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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Typhoon Damage at Tainan Air Base

I recently received a note from Vicky and Tom Lilies who were stationed at Tainan Air Base, 1967-1969.

Vicky writes:

"I just saw the Tainan pictures posted by Ralph Hendricks. We were stationed in Tainan at the same time and knew Ralph and his wife. I believe she headed up the library on base."

"We arrived there as 1st LT and left as Capt. My husband, Tom Liles was with Base Civil Engineering. We loved living in Tainan and that assignment actually changed my life. I fell in love with Asia."

"Ralph mentioned the typhoon that came through the mid-section of Taiwan.  It started on the eastern side, swept across the middle, and ended up in the China Sea."

"I guess I remember it a bit differently than Ralph did.  There were lots of uprooted trees on base and concrete block fences blown down, but some of the real damage was out on the beach."

"If you looked out at the China Strait, even several days after the typhoon, the water was all gray/brown and looked like it had a mix master going on under the water. While all of the Americans were fine, numerous Taiwanese drowned."

Air America compound in background.

Inside the building, it looks like an employee is beginning to put things back together.

Always time for a cold beer at Tainan.  A few empties already along the wall?


"There were large coolers of beer and soft drinks that were turned over and swept down the beach by the churning waves. There were also concrete WWII bunkers that were tipped on their sides and moved down the beach."

"We actually had a stream of water running down the middle of our house. The water had blown in under the front door. It was pretty scary for people from Texas."

"I have a couple of stories from that period of our lives:"

"The Officer's Club, or the powers that be, convinced Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash to come down island from their performance in Taipei and put on a show for both our Officer's Club and NCO Club."

"They politely agreed and both clubs were treated to an evening with Johnny and June.....for free."

"I needed a large palm tree for our living room. I knew where a nursery was in town, so I got in a taxi and headed that way."

"When I got there, I discovered that I didn't have any money, just a nickel and an unopened roll of Life Savers. My taxi driver and I came to an agreement to make a fair/fare exchange."

"My nickel and Life Savers in lieu of my taxi fare. By that time we were both laughing and both of us were happy."



"I, and many of the other officer's wives got their hair done at a beauty parlor on Da Tung Lu."

"Late afternoon one day, I had just come out of the beauty parlor into the rush hour traffic. I needed a taxi going the other direction. Wasn't going to happen."

"My grocery boy, man really, came by on his motorcycle, made a U turn and came back to ask me if he could be of help. Well, I knew, at the rate I was going,  that I would never get home, so I hopped on the back of his motorcycle, side-saddle of course,  and he made another harrowing U turn and he delivered me to my and sound."

"I knew if we were in a wreck, I would be dead in more ways than one! I am sure the military would have frowned on my riding on the back of a Taiwanese motorcycle."

"In March of this year, (2014) we returned to Taiwan and Tainan as civilians."

"It was amazing how much the island had changed in 45 years. 

"We got lucky; our house was still standing.  We visited with the current tenant and took many pictures. The neighbors were quite warm and friendly and frankly we were a big hit in the neighborhood. It was great fun."

Thank you,  Vicky and Tom for sharing their photos and stories.


Wg said...

thanks for taking the time to write it all down!

Anonymous said...

Is it Typhoon Clara in July 1967?