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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

The "Reason" for the season, The birth of Jesus Christ.

Today, December 25th ~ Christmas 

This Christmas card arrived in yesterday's mail.

The water color rendering above is by Rick Slater .

Rick is the Administrator of the Tainan AB Face book page.

Great work Rick!

This year I don't have a large bundle of new photographs to present.

I want to add a few interesting photos, received from different  sources, which fit into previous holiday posts.

 I'll link to some of the previous Christmas posts at the end of today's post.

Forward page courtesy USTDC Blog

Here's the forward page taken from a book of sketches by Paul Kuo.

Joe Brooks, held various positions inside the Armed Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT) over the years.

We'll assume Paul Kuo sketched the rendering of Joe, above.

To ease the reading of Joe's commentary, we retyped it below:

     "For the casual observer,  this book may at first prove quite a surprise.  However, as the pictures and captions reveal their individual messages of humor and occasional bewilderment, there is brought to the surface a vast appreciation of the perceptive awareness of the artist to the impact of the Christmas Season on what is is basically a non Christian country, and to some of its residents as well."
     "Those who have shared these experiences will enjoy the memories brought to mind, while those who might be facing their first holiday season in Taiwan will do well to accept the messages and take them to heart.  Readers who have never visited in this country may be unable to fully appreciate the depth of meaning in portrayed evens from Club 63 in Taipei to SAMOC (South Area MAAG Officer's Club) in Kaohsiung.  But in every case, the pen of Paul Kuo has captured enough emotional substance to carry a part of the story in a medium of their own best understanding."

     "Thus, the resident Chinese can share with the housemaid who see her employer preparing big "Pai Pai" and calling it Christmas.  Others will feel the bewilderment of the lady of the house who receives a live turkey as a Christmas present from HER household help.  Everywhere will be felt great need of the foreigner to create an emotional and spiritual atmosphere consistent to that enjoyed in his own homeland, and the willingness of the friendly Chinese people to enter into the spirit of the game.  If they fail to fully appreciate the finer aspects of why a Christmas tree is so necessary for their foreign friends to enjoy their Yuletide Holiday, they are delighted to see the great pleasure the evergreen branches being to the household at large." 

     "As a souvenir, a reminder of a vast and stirring experience, or as a gift for friends who wonder about life in these climes - - the book will prove a treasured and welcome book of any library. - -  Joe Brooks, Taipei, Taiwan.  1961"

We've featured a number of Joe Brook's articles during the past few years.  You can find them by searching for "Joe Brooks" in our search box on the right side of this blog.

Photo courtesy James W. Brown Jr. circa mid-1960s  from the Internet

One of the most important items at Christmas, your Christmas tree.

Here, the HSA East Compound, close to the NEX, where trees were UN-crated and displayed, allowing customer's to select just the right one for their home, hostel, outpost room, barracks or office.  These trees were carefully moved to bases and outposts throughout the island(s). Imagine walking into your hostel on the top of a mountain, or deep downtown Taichung or any place else, and immediately smelling the pine scent aroma from the newly decorated tree.

The sweet aroma alone would jolt you into a smile and a flood of memories from your past...

And don't forget, these trees made their way into the local economy via NEX Card holders not necessarily associated with the US military.

Joe Brooks mentioned in his commentary above, "SAMOC (South Area MAAG Officer's Club) in Kaohsiung."  

I have been looking for an old photo of the MAAG O'Club in Kaohsiung.  We've not had one come in.  Recently, I was talking with a Kaohsiung STRATCOM Army man.  We spoke of many things including the clubs. A short time later, I received this photo of a sign in the Kaohsiung/Tsoying area.  At the bottom of the sign, "Officer's Club"

Photo courtesy of Marvin, circa late 1960s.

Look at the top of this sign, just under the roof, "HSA-5 SPECIAL SERVICES"  Guess that indicates,  Det 5, HSA Special Services.

I would guess, the area off to the right was the recreation center, bowling alley, swimming pool, Youth Center, Library, Tennis courts all  run by HSA Special Services, and the O'Club was run by MAAG Taiwan was straight ahead on the far end of the power pole with transformer.

Google Earth in Tsoying with ID pins locating some US facilities of the 1960s.

We've finally found the MAAG Officer's Club in Tsoying.  It can be seen on the map above.  Also found, the HSA Special Services area with a pool, bowling alley, tennis courts, Teen Center and other offices.

If you look toward the bottom of the Google Earth photo, you can see the outline of where the old FASD Hostel once sat.

Photo courtesy Marvin circa late 1960s

Photo of the old FASD Tsoying Hostel 
Outline of old hostel can be seen in preceding photo.

Photo courtesy of John Hornbeck circa 1968-68

We're heading north from Tsoying, a short ride away, Tainan.
Above, the Magambo (MAAG NCO Open Mess) taken from street view.

I'm not sure where I got this photo.  It's the Magambo Club when it first opened in 1960

Notice that motor scooter on the right side of the photo.

The Tainan Air Base Airmen's Open Mess, late 1950s

Proof positive, check out the motor scooter along the sidewalk.
One of the last photos of this club before they moved to the new facility.

Courtesy Tom Roberts, 1956-1958

The new Tainan Officer's Open Mess a couple miles outside the gate, in the same area with the MAAG NCO Open Mess (Magambo Club)

Tainan CAT Club courtesy Tom Roberts, 1956-1958

The CAT Club was a short distance down the road from the Tainan O'Club and NCO Club.

Why was the CAT Club constructed?  

I found a interesting document that might help explain why things went as they did for CAT in Tainan.

We're back in the car, driving up to Taichung.

MAAG NCO Club - Club 36 - circa 1965, courtesy Taiwan Signal Army Blog

A very small club, constructed for MAAG personnel and support personnel assigned in the area.

When the buildup of Kung Kuan AB, (later CCK) started, the place quickly filled up, many were turned away because of seating limits; there just wasn't any room inside.

I remember going down in January 1965, first trip to Kung Kuan AB.  We ended up at Club 36 and it was very comfortable.

A few weeks later, it was overrun.  The kitchen could not keep up. 
Food from the club was what everyone wanted.  Many people didn't drink, or maybe had a beer and wanted some food to go with it, it was a long wait for food service.

I don't recall how the problem was overcome.  The building was expanded, and when the Kung Kuan/CCK clubs opened, Club 36 slowly went back to a more controllable atmosphere.

We're back on Highway 1, moving toward Hsinchu.

Hsinchu had a military housing area, Bank of Taiwan Housing.

Where MAAG personnel resided, the Navy followed with services such as exchange, move house, clubs. I am not sure how the Commissary worked.

I believe some one sent this to us more than 5 years ago. Circa 1960.

This photo was named, the Hsinchu Shopping Complex, or the Exchange and Community Center. I believe there was a small Exchange, a snack bar, movie theater and probably a gasoline facility.  Note the gray color Navy vehicle, in front of the NEX. 
Map courtesy of Bruce Rayle, circa 1957 or earlier.

This shopping area was located a short distance from Hsinchu Main Station, and a block or so from the Catholic Cathedral of Hsinchu, which has the formal name, Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral. 

This small shopping area was situated inside the green circle on the upper left side of this photo.

Photo courtesy Bruce Rayle 1968

The altar at the Hsinchu Cathedral, prepared for its very first Christmas Midnight Mass, on December 24, 1958.

The MAAG folks in Hsinchu also had other facilities.

Map courtesy Bruce Rayle circa 1967 or earlier

A short distance (1.2 miles) directly west  from the MAAG Housing Compound (yellow square on right side of map) was the Officer’s Club, Hostel and Infirmary, all located in the Magenta circle above.  The MAAG Motor Pool was in the Green circled area just to the left of the Officer’s club. 

Hsinchu Map courtesy of Bruce Rayle

Last summer two retired USAF men and myself traveled to Hsinchu to attend an Open House and the large Army Tank Base in central Taiwan.

After a long day of walking around the enormous display areas, we headed back to Hsinchu on a mission to find the old Hsinchi NCO Club, which was really the Hsinchu Branch of Club 63 out of Taipei.

During the early years of Hsinchu, the NCO may have been operating on their own.

We have the map seen just above.  I believe the NCO Club was always located at the same location, don't believe it ever moved.

Looking at the map above, the NCO Club was inside the black circle in about the center of the map.  Just above the circle is an arrow and the letter Q.  

Just about everyone on a journey up or down the island would stop by the NCO Club when they arrived in Hsinchu.  Restroom facilities, cold air conditioning, and good food....

Photo courtesy John Hornbeck, circa 1967-1969
This is the only photo that has ever surfaced of "Club 63 Hsinchu Branch.

We found the street, and made two runs around the area to be sure we had the correct location indicated on the map above.

The building, just past the club, with the exposed red brick, was recently torn down.

I have a photo of the building which sits on this corner of the alley.  It appears to be the correct location, but the man working inside knew nothing of an American club.

Bottom line, any hint of the old club is gone.

 We're moving north toward Taipei and we end our journey at the Officer's Club Annex this Christmas.

Christmas season circa 1968


The entrance to the MAAG Officer's Club Annex, a doorman standing by to assist the ladies and children out of their car.

Inside the Christmas decorations are shining brightly.

Photos courtesy Rory O'Neil Christmas 1967
The band - Florence Moog

Rory O'Neil wrote, " The day was called or billed as the Holly Frolic.
The band members are playing in more formal attire."

Band members are (l-r) Terry O'Neil on vocals, Rick Ashabran on keyboards, Perry Smith on bass, Mike Gibson on guitar, Keith Wake on drums, and Jim Hollingsworth on guitar.

Rory continued, "I believe the band broke up in '68 likely because members were seniors in high school." 

Terry O'Neil who was the vocalist is Rory O'Neil's brother. 

We've covered a large portion of the island today.  

I hope you found something new in the photos we displayed today.

If you are interested in looking back at a couple of previous Christmas posts, here they are.

Our 2012 Christmas Post, click  HERE

Our 2011 Christmas Post, click  HERE 

More old photographs are being prepared, see you soon.

Merry Christmas, to you..


Wg said...

good write-up! Thanks!!

titojohn said...


As always, great pictures and comments. I really appreciate your efforts in keeping the U.S. military history in Taiwan alive.


Sofia said...

Interesting that the cover photo of your blog is near my parents' home, the place where I grew up. You can see the pic I took today from my facebook: