Sharp and Sober

Sharp and Sober

Iwakuni, Japan in the mid 1950’s, My good buddy Nick Dubovick and I returned to base after a pretty wild night on the town. The next morning I found a crumpled piece of paper in my pocket, entirely written in Japanese. Didn’t ring any bells with me so I asked Nick if he had a clue. He said that he found the same paper in his pocket so we showed them to our Japanese houseboy. He said that they were from a tailor shop and that we had bought a couple of sport coats.

That evening we went back in to town to see exactly what the h*** we had bought. They turned out to be bright red velvet coats with baby blue silk linings and our initials on the pocket in gold thread. After we got over the shock we wondered if we would have the b***s to wear these in public. We decided we would wear it, only if the other one wore his too. The enclosed picture was taken in the Miss Iwakuni Bar. Nick is the short one. We never did remember having these jackets made and/or paying for them. I think they cost us 3,000 Yen which was under $10 back then.

Nick is now serving in Post Everlasting and I often think of the years of absolutely crazy stuff that we did while in Japan. I could write a book but only a few would believe it.

Semper Fi

Sid Gerling
Sgt. of Marines

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Sgt. W. Pittman 1953/1956

    Wow what a great looking Marine base. When I was in Japan in 54 to56 I never saw any base that nice looking.

  • Dave Kennedy

    I was there 70-71 got hooked into buying some clothes, and of course spent time on creep street and four corners. All in All good duty.

  • Don Thompson

    I was there in 58-59 with MWHG. From the looks of that guard post and background buildings, the place has changed a lot. I had a ladys suit made for my Mother at Henry’s Best. It fit her perfectly and she loved it.

  • Frank Nelson, 2531 Sgt 53-56

    Reminds me of the Powder Blue Cashmere suit I bought in Hong Kong on R&R in 1955. i was 19 and never had a suit. We flew into Tachikawa Air Force Base on a Globemaster and then to Hong Kong. I only wore it once. A few years later my wife converted it into a Winter snow suit for my first son.. I think it cost $20.. I looked for the picture of Sid & Nick referred to in Sid’s story above.

  • Don Harkness

    Did a tour there 64-65 before, during and after a side trip with the 9th MEB Stage I. Ah tailored clothes, shirts, suits, sport jackets etc. and the taste in clothes didn’t change much. I think everyone had a synthetic silk lined sport coat. I left service in 65 when I returned to the US. But continued to buy clothes by mail for a couple of years after from my favorite tailor shop

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