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The Big Pile Up

Photography by Spec. 4 David R. Crews

The way this wild-fun-mayhem got started was, after the official ceremony and Thank You Dance were all over, I began taking a few candid photos out in the school yard which the kids all wanted to be in. They were being very happily competitive amongst themselves about this, the girls got squeezed out right away, so I came up with a quick idea to make it a whole lotta’ fun for the boys who lasted through the first round of competition.

I had the guys in the front line of the group stand there with their arms outstretched and holding the rest of the boys back; then I stepped back about twenty feet, stopping to draw a line in the dirt at ten feet; and then at twenty feet away from the group I focused my lens on that ten foot mark; then, as I watched through my camera, I raised my arm and dropped it suddenly to signal them all to dive in at the ten foot mark, where I photographed them at here in this shot. I did that three or four times till they almost got too wild.

I seriously doubt that any of them ever completely forgot this day, because in their society children are taught to be quiet and polite most of the time when they're around grownups. I was very aware of this while doing the photo assignment and was careful not to let the kids get too wild for too long. In fact, right after this shot was taken I began to slowly, carefully (cause they had almost surrounded me by then) retreat backwards towards the Army car that I had ridden there in with the crew of GIs who had taken the baseball backstops off the trucks and set them up. Those GIs were already sitting in the car, over there about seventy-five feet from me and my mayhem; they were having a great time watching all this fun and had noticed when I started backing up towards them. I was nearly tripping over krazy-kids while damn near falling down laughing, and those GIs were all grinning and smiling and laughing and loving life at that moment too.

I turned around towards them and yelled, "Hey man! I gotta get outa here!"

The driver hollered back, "Yeah, we can see that, hold on, we're comin'!"

Then he slowly inched the car towards me.

The other guys in the car were all bouncing around inside there and laughing and poking each other with elbows (while remembering bits and pieces of what it had been like some years before that day when they were just school boys too). As the car eased on towards me, while avoiding touching any of the krazy-but sweet and wonderful-kids, the guys were laughing uproariously and hollering stuff like, "Hold on Crews, we're coming, hold on there man, we'll getcha'. Don’t let ‘um knock ya down there buddy, stay on yer’ feet! We’ll getcha’ outa’ there." Them GI buddies of mine were bouncing around in the car and hootin’ and hollerin’ like a buncha’ krazy-kids themselves.

I was getting all tangled up in, and nearly pulled down on the ground by, hilariously laughing little Okinawan school kids when one of my buddies opened the back left side car door and jumped out and sorta' rescued my (nearly falling down from laughing) GI butt from the escalating mayhem.

Everyone who was there that afternoon in that dusty school yard on the subtropical Island of Okinawa had a great, memorable time.

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