THIS WEEK ON OKINAWA
Updated August 8, 2007 with
information provided by Gene Saltzgaver
This Week on Okinawa was
the TV guide and chronicle of American business and social activities for
1960's Okinawa. This Month on Okinawa was created in 1955 by Larry Krebs.
In 1961 This Month on Okinawa became This Week on Okinawa. Somewhere in
this time frame Larry accompanied someone from Okinawa on a fateful boat
trip, probably to Hong Kong. While the craft was still in Okinawa waters,
Larry was lost overboard. His mother, Margaret Krebs, came to Okinawa to
investigate, as best she could. The magazine was in debt and Margaret
decided to run it and eliminate the debt. She was successful and became a
star in Okinawa's social universe.
was hired by Margaret as a part time photographer and worked for her for
about three years. I covered a lot of parties and they published a few
of my photo features. This was my first job in photography, and I
didn't know much. I remember shooting 60 or 70 frames to get a single
photo suitable for publication. She loved the parties, receptions, and
meetings and wanted photos of everything. This was my basic training
for hundreds of weddings I would cover as a professional photographer.
An important benefit of this job was access. These
social gatherings were frequently held within the forbidden (to enlisted
personnel) confines of various officer's clubs.
On one occasion, Lt. Gen. Watson, High Commissioner of
the Ryuku Islands, hosted a reception for 19 visiting U.S. congressman at the
Fort Buckner Officer's Club. Dress was formal and proper protocol was
My mission was a group photo of the congressmen.
My plan was to wait until everyone had been through the receiving line,
shoot the picture, sample the food, and leave.
Ah the best laid plans.................. As the
last person made their way through the line, the congressman scattered to
the far corners of the huge room. Gen. Watson was nearby and
lightning would surely strike if someone of my lowly status (E-4) spoke to
him, but I had no choice.
Me: "Sir I have a problem."
Gen. Watson: "What is it?"
Me: "Margaret Krebs wants a group picture of the
congressmen and I don't know how I'm going to get them together."
Gen. Watson: "Son, that's not a problem, they're
With that, Gen. Watson, in this very formal setting,
stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled. The room fell silent and
Gen. Watson shouted, "I WANT ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ASSEMBLE OVER
HERE FOR A GROUP PICTURE, NOW!"
Like a litter of trained poodles commanded by their
master, congressmen scurried to the generals location.
"There you are, son", the general said with a grin.
Mission accomplished and the general had taught me an
important lesson about how politicians love the camera and how much the
photographer can control the event he is photographing.
I really liked Margaret Krebs and I'm forever grateful to
for her patience. She gave me my start in photography. Thanks Margaret,
wherever you are.
For Americans living on Okinawa, This Week on Okinawa was a thread that stitched the
civilian community together with reliable information for English
speaking residents of the Ryukyu Islands.
Gene Saltzgaver, Former Editor of the Okinawa
Morning Star worked at This Week on Okinawa for a time during a strike
at the Morning Star and remembered this: "While I worked there (This
Week on Okinawa), mysterious things happened on the publishing side. I
couldn't put my finger on it, but me and my assistant editor, Ann Hardey,
decided the place was haunted. Ann tried to get her German shepherd to
enter the place one weekend, and the dog wouldn't go in. She said she
had heard that dogs won't enter haunted buildings. So we put two and two
together and came up with the solution that it was Larry's ghost that
was doing tricky things there.
Anyway, one day I went into Maggie's office and
sat across from her (she was at the desk). She said, "Gene, I hurt here
(pointing to her lower belly). I think I've got something really
serious." A month or two later I returned to the Morning Star, and
several months later she underwent surgery at Camp Kue hospital. It was
cancer, and the cancer had spread too much for the doctor to do
anything. So he sewed her back up and she died shortly after.
I ran a big story on Page 1 of the Morning Star,
and (I'm sure, thanks to that article) the next day the church where the
funeral was held was overflowing with mourners. I came late and had to
stand at the back of the church. High Commissioner Lt. Gen. James and
Mrs. Lampert also came late and had to stand at the back of the main
aisle. People were even standing outside. She was that popular ...
A funny story from one of the many editors
Margaret Krebs went through. Clarkena Kent (her secret identity)
was 20 years old and she recalls the story this way:
"I was filling out the forms at This Week on
Okinawa to be a secretary but heard Mrs. Krebs yelling, "You're
fired!" and the tall thin blonde guy yelled back, "You can't fire
me because I quit!" He stormed out of the office. I
erased "secretary" from the job application and put in "editor." I
must admit I lied and said I was 22 and that I had a degree in
journalism -- I really had just finished my freshman year at the U of
Texas .... but I was a desperate kid --- I had had enough money to get
to Okinawa but not enough to get back so I needed work. It was
quite a year. I spent hours proofreading because for the
typesetters, on that Benjamin Franklin style press, the "p", "d", and a
"q" all looked the same."