Header Graphic Header Graphic
1st RSM Wakkanai 1951-54 > 1st RSM in 1954
Image 7 of 9
1st RSM in 1954

1st RSM in 1954

This is what the 1st RSM US Air Force compound looked like in the winter of 1954 after the first snow. To the upper right was the island of Sakahlin and the Sea of Japan. The operations building is in the center where the small smoke stack is next to the building. The living area is behind the operations building. The newly completed dorm is in the upper left of the photo connected to the living area. There was approximately 70 Airmen stationed there at this time.
Photo courtesy of Marty Epp

This additional clarification/correction was recieved by another former Wakkanain who wrote:
I don't think the comments attached to the photo of Wakkanai RSM (the first installation) during the winter of 1954 are quite correct. The land off in the distance to the top-right, as stated in the comments, is not Sakhalin Island but is the Hokkaido peninsula where the little settlement of Soya Point is. That, by the way, is the real most northern point of Japan, not Wakkanai. A couple of friends and I bused over to Soya Point on a sunny, cold day in the winter in early 1964, and I took some 35mm slides of Sakhalin, to the north of there. In the photo on the website Sakhalin would be to the left, maybe top-left, but is not visible in the photo anyway.

Secondly, the comments also state that the water out that way is the Sea of Japan. The water between Hokkaido and Sakhalin is officially in the La Perouse Strait, or Soya Strait per the Japanese. Perouse was a French explorer who was the first Westerner to sail through those waters. No matter which name one prefers to use, the strait connects the Sea of Japan to the Sea of Okhotsk. If a person were standing all the way on top of the hill behind Wakkanai Air Station, maybe near the light house, and looking out over Wakkanai Harbor, the Sea of Japan would be behind him, not out in front. There the water is in Wakkanai Harbor or, further out, in Soya Strait (maps in English refer to the strait as La Perouse Strait) and, if far enough to the east, might even be considered to be in the Sea of Okhotsk but not the Sea of Japan.


Don Gillig, Sr. (stationed at Wakkanai 12/62 - 03/64)