He was a fresh-faced Marine who had just landed in Okinawa, so Willis “Bill” Hanson decided to check out a book that would offer insight into the local culture.
It was 1964, and America was increasing its military presence in Vietnam.
Hanson, who trained as a machine gunner, spent 13 months in Vietnam before returning to the States. When he got home, he realized he had packed the book from Okinawa, “The Kimono Mind.”
It would stay with him for more than 50 years, according to the Marine Corps. Talk about an overdue library book…
Hanson, who now lives in Colorado Springs, finally got a chance to return the book recently. He was asked to be the guest speaker for the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion ball in Okinawa. His son, Lt. Col. Richard Hansen, is now the commanding officer of the same unit he served with in Vietnam.
Bill Hanson brought the overdue book with him and came clean to the Camp Hansen librarian. With the librarian’s permission, he presented the book as a gift to the commanding general of the 3rd Marine Division.
And, no, he didn’t have to pay a fine.
Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger
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