I was there as a brat also at Kadena 59-62, I just sent an email to Panamax re: my extensive forays in the boonies exploring creeks, gullies, caves, revetments, etc. I was later stationed there as a buck sergeant in 69-71 but my exploring was confined mostly to the Koza strip outside gate 2 ;)
Well, pleased to meet you, fellow Oki.
My younger brother had the same experience as you did. He returned to Okinawa after joining the Marine Corps. I think he spent about two years there. He hated the place the second time around.
Me, I’ve got nothing but great childhood memories. Like you, I spent a lot of time exploring the caves, jungles, gorges, beaches, etc. It was a fantastic playground for a young boy.