settled down to the less glamorous task of providing the best in English language broadcast to American Forces Overseas, now "guests" in a free and no-longer-occupied Japan, and of lending actual and moral support to sister AFRS outlets in Korea, Okinawa, and elsewhere.
A brand new area was covered when in August 1952 a new FEN station opened at Miho, on the southwest coast of Honshu. Then in October of that year FEN opened a station at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Facility Iwakuni.
This brought the number of FEN units to eight: Sapporo, Hachinohe, Sendai, Tokyo, Osaka, Iwakuni, Miho, and Kyushu. Beyond the normal continuous improvement both operationally and administratively under the aggressive leadership of Col. S.Y. McGiffert, most memorable of a long succession of TI&E officers, little else worthy of note took place in 1952.
Major Tidwell was replaced by Major J.J. Newman, second Chief FEN.
August 12th, 1952, the TI&E depot ceased to be responsible for supplying AFRS stations, and FEN had its own supply account. This account, HSC-31-S, was established by S.O. 91, Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Command dated 6 Aug 1952, for the purpose of providing "logistical support of all FEN installations for non-standard electronic items". 20 April 1953, by authority of the Comptroller USAFME, this mission was extended to include "all AFRS activities within the Far East Command".
In 1952 land lines were extended from Tokyo, through Nagoya and Iwakuni, to the Kyushu complex, and also north to Sendai.
Throughout this entire time, FEN stations in Japan had for the most part used transmitter and studio facilities leased from NHK By 1953 this was no longer feasible, so new buildings ware constructed for all the old FEN Japan stations, and by 15 September 1953 all FEN facilities were housed in FEN-owned, on-base structures. This wrought some changes in locations, and required the addition of relays in some areas.
In Kyushu, the main station moved to Itazuke Air Base, near Fukuoka where it remains to this day. Relay stations continued at Sasebo, Oita and Kumamoto, and Kokura remained as a relay station also.
FEN Osaka-Nagoya relocated to the Nagoya-jo housing area, and added relays at Nara, Koshien (half-way between Kobe and Osaka, this station was always referred to as "Kobe"), and Otsu.
The newer stations, FEN Hachinohe at Camp Haugen, Iwakuni, and Miho, remained relatively unchanged, but FEN Sapporo, which had already moved into beautiful accommodations on Camp Crawford, added a relay at Camp Chitose, while FEN Sendai moved to Camp Sendai housing area and added a relay at Camp Schimmelpfennig on the opposite side of the city of Sendai.
FEN Tokyo moved to luxurious new studio building at South Camp Drake, with transmitter site at nearby Momote Village housing area.
In the summer of 1954 an FEN station opened at Niigata, although this station was not fully authorized until a year later. As dubious compensation for the attendant confusion, FEN Niigata during its brief life enjoyed two opening-day ceremonies, and one supposes double barreled anniversaries thereafter.
With Niigata, FEN Japan had 19 outlets in 1954: nine stations at Camp Crawford, Camp Haugen, Camp Sendai, Niigata, Tokyo, Nagoya, Iwakuni, Miho, and Itazuke; and ten relays, at Chitose, Misawa Air Base, Camp Schimmelpfennig, Nara, Kobe, Otsua, Kokura, Sasebo, Oita, and Kumamoto. FEN Iwo Jima had closed April 1st, 1953, but of course FEN Okinawa remained in full force. This total of 20 Far East Network facilities represented the numerical peak for all time. An unofficial 21st outlet in 1954 was at Iwo Jima, which reopened but without official sanction.
Major Newman remained long enough to see FEN installed in the new on-base locations, but departed September 1953 and was replaced by Major Edward J. Albany.
1954 and 1955 saw little in the way of important change, but with 1956, a phase-down of Army installations and the institution of new policies resulted in the deactivation of many FEN stations and relocation or major changes for others. First to go was FEN Hachinohe, which closed New Year's Day 1956, re-opened, a few days later to serve the housekeeping troops remaining at Camp Haugen, and finally left the air forever February 1st.
The newest FEN station at Niigata closed during June 1956, but remained as a relay of FEN Tokyo until March 1958.
In the far north, Camp Crawford closed and so, in February 1958, did FEN Sapporo. The station facilities there moved to the Chitose relay, which became a full-fledged station.
In the Kansai area, FEN Kobe closed 15 November 1957, FEN Otsu 30 November, and FEN Nara 26 June 1958. The main station at Nagoya was reduced to a 10KW transmitter relay 1 February 1958. ,
FEN Miho, after being reduced to the status of a relay from Iwakuni, finally closed 15 February 1958.
In Kyushu, FEN Kumamoto closed 8 July 1956, FEN Oita 15 July 1956, and FEN Kokura 15 September 1957, but a new relay was established at Ashiya Air Base 26 June 1958. The Ashiya FEN relay was deactivated October 1961.
FEN Sendai and its Camp Schimmelpfenning relay were deactivated in January of 1958. Selected equipment from Sendai facilities, together with some FEN Hachinohe equipment, was installed in a fine new building provided by Misawa Air Base. FEN Misawa was expanded from relay status to become a principal station.
Meanwhile, FEN Iwo Jima went back on the air in November or December 1953, and became officially authorized November 1955.
A new FEN outlet was opened at Wakkanai, at the very northern tip of Hokkaido, in June 1958.
AFRTS Okinawa declined further supply or engineering support from FEN in May 1958, although supply assistance continues to be provided by FEN when requested.
American Forces Korea Network likewise declined further direct support in October 1958.
In 1958 a fine new AFRS outlet was opened in Taiwan, at Taipei, under the jurisdiction of MAAG-Taiwan This organization, which has grown to form a small network of its own, receives supply support, as well as programming and production aids and engineering advice, from FEN. A history of AFR-Taiwan will be included in the next edition of this history.
Beginning with Fiscal Year 1959, Far East Network came under Air Force administration, assigned, to U.S Forces Japan, with operational control delegated to Information Officer 5th Air Force and administrative responsibility to 6000th (now 6100th) Support Wing.
Armed Forces Television came to Japan in 1960, when FEN Misawa TV went on the air officially Christmas Eve.
Major Albany, third Chief FEN, departed in June 1956. He was succeeded by Capt. Wallace E. Bysinger, who held the fort until the new Chief, Lt. Col John E. Bornholdt, arrived in July.
In 1957, the various departments and sections were reorganized along staff division lines. FEN management then included:
Chief Lt. Col. John E. Bornholdt Executive and Admin. Officer Capt. O.A. Tuckerman Production Division Mr. C.G. Wells, Director Program Division Mr. John F. Buey, Director Engineering Division Mr. John C. Olsen, Director Supply Division Mr. H. Jordan Roscoe, Director News Bureau Lt. Harrison Baker, USAF, O.I.C.
Lt. Col. Bornholdt departed and was succeeded by his Executive Officer Major Peter O. E. Bekker. Major Bekker was replaced by the present Chief FEN, Lt. Col. George L. Stantor, in March of 196l.
5. Conclusion and Apologia
We recognize the foregoing is incomplete and that it undoubtedly contains errors and inaccuracies. These latter we have sincerely endeavored to keep to a minimum.
As for completeness, a truly complete history might fill several thick volumes but would, we feel, in consequence become utterly boring and remain virtually unread.
The present study was a rush job, done to meet a deadline in order that it might be presented at the Stations Managers Conference of November 28, 29, and 30, 1961.
We plan to revise and rewrite the history of FEN within the next six months, adding such features as a chronological list of all station mgrs, and, we hope, illustrations. Please bear with us until the new, improved edition is published.
24 November 1961
This page last modified on Monday, 09-Sep-2002 19:18:48 EDT