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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dining-In - Taipei Air Station 1964

Dining-in is a formal military ceremony for members of a company or other unit, which includes a dinner, drinking, and other events to foster camaraderie and esprit de corps.

Drinking!!  OMG... 

Not much is said of such events these days, drinking of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited at official functions.   So much for historic ceremonies .........

I was not in Taipei when this event took place, but I was involved in a Dining-In at Hurlburt Field, Florida in late 1964.

It was a time when the guard was changing in the Air Force.  General Curtis Lemay was retiring in January 1965, and all units assigned to Hurlburt Field, Florida practiced day after day, parading in formation, everyone assigned to Hurlburt Field was marching.  It was like the base was closing down as we stood around and paraded back and forth for many days so as not to embarrass the powers at Hurlburt Field as General Lemay was to arrive on his last formal visit to the base as Air Force Chief of Staff.  General Lemay was instrumental in reopening Hurlburt Field as the home of the Air Force's unconventional aircraft unit, the First Air Commando Group as it was know in 1964.

As I remember that day, General Lemay lands at Hurlburt Field in his Command C-135, taxi's to the parking area, gets out of his aircraft, reviews all of the assembled officers and airmen in a jeep, then gets up on the platform somewhere near the Base Operations building,  gives a speech, all of us are standing out on the flight line sweating Mason jars of perspiration, hoping his speech is short, but Lemay goes on and on.  This base was his baby and he gives a long speech   You notice a few of the troops passing out from the heat.  Out of the corner of your eye, as we stood at parade rest, moving our weight back and forth from one leg to the other, you notice men slumping to the ground.  Damn, it was hot on that tarmac.  I know everyone was burning up and very thirsty, as the mid-day hot Florida sun shown down on a day the breezes were soft, barely moving.

Finally, the ceremonies and speeches were complete, their was a audible sigh of relief from the men around me; the formal ceremony goes on as the orders from the reviewing stand call out and are relayed down the chain, we are called to attention. then again to parade, whatever that command, is again relayed down the chain-of-command on the flight line.  We are called to attention, we do a right face, and begin our march down the tarmac following behind the unit to our right, taking a left turn, which is somewhat complicated because their are so many columns of men, but, it went off smoothly because we had practiced and practiced over and over on previous days. The band leads the way.

We take the second left turn, line up as we half step waiting on those in the backs of the columns to make their turn,  the band loudly playing some military march, (probably Lemay's favorite march) as we move off in full steps.  Shortly the command of eyes right is hollered out, as we march in front of the reviewing stand where we can see General Lemay watch us move past his location, in a tight, in-step formation. All of that practice paid off.  Later we heard that all of the units looked really sharp and Lemay was pleased.  Lemay was an old school soldier, having been around since the 1930s.

It was a day to remember.  The only parade I was every involved in outside of basic training. (Thank God!)

Some time around that time period, we also had a Dining-in.  It took place at the Dining Hall on Hurlburt Field and I was assigned some type of go-for duty, to run here and there doing whatever for someone that was in charge in the background of the Dining-in.

It was an interesting event, I stood most of the time in the area outside of the curtains watching the event unfold and enjoying everything about it.  I do remember that many of the speakers were able to bring a feeling of esprit de corps to the attendees, making for a time of toasts among the speakers and attendees throughout the audience, which before long, had most of the folks feeling really good.  I stood in the back, taking it all in.  As I remember, we ran out of Champagne or maybe some other type of alcoholic beverage, I was sent along with a number of other men to pickup some more booze.  It must have been after most of the officers at the head table departed.

Now, we move halfway around the world, to Club 13, the NCO Club at Taipei Air Station.

The 2165th Communications Squadron, headquartered at Taipei Air Station, holds a Dining-in.

If you notice in one or two of the photographs, you can see the napkins are embossed with the Air Force Communications Service, (AFCS) seal.   AFCS was at that time, the Air Force Command overseeing and directing all US Air Force communications worldwide.

I'm not sure of the date the ceremony took place, best estimate, fall of 1964.

Major General Kenneth O. Sanborn, Chief MAAG Taiwan, is the short man, center of photo, sipping  champagne,  he is the ranking officer at the head table.  This photo, probably one of the opening toasts. General Thomas N. Wilson, Commander, 327th Air Division, also sipping his glass, 2nd from right of this photo.  We had no further identification of the head table.

Here General Sanborn and the Senior in rank, Master Sergeant represented the Enlisted Personnel at the head table.

Remember, all of these men were assigned to the 2165th Communications Squadron, most of them at Taipei Air Station.  Some worked at other locations outside of the gate.

Only ID in this photo, 2d man on the right is Harvey Massa.

No identification on anyone here.

Just in front, looking at the photographer, Bill Dalton.  Other side of the table, first man you can see with the flat top hair cut is Chuck Adkins, man with his head to the wall Dick Skoy.

Taking a drink on middle left is Eddie Booth, third from left looking straight ahead is King, next person with head turned is Keith Strong. The man looking into the camera just above the flowers with flattop haircut is Walt Asher.

First man on left is Dick Skoy.  Down the table, talking with his hands, Chuck Adkins, next to Chuck Adkins wearing clear lens glasses is Richard Brian.

Overview of the gathering.  Head table just to the front. 

Fourth man, looking back down the table with the flattop is Billy Scales.


All smiles here --  first man on the left, eating with his left hand is Eddie Booth, first man on the right looking into the camera is Karl Thunberg.

Last man on right, with mustache, George (Sonny) Perreria from Shihmen.

 The Staff Sergeant receives a big kiss and a door prize.  Who is the lady?

First Sergeant Sharpe is waiting patiently,  it's time to draw another number from the mug for another prize.

Top right is First Sergeant Sharpe and his men. Top left with glasses is Atkinson.

Thanks for visiting our Dining-in at Taipei Air Station.

Did you see yourself in one of these photos?  

Please leave a comment below with any information you can provide.

How many of these folks are still around today?

Photographs are courtesy of  Chuck Adkins.

General Lemay also visited Taiwan in early December 1963.

One thing for sure, when the smoking lamp was lit at an Air Force Dining-in where Lemay was present, cigar smoke was heavy.

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