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

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chaiyi Air Base 1958

Lloyd Evans over at the Taiwan Veterans Badge of Honor Association web page shared his photograph pages for this story.

Chiayi Air Base is located about 37 miles northeast of Tainan. 

Just how and why did the US end up at Chiayi Air Base?

Double click on the map below for a clearer view of Chiayi and where it's located.

1958 Map

On 17 January 1955, Ichiang, (Ching on the map below) a small island NW of the Tachen Islands, had fallen to the Chinese Communist forces.. 

The map below, circa 1955, gives you an idea where Ichiang (Ching on map) and the Tachens are located.

 Map from New York Journal American, 23 January 1955.

On 24 January 1955 President Eisenhower asked Congress for a resolution to authorize him to employ the armed forces promptly and effectively to assure the security of Taiwan and the Penghus.  His request was approved overwhelmingly by the US House and Senate late in January.

Also on 24 January 1955, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered the entire 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing to Taiwan.  This was in response to a sudden US decision to evacuate about 40,000 Chinese Nationalist soldiers and civilians from the Tachen Islands, which were considered indefensible.  

Following preliminary air deployments on 26 January 1955, three squadrons of the 18th Wing flew from Japan and the Philippines to bases at Chiayi, Tainan and Taoyuan.  Transports of the Fifth Air Force's 315th Air Division lifted personnel, supplies and equipment.  (Note to readers: dates sometimes get confused.  Washington DC and CINCPAC in Hawaii are one day behind Taiwan.  When someone writes about events on such and such a date, depending upon the writers knowledge and double checking his facts, dates are not necessarily the date when they occurred in-country.)

The dates in this blog were taken from documents found in various places.

In January 1955, US military personnel begin to arrive at Chiayi Air Base.

In addition to US Air Force support personnel on permanent assignment at Chiayi AB, hundreds of others found themselves on Temporary Duty at Chiayi along with their aircraft,  on rotational duty from US Air Bases in Asia.

Chiayi was one of seven Taiwan air bases that hosted rotating US aircraft over the years.  Not every base hosted these rotating aircraft at any one time.  The aircraft were moved in and out of Chiayi to participate with, Nationalist Forces, in the defense of Taiwan, standing alert duties, helping to protect Taiwan. The rotation period for visiting aircraft was initially a two week period, later the length of their visits was extended to a longer period.

The first document I located, was a note concerning an aircraft accident in the Chiayi area.

 27 January 1955.       A 67th Fighter Bomber Squadron F-86-F aircraft (Ser # 53-4342) crashed five miles west (also listed as 12 miles SSW) of Chiayi AB after running out of fuel.  The aircraft's home base was at Kadena AB, Okinawa.  (Information gleaned from two different sources.) 

From 1955 until July 1968, US Aircraft were stationed at Chiayi Air Base in a TDY status.

In 1958, Bud Norris, assigned to the 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, on Naha AB, Okinawa arrived at Chiayi Air Base with 4 F-86D aircraft and necessary support personnel.  We spent several weeks there during the 1958 Quemoy-Matsu crisis.

Photographs below were furnished by Bud Norris.

Bud Norris and Ernie, circa 1958.

Those checkerboard neck scarfs are sharp.

They are wearing kacky short sleeve 505 cotton uniforms. 
The minute you walked outside the barracks they were wrinkled. 

 In 1960, the Air Force came out with a polyester and cotton blend,  similar uniform called the 1505.  
They were easier to wear. less wrinkling, cooler and looked sharper.

The photographs below, were taken at both Chiayi and Tainan, as well as Sungshan in Taipei.

This looks like Chiayi AB, Base Ops and hangers.

There were a number of Chiayi AB photos taken by Life Magazine photographers in the early 1950s. 
There were no US personnel in those photos.
 I will post those photos at a later date.

One of the F-84D aircraft from Okinawa

Another F-84D from Okinawa.

F-86s and T-33 overfly an F-84.

F-100Ds from 44th FBS out of Kanena AB Okinawa visit Chiayi.

Pilot H.P. Knepper is strapped into his F-84D tail # 060, prior to takeoff from Chiayi AB.

This photo is precious:  Check out the markings on this F-84D.
Those were the days....


A C-130 being refueled at Chiayi Air Base

Some of the pilots and airmen waiting for transportation back to Naha Air Base from Chiayi AB.

What's that aircraft in the background.  Looks like a sea plane of some sort?

These buildings look like the new construction at Tainan AB in 1958.

These were identified as living quarters.

These may be the inside of those living quarters mentioned in the photo just above.

Here's the Tainan AB Dining Hall circa 1958.

I assume Bud took this photo when he visited Tainan AB.  Tainan was 37 miles southwest of Chiayi AB.

Sungshan Air Base in Taipei.  A C-47 probably out of Okinawa, hauling the Chiayi folks back home to Naha.

There's CAT C-54 passenger aircraft just in front.

Typical rainy day in Taipei.

Can anyone make out the other aircraft in this photo?

This C-119 is either out of Chiayi or most probably, Tainan AB.

A CAF F-84G, taken from the window of a C-130.

Some one reading this post may have spent time at Chiayi, or have more information on our presence at Chiayi Air Base.

If you have any information, please write to us.

We are looking for any information on Chiayi.  

Thank you.

Please comment on this post below, anything would be appreciated.




Anonymous said...

I believe the sea plane is a UH-16 which was in the ROCAF inventory at that time.

新聞老鳥 said...

I think ''Ichiang'' is the short of ''Ichiang Shan''(一江山).

On January 18 1955 Communist China's People's Liberation Army launched a large scale amphibious attack to grab 一江山.

It's was the first time and last time till now a sea, air, and land amphibious military operation that Red China has ever launched.

It is believed that although PLA overran the island in the end, but Red Air Force bombed and killed a large number of Red Army by mistake.

The Nationalist garrison commander Colonel Wang Shen Ming (王生明上校)with the mojority of his men were KIAed while a minority were POWed.

Right after that battle, ROC government named a small road right next to Army Officer Academy (鳳山陸軍軍官學校)''Wang Shen Ming Road(王生明路).

57 years later, the road is still there and its name still remains but I guess just a handful of people still remember the story behind the name.

Wang Chun

Anonymous said...

I was stationed at Chiayi AB from DEC 66 until we closed it in JUN of 68.