Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Duane Peck's Makung Island Duty - Early 1970s

Duane Peck recently checked-in describing his assignment at the Makung Island Radar Site.

     I was assigned to the 327th Air Division in Taipei but my operating location was Makung Island.  Makung was in the straits approximately 60 miles west of Tainan. 

     Was taken to the Hotel Roma for my first night’s stay and would then in-process the next morning.  Hadn't been in the room but about 20 minutes when there was that famous knock on the door asking if "I wanted a good time".  Of course price came up and having just arrived I didn't have much cash.  Wow, this isn't Iowa is it?

     Was sent to Tainan and then a Chinese C-119 was to take me to the island.  Imagine my shock when the engine didn't start and the entire flight crew got out and worked on the engine.  Hmmm don't know if this was such a good idea, though I did make it to the island eventually.

     I was assigned as an intercept technician.  There were four of us and four officers.  The Army provided communications and there were a couple other Americans.  I think the total was approximately 10-13 Americans.  

     We were housed in a local hostel at the base of our two radar domes.  It was staffed by the Chinese who made an attempt at cooking our way.  We never failed to give the food inspectors from Tainan a heart attack when they came out and found rat turds in our rice bin and the kitchen areas.

     Some of the guys lived down town with girls from the big island.  No local girls would associate romantically/business wise with an American.  We had struck up a deal with the China Airlines office to teach some of their employees English and it was a great deal of fun.  

     One night before class I knocked on the door to the office and was met by the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  In perfect English she addressed me.  What a treat!  After the class I asked her next door for tea.  We went next door and had the most fun conversation I had in a long time.  Her father was the station manger for the Airline and the next day I was called to the office and her father politely explained I was never to do that again.  My heart sank and apparently it showed.  He explained the big island was more liberal and to come to the big island and see his daughter on my breaks.  I did just that and we had a normal dating relationship but her friends felt it was a bad thing so we ended that experience.

     We worked a 6 on - 6 off rotation and of the 6 on days, we usually had 4-5 hour shifts.  A great amount of time was spent body surfing, swimming, running and playing the nightly volleyball game after supper.  

     On my days off I went to Tainan and spent a great amount of time in the Control Tower.  I wanted to cross train into ATC and it was the guys there who helped me make it possible.  I also enjoyed radios and became a volunteer MARS operator at the Tainan MARS station.  Many times I spent the night sleeping on the station couch.

     During my time at Makung, there were two major aircraft accidents.

     A China Airline Caravelle exploded in midair near the island and all that was found was some Coke cans and body parts. 

     During my last week on Makung,  a CCK C-130 crashed off the end of the local runway killing all on board. 

     It was a sad way to leave what had been a great year.

Date of Accident:  21 November 1971
Airline:  China Airlines   
Aircraft:  Sud Aviation SE210 Caravelle   
Location:  Penghu, Taiwan
Fatalities:  25
MSN:  122
Accident Description: The aircraft crashed into the sea after the in-flight detonation of a bomb. 

Date of Accident:   June 5, 1972 

C-130E 62-1805, c/n 3759, of the 37th Tactical Airlift Squadron, loaned to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing – crashed in sea near Makung, Pescadores Islands, after suffering landing gear explosion while in traffic pattern. Pilot retracted landing gear while brake assembly was overheated. Denied sufficient cooling air after retraction into well, the port aft wheel assembly exploded damaging wheel well bulkhead, rupturing several hydraulic lines, the fluid from which was then ignited by the hot components resulting in loss of control of the aircraft.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

August 14 1945 - VJ Day in Hawaii

Off subject some what today, this film was too good to not share with you.

One of events of the past, which brought us to Taiwan, was Japan's surrender ending WW II.

A friend sent me this link to a beautiful color film, taken in Hawaii on VJ Day, August 14, 1945.

Overwhelmed with joy and relief from worry, these folks were ready to let it all hang out.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012 - Observed in Taiwan

What began last year with a ceremony at the old Taipei Prison wall,  we again carried on this Memorial Day.

As dawn broke early this morning we had light rain showers, overcast skies and low hanging clouds over Taipei. If you were ever assigned to Taipei, you'll remember, typical May weather.

The ceremony was held again this year, along side the old north wall of the Taipei (Taihoku) Prison..  

Here is the location of the old wall.  Click on this photo, it will open in a larger version.  Just about the center of the photo is a red balloon with a B inside of it right above the words, North Wall of Taihoku Prison.

That's were we gathered this morning for the ceremony.

I know some of you would like to see where this old prison wall is located.  Some of you were here when the prison was still in operation.

Folks begin to arrive and we started the ceremony around 11:15 AM.

 Our Master of Ceremonies today, Jerome Keating.  
Standing beside Jerome, a journalist from Radio Taiwan International,recording his remarks.

Here signage that can be seen just to the left of the US Flag in the above photo, just behind Mr. Keating.

The words above explain why we have gathered at this site.  It holds special significance in Taiwan.

This is not the only place United States military were held, killed and died in Taiwan.

Read more about the many United States and Allied Military folks who were held by the Japanese military as prisoners and many who perished in Taiwan, HERE.

 A short video, with a portion of today's Memorial Day Ceremony at the old Taipei Prison Wall.

 Some of the folks who turned-out this morning for the Memorial Day Ceremony in Taipei.

Special Thank You to Mr. Jerome Keating (with notes in his hand) for his efforts in bringing this ceremony together. 

And, to those that took time out today to attend the ceremony.

We will continue to hold a ceremony each year, please join us next year...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend and The ACC Club in Taipei

Want to remind those folks in Taipei who are able to break free for an hour or so next Monday, 28 May, to come by the old Taipei Prison Wall, as we honor our fallen at a Memorial Day Ceremony.

HERE is an article with all the information on the ceremony.  Come out and honor our fallen.

We know some folks return to Taiwan on vacation to visit the old places and see how the country has grown from those days long ago when you walked the streets in Taiwan.

Many who visit want to experience the culinary vistas of eating local food again.  Those dinners are wonderful and add to the excitement of your visit.  But, local food does not always satisfy your tummy and you crave getting more than a McDonald's Quarter Pounder into your mouth.

May I suggest you visit the old Club 63 building, now the American Club in China (ACC). 

The facilities are FIRST Class.  Their food is wonderful, and yes, they serve a varied menu of food, you'll find what you want.  You can have breakfast all day long if that's what you crave.

Here's the catch, not everyone can enjoy the club.  The ACC is a Private Club and they are very strict on who enters.  

1.  You can apply for a Guest Membership.  The cost runs about NT $14,800 per month.  They also offer a one week Guest Membership for about NT $4,100.  The kicker is that you must secure the signature of a ACC Member or Associate Member.  Just about eliminates most of us huh?

2.  If you are a member of a private club in the US or another overseas location, you need to find out if your club has a reciprocal agreement with the Taipei ACC.  Many Private Clubs have agreements with other clubs around the world.  If you are traveling, you should consider this option.

I was aware of the ACC's rules and decided to join a private club in the US before I flew to Taiwan this year.  

In addition to being able to visit the ACC, for a two week period, I can also take advantage of visits to other clubs throughout the world, which hold reciprocal agreements with my club.  Quite a nice added benefit.

This past Wednesday, after presenting all the paperwork to the membership office at ACC, I was granted entrance to the club's facilities.

We had lunch in the Terrace restaurant.  They have a small but hearty soup and salad bar with a few hot dishes, many cold salads, fresh fruit and desserts.

The soup and salad bar above, the food display area extends more to the left. 

Yesterday, we returned to the ACC for lunch.  After looking over the soup and salad bar I decided to order off the menu.  It was Friday, the dishes on the salad bar were mostly laced with some type of sea food, which is not my favorite.

I took a chance on the Beef Enchiladas, one of the "Weekly Specials."

They were very large and had nice chunks of very tender beef.  You can get an idea of their size by using the Tabasco sauce bottle as a gauge.

I ate and ate, they were heavy and had a wonderful flavor.  Great meal.

HERE is a link to a PDF presentation of the ACC Club in Taipei.

Hope you can make the Memorial Day observance next Monday, see you there.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

MAAG Closes the Doors at Taipei's Club 63 NCO Open Mess - UPDATED..

Turn out the lights, the party's over....

With the first news of Club 63's closing, most had a thought of disbelieve, how could they shut down the best NCO club in Taiwan?  Oh my goodness, was it really happening?

After the news, the guessing game started. Was the club loosing money?  Just a year earlier, the Army and Air Force removed slot machines from all military clubs, including Club 63. Could it be cash flow?   Why, what happened?

I have no idea why it happened, although my best guess, MAAG Taiwan personnel strength levels were slowly being reduced.  Operating such a large club for a smaller population had some bearing on keeping the doors open.  Possibly MAAG funding was no longer available for club operations.

My friend Scott, while dining at a Chinese Restaurant in Kileen, Texas, spoke with the owner, Mr. Jackson Huang.. To  his surprise, Mr. Huang pulled out a copy of the June 1973 edition of Club 63's monthly publication MAAG-NET.  As Scott and Mr. Huang were talking, Mr. Huang pulled out more papers, including a memorandum (It is at the end of this posting) signed by Senior Master Sergeant Wilbur Hardin, the Secretary-Custodian of Club 63. Mr. Huang worked at Club 63 for many years starting in 1966.

Through the graciousness of Mr. Huang, the owner of a Chinese Restaurant in Kileen, Texas, Scott was able to take his only copy of the June 1973 MAAG-NET magazine.  Scott will be sending the original copy back to Kileen.  It's a strange set of circumstances, Scott hit the LOTTO on the prairie of central Texas, finding both an old employee of Club 63, and a copy of the last MAAG-NET published. Fate, luck, circumstance...

The original copy of the magazine back-in-the-day would have been sharp, unfortunately, this old copy has faded and some of the pages have lost their clearness.

Click or double click on each page you want to read,  when the page opens, you can also left click on  your mouse and the page will again increase in size, making it easier to read.

This cover page pretty much explains what is about to happen at Club 63.

This page pretty much explains how things will proceed as the club closes it's doors.

Just above, we wrote of Jackson Huang, who owns a restaurant in Kileen outside of Fort Hood, where my friend Scott received this edition of MAAG-NET. 

Here, Mr. Huang's photo under the headline, Another Outstanding Employee.

Bingo at the club, always has a steady following.

Here, on the calendar, the closing date is annotated,  June 28th.

We all spent some great days at the club.

The original Club 63

Anyone out there remember this building and what it looked like inside?
It would be great if someone could write about the old club.

This photo gives a bit more clearer detail on the building.

Not sure if this was the "New Club 63" in 1957 or the club as it looked at closing in 1973.

Cleaner copy of the new Club 63

As Club 63 faded into the past on 28 June 1973, the Navy re-opened the facility a few days later.

Under new management, with a new name, we moved on, with many folks happy to see the slot machines returning.

Those who arrived after June 1973, never experienced the "old Club 63."

BUT, we can never forget.. The nostalgia of "Club 63" lives on in our hearts.

Those were the days my friend.....

As Mr. Huang left Club 63 for mandatory military service in 1968, he received this Letter of Recommendation from the Secretary-Custodian.

Many thanks to Mr. Huang for sharing and to Scott for sending the booklet for posting. 

UPDATE:  21 May 2012 

Don over at USTDC Blog uploaded a copy of the complete June MAAG-NET magazine in PDF Format.

You can download a copy from HERE

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Matador Missiles Stand Ready at Tainan Air Base in 1958

Guild Fetridge served his Taiwan tour at Tainan Air Base, assigned to the 868 Tactical Missile Squadron.
Guild's photographs were taken 54 years ago....

Buildings in the US area of Tainan Air Base when Guild arrived in January 1958. 

As you can see, these old huts were constructed of the highest quality Bamboo.....

Another view of the old buildings in the early days at Tainan Air Base.

     "We bunked in the huts when we I first arrived at Tainan AB.  After a few months the Air Force deemed these huts and our living conditions were less than appropriate and all personnel were permitted to move off base, residing in either hostels or finding living quarters with Taiwanese families.  I met and lived with a wealthy family on Cheng Kang Lu for two years. I have many photos of those days."

Here, some of the new construction in the US portion of Tainan AB which was completed in 1958.

More photos of this construction on Tainan Air Base can be found HERE.

.  Looks like the new US Base Headquarters down the street with flags flying.

Read more about the History of the US Air Force in Taiwan in 1958.

2 September 1958.   6214th Air Base Group at Tainan AS moved into their new headquarters building.  The 868th Tactical Missile Squadron moved into a new building at the same time.

Matador TM-61C missiles in storage on the revetments adjacent to the Tainan Air Base flight line.

A Matador TM-61C Missile on display during a holiday air show on the Tainan AB flight line.

Pre-launch activities going on with a large group  of Taiwanese military officers looking on.

 Missile personnel conduct pre-launch check-lists.

Actual  launching of a TM-61C Martin Matador Surface-to-Surface Nuclear Guided Missile at Tainan Air Base in 1959.

A F-100 Super Sabre would fly over the area 20 seconds after launch acting as a chase aircraft.

Guild sitting in a pedicab outside of Tainan Air Base in 1959.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Eyes & Ears" Column from "China News" November 26, 1952

Another look into life in the early 1950s - Taipei..

My friend Alice Winans sent a number of old Newspaper sheets from those bygone days.

These sheets were the daily newspaper in the early 1950s. 

The "China Post" newspaper was founded sometime in 1952.

Interesting read...

 Alice wrote in blue ink, Shelley was her friend, who worked for General Electric Company, which I believe was housed in the same Chung Shan North Road building as Taiwan Trading Corporation, where Alice was employed.

Thanksgiving Day Big Turkey Luncheon, Dinner and Dance, at the Friends of China Club (FOC)  

 Photo courtesy Bruce Rayle

FOC was "The Club" in Taipei during the early 50s..

I've not seen any comments on the food served at the FOC. 

Can some of you old timers who've visited the FOC leave your thoughts below....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beautiful Aerial Views of Taipei

A short fly-over video of Taipei.

Most of you have not returned to see how the city has changed.  

I know you'll will be impressed..

Taiwan - Formosa - Beautiful Island, Wonderful Country, Extraordinary People!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Memorial Day in Taipei - 2012

Michael Hurst of the Taiwan POW Society, sent the following announcement concerning this year's US Memorial Day Observance:

     Once again this year, a US Memorial Day remembrance event will be held in Taipei at the wall of the old Taipei Prison. The event will take place on Monday, May 28 at 11:00 am.

     We will be remembering the American prisoners of war who were interned in a number of the former POW camps on Taiwan during World War II, and especially the airmen who were held in the Taihoku Prison and those who were needlessly murdered there on June 19, 1945. 

     We will also remember those who are currently serving to bring peace to troubled regions of the world today.

     We invite any/all Americans – and anyone else who is interested, to attend this ceremony to remember those who fought and died for the freedom that we enjoy today, and those who are still fighting to that end now. 

     Following the ceremony at the wall, those who wish may join together for lunch at a nearby restaurant – location to be announced.

     The old wall of the former Taipei Prison is located at Lane 44, Chinshan South Road Sec. 2, Taipei. about a block south of Hsinyi Road on the west side of the street. The lane is right next to the Chunghwa Telecom Building.

     Those wishing to attend the lunch need to register as we need to know how many are coming for lunch in order to choose a suitable restaurant.
     Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you there.  

If you plan to attend the ceremony and would like to join us for lunch, please email me at  

I will forward your mail to the folks counting heads for the restaurant reservations.