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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Taipei in 1956 - Things Were Different in the Mid 1950s - UPDATED

In a previous story, we saw a few of Charles Hoppe's photos of the Double 10 Parade in 1956, as it passed on Chongqing South Road before reaching the reviewing stand outside the Ministry of National Defense Building (now the Presidential Palace.)

Today, more photographs from the 1956 - 1957 time period.

Charles (Charlie) was an Air Intelligence Officer assigned to the Taiwan Defense Command (USTDC) his office was located in the HSA Compound.

     "Four of us from USTDC shared a Japanese Style house in an area of many similar houses."

     "Our address was House 7, Lane 18, Chung Shan North Road." 

Charlie was not sure of the Section number.  He said it was a few blocks south of the HSA East Compound.  I looked on Google Earth and the best I can come up with, is a side street close to the Florida Bakery called Lane 18 Chuang Cheng Street. Some street names were changed a few years ago.

Charlie returned to Taipei on a visit a few years ago, located the old Lane, but his old home was gone, replaced with a high rise building.

Charlie's 1947, 2 Door Chevrolet, parked outside the house.  Charlie shipped the car from CONUS.  When he departed Taipei, he sold the Chevy to another military man. 

The cement container on the right side of this photo: -  can someone let us know what was deposited in these type of bins. Would it be spent charcoal?

The older man and woman are the folks who took care of us.  

The cook, (we called him Mao Tse Tung) and his wife Jody, washed the clothes and kept house for us.
The young man is their son, holding the dog Petey, which belonged to Mao and his wife. 

When we hosted a party at the house, we would have the son come in to help serve drinks, and help out. 

A full clothes line hanging to dry.
Mao and his dog Petey in the back yard of Charlie's home.

Looks like a party tonight.

The Ice Boy has arrived outside with the ice order. Mao in a clean apron, preparing for tonight's activities. I assume the ice is carried inside by the delivery boy.

During these years, there were thousands of bicycles filling streets throughout the island.

The Ice Boy rides an old Japanese style bicycle, he hauls a piece attached to the rear passenger seat, wire tie downs and rope available for any contingency.

These Japanese style homes had sliding doors in every room.  Fresh air was not a problem.

The biggest problem was heat, I see a large fan and just behind, is that a desk?

The Japanese presence can been seen in this photo.  

Looks like a comfortable couch to nap on, and that chair, a great place to settle in and read.

An Office Dinner at the Green Duck Restaurant on the shore of the Tamsui River.

These are some of the Intelligence folks who worked at or worked with USTDC, circa 1966. 

The small glasses probably contain Plum wine. 

We can see three dishes, I'll let someone else guess what they may be.

Also, a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes sits ready for after dinner smoking.

The table has been cleaned, lots of spills show on the table cloth, it's time for the main course - Roast Peking Duck.

Roasting duck is an art.  Only the old chefs know the secrets.

A chef or chef helper usually comes out from the kitchen, takes each duck to his carving board and puts on a show for everyone at the table as he carves the duck.  I had dinner at a large Beijing restaurant which has a reputation for serving good food.  We ordered a number of dishes.  The duck was the last entrée and it was the best.  

Each person has a small platter beside his plate which contains a number of condiments and warm, paper thin wraps.  As the duck is served, you take a wrap, lay it in the palm of your hand, place two or three pieces of sliced duck on the wrap, then pick from your condiments placing them on the top of the sliced duck, wrap-up you little sandwich, bite off a piece, savor the wonderful flavors as they burst forth in your mouth.  Very very good!

You have to eat fast or you will miss out, the duck will disappear quickly.

In this photo, I don't see individual condiment plates, I see soy sauce, and some type of sauce in small plates on each side of the table.

If you're planning to visit Beijing, write and I'll send you a couple of good restaurants.  In addition to wonderful Beijing Roast Duck, another one serves the BEST Kung Pao chicken you'll ever eat!

You know how these office parties sometimes turn out.

Good friends, talking story, good food, a few drinks of Plum Wine and assorted adult beverages, why,  before you know it, you're having the time of your life.

Be careful, you might wind up down at the "ABC Club" circa 1956.

Does anyone remember this Taipei club, where was it located?

Not so far from the Green Duck Restaurant, you found these house boats.

Life was not easy for many folks in Taiwan in the 1950s.

Here, close to the house boat docks was a community water and washing area.

In this photo, Mom is bathing a young girl and washing clothes.  Another woman is also washing clothing and one woman appears to have just finished her wash.

A young boy is filling his hot water kettle from the water line faucet.

Life was not easy here on the river.

Dawn breaks in Taipei. This was the way it was in the early days.

When you arrived at Sung Shan, you checked in here.

The building also served as Flight Operations.

Beautiful day at Sung Shan in Taipei

USTDC Navy Beechcraft. These pilots seem happy.

There was also a C-47 assigned. (1960 photo here)

These aircraft was used for Official Business flights and were also available for logging flight time for those pilots on flight status who had to fly a certain number of hours each month to maintain their flying status and flight pay.

Charlie happened to be on a street corner when a funeral procession came by.

I am not sure of the correct order of this and the following photos.

Not sure what the wreath signage says.

This may be some type of religious piece being carried in the funeral procession.

The band playing appropriate funeral procession music.

The departed.

Something we didn't see in these furneral photos, fireworks.

Usually there are many fireworks going off as the procession moves down the streets. 

While one man is being laid to rest, another is hard at work to provide for his family.

The farthest paddy does not contain rice.  It's probably some type of vegetable.

As far as you can see - Rice.


You can't see through the haze, but that might be Taipei in the distance.

The rice harvest is brought into the farmers home and laid out along the road.

Vehicles come along, run over the rice, breading the kernels out of the husks and breaking the stalks.

Later, the broken rice stalks are swept up and placed in a bamboo sifter.  The worker throws the contents into the air, the shaft blows away or is caught in the basket and the rice falls through onto the ground where it is later swept up.

The sifted rice is then laid out on the ground in front of the farm house to dry.

Do you remember cracking a tooth on a piece of rock while eating rice.

Here's the reason, the small pebbles sometimes get through the process and end up in a bag of rice.

Even today, I have, on occasion, found a small hard pebble in my rice.

I suspect the processing of rice today uses more sophisticated equipment to clean the rice before packaging.

As Charlie left Taipei in September 1957, this may have been his last photograph.

This is the clearest old,  aeriel photo I have ever seen of Taipei.

I wanted to point out a couple of street names. 

Looking down from the top of the photo...

I'm guessing the first light brown, cross street, running left to right is Minquan East Road.

And, the first cross street coming up from the bottom of the photograph is Nanking East Road.

Please leave your ideas and correction as a Comment below.

Thank you so much to Charlie Hoppe for taking time to find his old 35mm slides and mailing them to us.

This blog post was a lesson in history, we see some old places that no longer exist, but during the day, they were alive and this was life as it was in Taipei.

Tsi Gen....

UPDATE - 3 May 2012

Isn't it ironic, the Lane where Charlie lived cannot be found today, but, a Business Card from one the Clubs on Chung Shan North Road is found.

If you watch a video I posted on my walk along Chung Shan North Road southward toward Minquan Road, the camera sweeps past 160 Chung Shan North Road as I walk down the sidewalk past the address. It's about 3:40 into the film when I past the address.

A "Wedding" shop occupies the address today.

Tsi Gen....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Look Ma - We're in Taiwan Enjoying a Refreshing Coca Cola

Jim Caumo worked in the 2165th Communications Squadron, Relay and Switch, at Taipei Air Station, 1963-1965.

Jim sent in this photo with the following note:

     "A bunch of us fresh-out-of-tech-school arrivals at the 2165th Comm Squadron were sitting around a table at Club 13 drinking Cokes and other adult beverages. The club’s roving photographer came upon us, and we invited him to take a group photo that we could all send home to our families and friends. 

     Of course, the photo had to be cleansed for family consumption. So, all the mixed drinks and beers came off the table and re-positioned strategically at our feet, and a round of Cokes for all was ordered for display on the table. (Some of the guys actually finished the Cokes later!) 

     What a liberating transformation the past few months was for all of us and we spent a good bit of time just celebrating it."  (Editor - graduating and being out of Tech School)

Lower left corner moving clockwise: Karl Neal, Bill Stephenson, Danny Schultz, Mike Zimmerman, Bruce Galloway, Jim Caumo, (Currently Unidentified,) Billy Scales, Richard Brian.

Mom may have bought off on all those Cokes, but Dad knew better... 

In the 1960s, only the American Embassy Shop sold Coca Cola in bottles.  If you went to the Navy Exchange you could only get those steel cans of Coke that were shipped in from the CONUS.

Click on the photo and it will open in a large view.

Look closely, they've got a Coke and glass of ice just for you.  

(It's on top of the napkin holder)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Double 10 Parade - Taipei 1956

Charlie Hoope, a young Naval Air Intelligence officer on his first overseas assignment, was assigned to USTDC in Taipei.

A few months back, I ran across a newspaper article written about Charlie's return visit to Taipei, including a few photos.  The story was published in a weekly newspaper, I believe out of Tienmu. The photos in the newspaper were not of the highest quality.

I found Charlie's address and wrote asking if he had any additional photographs he might share.  We corresponded back and forth.   Last week, Charlie sent me a box containing a number of 35mm slides taken during his assignment in Taiwan, 1956-1957.

The Double 10 Celebration Military Parade moving toward the Ministry of National Defense building (MND) on Wednesday, 10 October 1956.

 Marching troops.  One might assume, blue uniforms = Air Force?

An old WW II Jeep carrying Unit Commander, following behind, Personnel Carriers.
How about the folks on the roof of the Union Building.

Looks like some US Military men sitting on the curb on the left of the photo.

Can someone ID this track vehicle please.

This is the first color photo of the MAAG Offices.  The second building, on the right, the door sign reads MAAG

The Chief, MAAG Taiwan had an office in the Ministry of National Defense (MND) building just to the rear of the photographer.

A few years later, the building's name was changed to the Presidential Palace, as it remains today. 

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek standing on the Reviewing Platform in front of the Ministry of National Defense Building, October 10, 1956.  

Beautiful photos courtesy of Charlie Hoope.

More on Charlie's Taipei days ahead. 

Please leave your comments below.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

US Marine Security Guard Detachment - Taipei

In 1948, the Department of State (DOS) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) signed a Memorandum of Agreement whereby the Marine Corps would supply active duty Marine Corps personnel to protect classified materials, American lives and property in U.S. Diplomatic Missions worldwide.  These USMC personnel, to be designated as Marine Security Guards, would report directly to a DOS Foreign Service Officer at each mission.  

The last "Ambassador" to "China"  (on the west side of the Taiwan Strait,) was appointed on July 4, 1946, John Leighton Stuart, who was born in China in 1876.  As the US Ambassador, he worked in concert with General George C. Marshall to mediate between the Nationalists and Communists. After Marshall's departure from China in January 1947, he led the mediation efforts that changed from all-out support of the Nationalist government to mediating the coalition government, to negotiating an understanding with the Communist party.   When the Nationalist government fled Nanjing, and Communist forces entered the city in April 1949, Stuart maintained the U.S. Embassy in Nanjing. He sought accommodation with the Communist Party in an effort to maintain U.S. presence and influence in China. On August 2, 1949, he was recalled from Nanjing, and some 3 years later on November 28, 1952 formally resigned as Ambassador to China. The U.S. mission in Nanjing had not followed Chiang’s government to Taipei but had remained at Hong Kong.

On July 28. 1950, the Department of State announced the assignment to Taipei of a diplomatic representative with the rank of charge d’affaires.  Ambassador Stuart maintained the title of Ambassador to China at this time.

In diplomacy, chargé d’affaires (French for “charged with (in charge of) matters”), often shortened to simply chargé, is the title of two classes of diplomatic agents who head a diplomatic mission, either on a temporary basis or when no more senior diplomat has been accredited.

Karl L. Rankin was appointed as chargé d’affaires in the office of the US Ambassador to China in August 1950 and oversaw the US Consulate in Taipei.  Where Mr. Rankin maintained his residence between August 1950 and the opening of the US Embassy in Taipei, in April of 1953 cannot be confirmed.  I have looked but cannot find the answer, some suggest he resided at the US Mission in Hong Kong.

The Consulate in Taipei was upgraded to a full US Embassy in 1953, and therefore the Ambassador to China maintained residence at Taipei, Taiwan, in the Republic of China.

Karl L. Rankin was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to China, arrived in Taipei and the US Embassy was opened in April 1953.  There were Marine Security Guards assigned to protect the Embassy staff, property and material.

To the best of my knowledge, these were the first Marine Security Guards assigned to the United States Embassy in Taipei.  No records I can locate show the guards being at the Taipei Consulate between 1950 and 1953, although I suspect there were guards at the Consulate, because it was a US Diplomatic Mission.     

Where the Taipei Consulate was located in the early 1950s remains a mystery.  Some write that it was the same building on Chung Shan North Road that later became the Ambassador's official residence.

When did the large US Embassy Compound, as seen in photographs below, actually open?  Who owned the property before it became the Embassy.  There is some discussion of property for the Embassy discussed in George H. Kerr's book, "Formosa Betrayed, " but it's not clear to me when, what property, who owned it, and how it came into or was always in, the hands of the US Government.  One mystery after another.

 All of the following rare photographs are courtesy of the Marine Embassy Guard Association.unless otherwise annotated.  We appreciate their support.

1953 - The 178th Marine Corps Birthday Ball celebration, 10 November 1953.
           Taipei Marine Security Guard Detachment personnel.
Left to Right:  Corporal Ray Whitlock, Corporal Gerald Genovese, NCOIC Technical Sergeant Henry Brown, Naval Attache Lieutenant Colonel Tegau, Corporal Robert McDonald and Corporal Lawrence Derrah.

Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat attend the 178th Marine Corps Birthday Ball Celebration in Taipei, November 1953.

Celebrating the Marine Corps Birthday with a toast.

Guard Post # 1.  The Front entrance, US Embassy, Taipei.  Photo circa 1953. 
 US Embassy Compound Taipei.  photo courtesy Gary Wilson circa 1965.

Guard Post #2 - The Union Building.  Photo circa 1953.

The Union Building was also referred to by the Taipei Embassy Marine Guards as the MSA Building. I have no explanation of what MSA stood for. UPDATE - 2 July 2012:  MSA stood for Mutual Security Agency.  You can look it up on the Internet.  The agency was only in existence for a couple of years in the early 1950s.  Question answered courtesy of Steve Craft.

A friend suggested there were various US Government offices located in the Union Building.  US Embassy Offices, CIA, and other US Government entities, such as US Aid to Taiwan, and other similar organizations. 

Another view of the Union Building, center building in this photo with 2 flags on roof.         

Next door, on right, building with maroon colored roof, was the MAAG Taiwan Headquarters.        
Photo courtesy Alice Winans.  Circa 1952.

A new "Annex" building opened at the US Embassy Taipei in 1955.
If you look at the Embassy Building, third photo above, it appears this new building is just to the left of the original structure. 

Many of us visited the US Embassy, these very buildings, but I cannot remember much about them.  I seem to recall a small restaurant either in the basement or possibly close to the entrance where visitors entered the building.

 1954 - Corporal Hung Lei Quan going on Duty.
This photo looks like it was taken from outside the New Annex building in photo just above, notice curved curbs and roadway.

The Sacking of the American Embassy
The following paragraphs were extracted from Chapter 19 
of the 1965 book, written by George H. Kerr.

      The sacking of the American Embassy on May 24, 1957.  The unofficial story has been retold by Captain William Lederer (USN, ret.) in A Nation of Sheep and by Formosans publishing at Tokyo. 

      On the night of March 20 an American Army sergeant shot and killed a prowler discovered in his garden at Taipei. 

      An American military court tried the case, acquitted the sergeant on May 23, and flew him out of the island. 

      The victim was described as a minor employee in a Chinese government agency and a reserve officer.

      In time-honored Chinese custom his widow demanded "consolation money" which was not promptly forthcoming. 

      On the day following the acquittal (May 24) she took up a position in front of the American Embassy gates to scream hysterically that she had been denied justice. This, too, is a time-honored Chinese custom. 

      According to the official story her noisy clamor attracted a crowd, the mob spirit took over, a stone was thrown, and soon the crowd poured into the Embassy compound. The American flag was torn down, cars were overturned and the offices were sacked. Some local employees and American officers were injured before they could retreat from the premises. The rioting began about one-thirty in the afternoon and continued with brief lulls until well after nightfall. Files were broken open, cipher books and coding equipment were tossed about, and confidential and secret papers were strewn through the building.

      After many hours of uninterrupted rioting Chiang Ching- kuo's security forces took over the gutted Embassy. 

      Ambassador Rankin returned from Hong Kong during the height of the riot. He visited the site during a lull in the affair but was asked by the Chinese to leave the premises; for they anticipated further violence. 

      When he returned soon after daylight next morning, accompanied by Embassy officers, he was gratified to find the Chinese had been so helpfully attempting to restore order to chaos and to sweep up some of the debris within the building. Approximately fourteen hours had elapsed. 

      The ladies of the American community promptly volunteered to assist in sorting scattered file materials. Some 90 per cent were recovered. No classified materials "of consequence" were missing and enough of the cryptographic material was recovered to satisfy the Ambassador that the codes were intact. 

      Prompt official protests brought equally prompt apologies and indemnities.

      The unofficial accounts add disturbing detail to this story and raise troublesome questions. According to Captain Lederer certain Chinese and Formosans and some foreigners had been warned of possible trouble days in advance.

      It is maintained that the dead "minor official" was a Major in one of Chiang Ching-kuo's secret organizations and that other members of Chiang's organizations were identified as ringleaders whose faces appeared in news photos made during the riot. 

      The screaming widow is alleged to have been provided with a prepared text which she obligingly read into a recording apparatus conveniently at hand when the riot began. 

      Behind all this lay the odd circumstance that so spontaneous a riot took place precisely on the day when Madame and the Generalissimo were far away at a mountain retreat, the Ambassador was not on Formosa and the chief officers of the Army administration were across the channel on the offshore islands.

      In a city notorious for its elaborate secret services and policing agencies -all under Chiang Ching-kuo - why was a riot such as this permitted to go unchecked for hours? And why was not a strong police cordon established around the premises, leaving only Americans or Embassy employees to handle scattered cryptographic materials and secret papers? 

      Was someone seeking for documents recording American views on the internal situation or confidential notes which might incriminate anti-Nationalists in communication with the Embassy? 

You may want to read the complete book, "Formosa Betrayed," by George Kerr.  
HERE is copy, free of charge. Much to discover in this book!

This photo taken during the 1957 on-going riot, notice men inside the embassy building.   Photo courtesy of Taipics

Armed Police (or soldiers) arrive at Embassy grounds, 1957.  Photo courtesy of Taipics

1957 - the 182nd Marine Corps Birthday Ball Cake Cutting Ceremony, American Embassy, Taipei, with Taiwan Marine Security Guard Detachment members.

From left to right: Corporal Ken Swinson, Sergeant. Fred Siverly, Rear Admiral Read (Executive Officer, US Taiwan Defense Command), Lieutenant Colonel Holt (Senior Marine on the island, therefore MC), Major General Frank S. Bowen Jr. US Army (Chief MAAG Taiwan), Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. Dutton, USMC (Assistant. Naval Attache), Sergeant Gerald Winters and Corporal Thomas Schultz. 

Left to right: Mrs. Pauline Rankin, Ambassador to Taiwan the Honorable Karl Rankin, 

Detachment NCOIC, Master Sergeant Hiram S. Range and Mrs. Norma Range. 
1957 - The 182nd Marine Corps Birthday Ball Celebration.


From left to right: NCOIC Master Sergeant Hiram S. Range, Staff Sergeant Billy K. Grove, Sergeant Fred Siverly, Corporal Thomas Schultz, Sergeant Gerald Winters, Corporal Virgil Johnson, Corporal Kenneth Swinson and Staff Sergeant Richard McNutt. 
1957 - Marine Security Guard Detachment, Taipei

From left to right: NCOIC Master Serveant Hiram S. Range, Staff Sergeant Billy K. Grove (former Acting NCOIC), Sergeant Fred Siverly, Corporal Thomas F. Schultz, Sergeant Gerald Winters, Staff Sergeant Richard McNutt (Acting NCOIC), Corporal Virgil M. Johnson and Corporal Kenneth Swinson. 

1957 - Marine Security Guard Detachment, Taipei.


 From left to right: Sergeant Ken Swinson, Sergeant Tom Schultz, Sergeabt Bill Dams, Staff Sergeabt Richard Aitken, Staff Sergeant Leo Bates, Sergeant John Rackovan, Sergeant Norman Vachowiak, Sergeant Ronald Tuttle, Sergeant Wilson Baker, Sergeant Virgil Johnson, Corporal John H. Johnson and NCOIC  Master Sergeabt Berle Garris. Berle Garris retired a Warrant Officer 4. 

1959 - American Embassy Taipei Marine Security Guard Detachment 

1957 - American Embassy Taipei - Marine House Bar.
Tom tells us a well stocked bar contributes to high morale, any doubters? 
And today, wonder if you can find a Bud Light in the fridge at AIT?

 The men who served at the Taipei Embassy in these photographs, have aged nearly 60 years!  You wonder, how many are still around today.

We honor all men and women who wore the uniform and served our country!

We've discussed the US Embassy all through this article.  Here is a rendering of the new, can we say, US Embassy... NO...? 

OK.... a rendering of the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) building presently under construction in northern Taipei.

Quite a change and upgrade from their present facility, which is still housed in the old HQ MAAG Taiwan compound.

Special thanks to  David and Marc. at Taipics who have assembled the most comprehensive file of photographs and information available on Taiwan that you see anywhere!

And, more special thanks to George H. Kerr for sharing his book,"Formosa Betrayed"
His book is available to download or read directly off the net free of charge.

Please leave you Comments and notes in a Comment below.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Radar Sites on Taiwan Once Manned by US Military Personnel

Da Kang Shan Radar Site circa late 1960s courtesy of Ralph Henricks

Here is our list of Radar Stations once manned by US Military personal in Taiwan. 

There may be more we're not familiar with.

Radar Stations in Taiwan

1. Shimen - Northern Taiwan Along the Coast.

2. Shong Sun Mountain - North Of Taipei

3. San Diego Mountain - East of Taipei

4. Lo Shan Mountain - North East of Taichung in the Mountains

5. Hualien - A city on the East Coast of Taiwan

6. Wapu - North of Taichung near the coast

7. Da Kang Shan - Just North East of Kang Shan Air Force Base. Da Kang Shan is about half way between Tainan and Kaohsiung to the East at 22.842511   120.343834.

8. Tahan Shan - South East of Ping Tung in the Mountains

9. Oluanpi - Southern tip of Taiwan

10. Penghu - Islands off the east coast of Taiwan

We have 4 folks who have checked-in from the Shihmen Radar site and are on our listing of US Military folks who served in Taiwan. 

Is your site on our listing?  Have you check-in and added your name to our Taiwan Personnel Listing? 

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Our address:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mystery! Western Style Home Overlooks the Presidental Palace...

The photograph below, taken by George Lane in 1969,  has me scratching my head....

On the roof of the building that once housed many US Government offices in Taiwan, formally known as the 
"Union Building", sits,  what looks like a typical US style home. 

Just to the bottom left of this photo, resting on the roof of the "Union Building," is a white structure which looks 
just like an American style home complete with a sliding patio door.

An older photo of the "Union Building" taken from the corner driveway of the Ministry of National Defense Building, 
later called the Presidential Palace.   Photo courtesy Taiwan GIO.

A corner shot of the "Union Building"  Next building, US MAAG Taiwan Headquarters in the 1950s.  
Photo courtesy of Taiwan GIO.

Another photo of the "Union Building," straight ahead with two flags.  Old MAAG Taiwan Headquarters building on right side of this photo.  Photo courtesy Alice Winans 1952.

According to records, US Aid (other than military) to Taiwan was curtailed in 1965, and, one would assume the US offices that once resided in the Union Building, became vacant.

Between 1965 and 1969,  Bank of Taiwan moved one of their departments into the "Union Building."

The building has since been taken town, along with the old MAAG Taiwan Headquarters, both buildings are gone today. 

The question remains, why was that white colored home on the roof of the old "Union Building?"  Who occupied it, what was it used for?

Can we solve this mystery?

Your ideas - please leave a Comment below.