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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chungshan North Road - 1968

My favorite place to book visitors in the mid 1960s, The Green Garden Hotel.

Not a fancy 4 star facility, but the staff and clean rooms made it one of the best.
Out the front door and down the alley to your heart's content.
Looking north from the hotel, Minquan West Road is just down the street.
More views toward the HSA Compounds and the Grand Hotel, lost in the trees.
Also looking northward on Chungshan North Road.
Does anyone recognize this intersection?
My guess, Chungshan N. Road and Nanking Road.

Most of us passed the Green Garden Hotel daily during our time in Taipei.

The streets and alleyways remain, but just about every building has been replaced.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday's Dinner Menu at Club 63

Click on the Menu for a full-size readable copy.

Peter Ciccgrello had Dinner at Club 63 on Thursday, 10 May 1962 and kept the menu.

I would have ordered the Schnitzel Holstein for 95 cents. I'm hungry just envisioning the plate arriving at my table, the aroma of the schnitzel and gravy is overwhelming!

And your order sir? We're featuring a 12 ounce Sirloin

A side note: Just how much money were we making in 1962? I had forgotten. And to think we were living such a life on so little salary.......

Click here for the 1962 Pay Chart.

Taiwan honors members of US Armed Forces

The Ministry of National Defense presented roughly 600 medals to members of the United States Armed Forces Dec 14, in recognition of the help and support given to Taiwan in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot.

Approximately 10 representatives from the U.S. Armed Forces attended the ceremony, as did William A. Stanton, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

"We would like to offer you our great thanks for your magnanimous assistance, given as if to a brother." said Kao Hua-chu, Minister of National Defense.

The full story can be found here:

Story source: China Times

Story courtesy of: Taiwan Today

Blog editor's Note: We should station at least 20,000 U.S. military advisors in Taiwan on a permanent basis to handle "any" future situations on a moments notice.

Mr. Kao spoke correctly, we are your brothers sir, we will be there for you in the future.

Do I hear a second to my motion to return US Forces to Taiwan on a permanent basis?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Shoeshine Man at Taichung Station

Taichung Station, September 2009. Not much has changed since our days in Taichung.

While visiting Taiwan last September Gene Hirte and I decided to visit Hsinchu to see what remained of the MAAG facilities we have so often discussed on this blog and in our Taipei Air Station web site.

We arrived at the Taichung Station early in the morning. Gene went to the ticket window to purchase round trip tickets to Hsinchu while I strolled around the station to see if I recognized anything from the past.

The station had a few changes, but overall, it was still the same building from our days in Taichung.

One thing stood out as I gazed about, something I never expected to see, a shoe shine man was siting in his chair reading the newspaper. I walked over and begin to examine the bulletin board of articles he had posted announcing his longevity at Taichung Station (60 years.) As I was reading, Gene arrived with our Hsinchu tickets, our train was arriving shortly. I left without taking photos.

When we returned to Taichung that afternoon, I had completely forgot about Mr. Huang's stand.

A few days ago Gene went back to the station and took a few photographs.

Mr. Huang's longivity at his position is something to be honored.

I wonder how he survives in this day of tennis shoes and slippers.

I imagine someone who reads this blog will remember having sat in Mr.Huang's chair to have your shoes cleaned and polished while awaiting arrival of your train.

Please read the English words on the plaque below.

The next time you're catching a train from Taichung, consider arriving a bit early, let Mr Huang take care of your shoes. It would be an honor to sit in his chair and he probably needs the business.

Mr. Huang in his shoe shine area of Taichung Station, November 2009

Click on the plaque photo above and it will open in a larger readable format.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In This Corner - The Contender!

Our Contender has given it up for a short nap inside his small shop in Taichung, the calendar says it's Sunday, 23 September 1978.
My friend Ken says " this man sold home Chinese medicine remedies. The remedies are in a powder form and supposedly can improve one's overall physical condition, as demonstrated by the "before" photograph in his small shop. Maybe his decedents are still there selling the same potions.
Here is the Asia Steam Bath and Massage Parlor which was located next to the Stadus Club, one of the main hang-outs for CCK folks during 1978.

Photographs courtesy of Keith Elmund, CCK 1978.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chiayi Air Base Shows Up - UPDATED

Click on the photograph for a larger copy

Roger Chuang from Kaohsiung located a copy of the Tainan and Chiayi Air Base Booklet published way back in 1965 and sent it in for all to see.

The name of the club in Chiayi was "Top of the Mark." Anyone remember the club?

This is the first piece of documentation that really talks about Chiayi Air Base.

Today we have the cover, check back this weekend for more of the booklet pages.

The complete booklet can be found HERE.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Grade School Girl's Recollections of Tainan AB

Pat Mahoney Torguson resided with her family in Tainan from 1958 to 1960.

Only in grade school at the time, her observations of Tainan Air Base and the city of Tainan are unique.

Read her comments, as seen from a school girls eyes HERE.

If you have more to say about your tour in Taiwan, please email us.

There is certainly much more to be recounted, why not share your remembrances....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Large Planes and Old Cars

Photographs courtesy Peter Ciccarello

This C-124 Globemaster II Tail 0-21048 sits on the tarmac at Sung Shan in 1963. I researched this aircraft and found that the Georgia ANG later inherited the plane from the Air Force.

No other aircraft can been seen in this photo. Anyone recognize the parking area?

This 1939 Plymouth 4 door sedan was owned by Peter Ciccarello, then a PFC stationed at the Sugar Building. A nice parking spot along the Keelung River.

Peter had purchased the car from another GI who was leaving the island. Peter said he paid $250.00 for the car, drove it until his tour tour was complete in 1963 and sold the car to another GI for $250.00. These old cars passed from single GI to single GI for years.

Rules in 1963 required a military person to own the car for 5 years before it could be sold outside of the military.

Of course none of the normal military folks would have been in Taiwan for a 5 year period, therefore, no cars were sold on the civilian market until sometime after Peter left Taiwan in 1963.

Can someone remember when the regulations were changed to allow the sale of military owned vehicles to civilians.

Wheels of any type were transportation to young GI's back in the day. In those days, there were few cars on the road and you could park just about any place your heart desired.

Many young GI's in the early days had motorcycles.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Restaurant on the Water - 店飯大上水

More photographs from Peter Ciccarello, who served at the Sugar Building, assigned to USARSCAT, during 1962 and 1963.

Can anyone identify where this restaurant was tied up?

My guess was in the Keelung River some place close to the Grand Hotel.

I believe it had disappeared by the time I arrived in Taipei in late 1965.

This was something very different from the Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong harbour.

The sign board as your approach the gate could be a display of daily specials.

Another piece of history is found and recorded,

Thanks to Peter Ciccarello, taking time to send in his photographs.

Translation courtesy of Ken Lee.

I would appreciate anything you might have to share, please e-mail me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

CCK - Chinese Lessons and Downtown Taichung

I received a nice note from Keith Almund who served at CCK 1972-1973.

Keith expressed his feelings about his Taiwan experience, "
Looking back, I was very lucky to have been assigned to CCK. Being on Taiwan was one of the best experiences of my life and I had the opportunity to work with some of the best people I've ever encountered anywhere."

I receive a lot of e-mail from folks who served all over Taiwan. Just about everyone who writes expresses the same same feelings Keith expressed above. No matter where you served in Taiwan, as you look back, it was a wonderful time in your life.

Keith included a few photographs of some interesting items he picked-up on the base, including this cover of the base brochure distributed the early 1970s.

Double click on any photo to see it in a larger view...

Here is a new map of downtown Taichung picked up last month on a visit to Taiwan.

The city is growing out and up. Many beautiful new buildings now dot the city and many of the places we once knew have disappeared to new construction.

This map, the back cover of the CCK base brochure, identifies some of the locations US military personnel had an interest in. Some of the MAAG places noted on earlier maps of Taichung have disappeared from this 1970s map.

And, here are a couple of cards that will tweak your memory. Local folks were appreciative of our attempts to speak Chinese. You could go a long way in Taichung with a good attitude, a smile on your face and a few words of Chinese.

How about these library hours of operation!
Everyone who served in Taiwan would be proud of what has happened in the country since your departure.

Everywhere you look, new construction is going up, the streets are clean, the people are happy and going about business as usual. Their spirit grabs you.

I felt a sadness in my heart as my China Airlines flight lifted off the runway and we began our flight back home.
I'll return soon, Taiwan is a part of me.

Your time served in Taiwan was not in vain!

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Friends - Our Taiwan Trip

I stood in line to have by photo taken with this nice looking young lady.

We met so many new acquaintances on our recent trip to Taiwan. Here is a young lady who was a guide for a group of tourists from the mainland. When asked by one of the men with our our group if she would mind taking pictures with us, she graciously agreed. Who could turn down a photograph with such a lovely young woman?

This lady recently e-mailed Gene, our group leader and fellow traveler.

Dear Eugene,

This is from Cindy, who met you and your friends in Taiwan, a girl in "you are what you eat" T-shirt.

Still remember me? I am in Nanjing of Guangxi province now, nearby Guilin. Here is branch company.

Please kindly send my regards to your friends.

Best wishes,

I told you this would be a wonderful trip! We're going again, you better come along on our next trip.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What's Showing at the Theater?

Click on the schedule for a large view

I always wondered when a Movie Schedule would be found.

Peter Ciccarello, who worked in the Comm Center, 1962-1963, at the Sugar Building mailed this Movie Schedule and a few more items to share with us.

I could not find the admission prices for a normal film on the schedule, but there was a "Advanced Admission" film, Pocketful of Miracles staring Glenn Ford, Hope Lange and Betty Davis with increased admission charges of 40 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. Makes you wonder what the normal cost was for a child, maybe kids were free?

The films followed a certain route across the Taipei area.

It looks like the first run for films was the MAAG Theater, which I assume was the new theater in the HSA East Compound, then to Taipei Air Station, then on to Linkou Air Station, then to Tien Mou and finally ends up at Grass Mountain.

Movies were always a Big doing in Taiwan, especially for the children. George McAdams, who was 8 years old when he arrived in Taipei in 1958, recalls his experiences when he was a young boy attending movies at Taipei Air Station."when I saw the picture of the movie theater, that was something I really remember. We actually saw THE TEN COMMANDMENTS there, which because only a one reel player was used, and the film sometimes came unwound, made the 4 hour movie a 6-hour extravaganza! "

Most of us spent many a evening at the theater, crunching on a bag of popcorn and washing it down with a coke.

And lastly, we all stood up in respect when the National Anthem was shown on the big screen.

How times have changed....

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who can Identify this street? UPDATED

This is the "corrected" view of 湯德章紀念公園 Tang, De-Jhang Memorial Park in Tainan.
Photograph courtesy of Les Smith

The buildings were still small during the time this photograph was taken.
Can someone identify the street and approximate date.

UPDATE: I tried to find something about the park on the Internet. I cannot find any articles on the park in English. Does anyone know who Mr. Tang was and why the park was established?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hot & Humid Days in Taiwan

I am sure some are wondering why new information has not been posted recently -

I have been in Taiwan on a wonderful 3 week vacation, and what a "beautiful and fun time" it was.

A group of us "Old Timers" arrived about 3 weeks ago for a tour and look-back at the old places of Taipei and down island.

I am heading home soon and others on our trip have returned home, or moved on to other Asian destinations.

I will begin a series of posts on our trip as soon as I can collect the photographs from all our trip participants.

What beauty this island has, more than one can imagine.

Please keep an eye out for our first post soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What's on the Tainan Flight Line Today

Photo Courtesy of Jim Nelson

This photograph was taken circa 1958-1959 at Tainan Air Base.

It looks like an A-26 or is it a B-26 parked along the Air Asia fence.

You can also see a C-47 inside Air Asia and a couple of aircraft down the flight line.

Can someone help identify all of the aircraft in this photograph.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taipei Air Station - Site Plan * UPDATED

Update: 26 November 2009:

Google Earth overlay provided by
林俊昇 Lin, Chun-Sheng

This undated site plan drawing of Taipei Air Station was included in the documents I received from Mr. Terence Sherwood, who was the 327th Air Division Historian in 1970.

Look at this - it brings you right back onto the Air Station - the old days, what memories!

I am gathering information to identify who was in each building, what the name of the office was, what went on in that building number, and/or anything else you can remember from your days on the Air Station.

For example:

Building 6 was named the Cotton Building and it contained the 2165th Communications Squadron Offices and facilities in 1965 - 1968.

Building 7 was called Club 13, the NCO Club in 1965 - 1968.

Please take a few minutes of your time and help me ID these buildings through the years.

Be sure to tell me what years you were at Taipei Air Station.

Some of the buildings changed occupants, so what you remember during your time was something completely different during my time.

I will include a list of building numbers and their occupants when I post the History of Taipei Air Station later this fall.

E-mail your information to me at:

Thank you for helping us identify the buildings and together we will see how things changed over the years.

Be sure to click on the picture. It will open into a clear document with clearly identifiable building numbers. The Site Plan photo was restored by my friend Bruce Rayle.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Typhoo Update UPDATED

The following article was contributed by Douglas Habecker, a journalist residing in Taichung.

It only aired a few times, but I thought it was truly one of the coolest local news clips I’ve ever seen on local TV: A handful of Taiwanese rescue/relief workers stand on a remote mountain valley road that the Typhoon Morakot landslides have severed. As they study the damage and swollen waters raging below, they suddenly encounter a totally alien sight. With a low, throbbing roar, an enormous grey US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter swoops low around a bend in the valley, almost at eye level, and blasts by, hauling a backhoe excavator in a sling underneath. The chopper is gone in a few seconds as it heads towards a cut-off village further inland.

Although that scene from Tuesday was just one of hundreds airing nonstop in the continuing saga of the ‘8-8 flood disaster’ aftermath of Typhoon Morakot, it dramatically represented America’s unprecedented and much-reported arrival on the scene to assist with rescue and relief efforts. This began at 2:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon (8/16) when a U.S. Marine KC-130J (the Marine version of the C-130 Hercules) transport landed at Tainan Air Force Base. Flying in from Okinawa, the crew worked with Taiwanese ground personnel to quickly unload several large pallets containing 6,800 kilograms of plastic sheeting which can be used for temporary housing and other purposes. As the media was quick to note, this was one of the first U.S. military aircraft to touch down in Taiwan since 1979 (excepting a USAF C-5 Galaxy which transported relief supplies following the 1999 ‘9-21’ earthquake). However, Sunday’s flight and a second delivery the next day were followed on Monday afternoon by the arrival of the first Navy helicopter. Based at Iwakuni , Japan , the Sikorsky Sea Dragons of the HM-14 ‘Vanguard’ squadron are the Western world’s largest helicopters and able to haul 16 tons of cargo. By Tuesday, two MH-53Es and two smaller MH-60S Knighthawks (a version of the Blackhawk)—flying in from the “LPD” amphibious transport dock ship U.S.S. Denver, anchored in waters off of Tainan--were hauling excavators and other earthmoving equipment from Tainan Air Base to various hard-hit mountain villages, isolated by mudslides and flooding, as they landed in schoolyards and fields to drop their loads. During this process, local TV crews filming American military ground personnel and cargo riggers at Tainan Air Base gave the GIs a crash course in Mandarin and filmed a repeatedly-broadcast scene that undoubtedly offered a bit of encouragement to hard-hit Taiwanese residents—a video montage of young American Marines and sailors—white, black, Hispanic, male and female—smiling into the camera and shouting “Taiwan Jia Yo!” (‘Go Taiwan !’).

These Americans, their aircraft and officials from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) continue to work alongside Taiwanese to provide relief in a gesture deeply meaningful to the island in an era when it is common to question the level of America’s commitment to Taiwan should a crisis arise. However, this is not the only aid arriving from around the world, as a broad spectrum of supplies and assistance has poured in from many countries. Even before the US arrived on the scene, Singapore , Israel , the UK and Australia rushed in supplies, such as Israeli water-purification kits. Aussie officials were on hand to voice their support for Taiwan and oversaw the unloading of a variety of items, from 200,000 water-purification tablets to 100 sanitizer spray packs for spraying disinfectant and insect repellent. Even Pope Benedict XVI has donated US$50,000 to the cause. Not to be outdone by the United States , China , whose offer of Russian-built heavy-lift helicopters was declined in favor of the American choppers, flew an Air China 747 cargo load emergency supplies from Beijing into Kaohsiung International Airport and dispatched a ship with containers of prefab temporary housing units, which are now being erected in disaster areas. Other items from China include 10,000 blankets and 10,000 sleeping bags. Altogether, about 60 countries, from Thailand to Germany, have offered assistance to Taiwan.

All these international efforts underline the continued tragedy of Taiwan ’s worst typhoon in half a century, which has indelibly altered certain parts of southern Taiwan . Despite the fact that almost two weeks have elapsed since the disaster, the situation ranges from very difficult to dire for thousands of residents remaining in cut-off mountainous areas (including thousands in the Alishan area alone), for thousands more newly-homeless who have been evacuated with little more than the clothes on their backs, and for the tens of thousands who are enduring a painstaking clean-up of absolutely devastated homes and communities. Hundreds of residents—notably Aborigines from Bunun, Paiwan, Rukai and other tribes—are steadfastly sticking it out in their villages, in some cases out of fear that they will lose their lands forever if evacuated. Meanwhile, residents, soldiers and volunteers in towns across Pingtung county and similar areas are dealing with a soupy mud that has inundated absolutely everything inside and outside, to the point where it seems the only solution would be a giant, god-sized power hose.

Over the past week, one of the main focuses has continued to be the Kaohsiung county village of Xiaolin , which was wiped out by mudslides that buried hundreds of residents. Grieving relatives—some who have made their way in to wail and burn incense over what is now a flat, featureless expanse of mud—have reached a near-consensus to leave the site undisturbed by large-scale excavation, as a giant grave of sorts. However, Taiwanese soldiers have carried out a grisly manual search for bodies. This entails digging with shovels and pausing to smell closely for the stench of decomposition, a technique which continues to provide its grim rewards. Fortunately for these young servicemen and women—some reportedly traumatized by the experience—sniffer dogs and ground-penetrating radar equipment are assuming some of these responsibilities. Dozens of other bodies have also been spotted and recovered in river beds nearby. Quoted in the Taipei Times, Xiaolin Elementary School Principal Wang-chen noted that 57 out of 81 of his students were either dead or missing. The toll was almost as bad at a small nearby junior high school. “Words cannot express my shock, pain and sorrow over having lost two-thirds of my students, taken away by one storm,” said Wang.

Despite access into some areas by air or four-by-four vehicles, a surprising number of residents and rescue/relief personnel alike are still moving on foot, sometimes braving very dangerous river crossings, to get in and out of the worst-hit communities—places like Kaohsiung county’s Taoyuan and Hsinfa villages. Island-wide donations of food, supplies, clothing and other items have poured in, to the point where relief organizations are trying to be more specific about what is still needed, or not needed. An eclectic-sounding “want list” earlier in the week included brooms, dustbins, shovels, plastic pipes, undergarments, wash basins, walking canes, power lines, wireless base stations, and construction helmets. Over the weekend, a Kaohsiung woman showed up at the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation with her 12-year-old daughter and a nine-kilogram piggy bank containing NT$160,000—accumulated by mom and daughter over 12 years for the girl’s dowry. After seeing all those who had lost homes to flooding, the seventh grader asked her mother to donate the money to relief, and handed in another NT$500,000 they had collected from neighbors for the same cause. A number of street vendors in Taichung and Changhua, including former victims of the 9-21 earthquake—have been donating all earnings from their “tsung yo bing” onion cakes and other traditional treats to typhoon survivors as well. On a larger scale, central and northern Taiwan city and county governments are dispatching relief funds and personnel. On Tuesday, for example, Taipei City Government announced that it would “adopt” Pingtung County ’s Linbian Township and take it in as a district to help with relief and reconstruction. More than 400 Taipei city government staff, including 98 firefighters, are being stationed in the town for post-disaster reconstruction efforts, while each household needing assistance will receive NT$5,000.

Volunteers from all manner of organizations—local, international, Christian, Buddhist, etc.—are also heading into areas to provide a helping hand. This has included the likes of movie star Jet Li, who turned up in a Kaohsiung county Aborigine village to help unload supplies, listen to villagers’ disaster stories and offer smiling encouragement. Yesterday, the news even showed the rather bizarre sight of some American clowns—goofy noses, face paint and all—who were bringing cheer to displaced children, many who are showing signs of acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to mental health experts now working with kids throughout the disaster zone, using play and music therapy and other treatments. A TV report today (Thursday) showed an absolutely adorable little Aborigine girl, probably around 2 years old, who has gone silent since her family fled their home during a mudslide, according to her mother. Another poignant scene was a slightly-older tribal girl who was rescued by an air force helicopter with a couple relatives after spending eight days in the above-mentioned Taoyuan village with almost nothing to eat. This girl also wouldn’t talk, but only because she was desperately gobbling bowls of fruit cocktail given to her by relief workers after landing.

The damage and losses caused by the typhoon and its aftermath are still being calculated but are enormous in some areas. Agriculture losses alone are well over NT$12 billion, including the destruction of 138,000 pigs, almost 600,000 chickens, over 132,000 ducks and 27% of crops on 72,345 hectares of farmland. Roads in many places will not be restored for months. The highway to Alishan, for example, will be closed until Sept. 20 at the earliest and its famed narrow-gauge mountain railroad may be out of commission for two years. Taiwan Rail’s southern link, connecting Kaohsiung and Taitung, will be closed for at least five months. If all this wasn’t bad enough, the island was rocked by the year’s biggest earthquake—a 6.5 temblor located 187 kilometers southeast of Hualien—and a series of aftershocks on Monday morning. Fortunately, no further damage was caused in the disaster region.

As all this goes on, President Ma Ying-jeou and his cabinet have received relentless criticism and anger from the press and public over what is perceived to be a very belated response to this disaster, a gross lack of coordination between government agencies in handling rescue and relief, and an unsympathetic, ambivalent attitude towards the suffering of victims. Not a few commentators have labeled Typhoon Morakot “Ma Ying-jeou’s Katrina”, in reference to the devastating New Orleans hurricane. With his popularity plummeting and reporters circling like sharks in feeding frenzy, Ma and his administration have been forced to repeatedly apologize and are now spending near all of their time in the disaster zone, inspecting efforts and being confronted by angry victims. With resignations of several high-ranking officials in the wind, a complete cabinet reshuffle can also be expected in the near future.

Nevertheless, what remains most striking about this tragedy is not the political turmoil and accusations, but the moving unity, fortitude and generosity by all involved in this chapter of Taiwan history. In my first ‘8-8’ disaster update, I noted the moving scene of a lone policeman stranded on his police station roof, surrounded by a vast expanse of raging water. More details of his story have emerged in a Taipei Times account (Aug. 18) as he rested from his ordeal: As the storm began dumping rain on his village of Nansalu in Namasiya Township, officer Chang Hui-cheng persuaded area tourists to leave immediately, but had a harder time convincing local villagers, who said Jesus Christ would protect them. After the evacuation, he was trying to rest when waters broke through the first-floor windows on his police station. He ran to the third-floor roof and huddled in his raincoat, hanging onto a steel beam to keep from being swept away. Thus he stayed for four days, drinking only rainwater but not losing hope. Chang said he prayed continuously to God, asking that flood waters would not collapse the building. “Aside from God, there was nobody I could ask for help when I was trapped,” he said. Then he saw a helicopter fly by and waved it down with a red cloth. At almost the exact same time, his wife, children and some villagers were also airlifted to safety from another location. According to Chang, who earlier decided to retire, his first job after leaving the police force will be rebuilding his home.

“People are still missing and the death toll is rising. Hearts are broken, anger and frustration pour out in tears…” wrote a local commentator Huang Yu-wen on Thursday. “Yet Taiwan will not lose its determination. It will be hopeful and brave….As a Taiwanese, I have never felt so proud and so touched. We have a brilliant people – brave, generous, independent and full of sympathy.” I think that sums it up pretty well.

If you’re looking for involved relief organizations to contact, there are a number of options, starting with World Vision and the Chinese Christian Relief Association. The victims of Typhoon Morakot will need the help and prayers of people from around Taiwan and the world for a long time to come, as they face months and years of recovery, reconstruction and remembrance.

Signing off for now,

Doug Habecker


Hi Again,
I have been surprised at the amount of feedback I have received from many of you from around the world, responding to my recent updates on Taiwan's Typhoon Morakot disaster and aftermath. Regretfully, I have not been able to send photos with these updates. However, you can view some good slides shows compiled by local English newspapers, such as these two from my former employer Taiwan News:
General "Editors' Choice" slide show, with a number of good photos of the disaster area and relief efforts:
Another related slide show with some great shots (I love the first one in particular) of the US Navy "Sea Dragons" hauling cargo out of Tainan AB, as well as other assistance from China, the EU, etc. :
Not all of the captions seem to be translated into English yet, but most of the images speak for themselves.
Doug Habecker

Douglas Habecker is a journalist, living in Taichung, Taiwan. He graduated from Morrison Academy in Taichung in 1985 and received a degree in Journalism from Messiah College. He publishes Compass Magazine, which is a "What's Happening" periodical for the major cities of Taiwan. He also maintains the website, , which complements his magazine. Doug is the journalism teacher at Morrison Academy. Active in Taichung affairs, Habecker has served as consultant in various local government programs as well as to foreign corporations doing business in the area.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Marines Have Landed in Taiwan

We're Back

Tainan AFB, August 16, 2009, about 2:30 pm local time

A US Marine Corps C-130 arrives with relief supplies for typhoon victims.

There is much to be done in assisting the government of Taiwan with help and supplies for the citizens who experienced this terrible typhoon.

I know the United States will provide all that is asked and more.

And when it is completed, do I have a motion from the readers of this blog, to ask the United States to park our aircraft and remain in Taiwan just in case help is needed for any contingency in the future?

Leave your comments below.

God Bless Taiwan!

Update: Link to more photographs and Taiwan News article HERE

More news from Central News Agency Taiwan HERE

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Housing Area Street in Taiwan

Click on photo for a larger view.

This photograph was sent in by a gentleman stationed in Taiwan.

I recognize the green Oldsmobile Cutlass parked on the corner on the left side of the photograph, I believe it's a 1968 or 69 model.

Will someone ID where this photograph was taken. If you can tell us where the photograph was taken, do you have any other photos of this area?

Look at the beautiful red flowers on the tree.

Note: Are you still contemplating joining our trip to Taiwan next month. We'll be visiting our old Club 63 which is now The American Club in China (ACC). They are giving us a tour and allowing us to have dinner one evening. Better get a ticket and join us, China Airlines has very reasonable rates to Taiwan from Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. We're touching down in Taipei on September 11th just five short weeks away.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Air Task Force 13 (Provisional) at Gongguan

Main Gate, taken in the fall of 1958
USAF Photo courtesy Terry Sherwood

How many times did you pass through this gate during your time in Taiwan? Too many to count I'm sure.

If you were at Taipei Air Station prior to the late 1960s this was the gate you used to enter the Air Station.

I recently received a binder, heavy with documents and photographs unfolding the history of the United States Air Force on Taiwan.

Prepared by Mr. Terry Sherwood, Historian, 327th Air Division, in January 1970, this history describes most of the Air Force movements in and around Taiwan, including a number of black and white photographs going back to the early 1950s shortly after MAAG Taiwan was formed.

If you ever wondered what went on, when, and where in Taiwan, you are in for a treat.

Preparing the layout of this presentation is enormous and difficult to present in a form which you can track not only the daily changes but follow changes at a particular base on the island as they occurred.

It will take me some time to fully complete, but I will release updates. The complete presentation will be posted on the Taipei Air Station web site.

I want to express my thanks to Mr. Terry Sherwood for his unselfish and gracious presentation of these documents to me.

Receiving these documents was similar to being chosen to receive a great treasure. When the binder arrived in my office and I opened the carton, my heart fluttered, my hands were weak. As I thumbed through these pages, and viewed the old photographs my heart was at peace and I realized our history in Taiwan was not lost, it was found and it would soon be presented on the Internet for history to record our accomplishments in helping the people of Taiwan.

God bless the country of Taiwan and its citizens.

Life is good. Aloha.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Reading

A friend, Luther Deese, who spent many years in Taiwan, sent this reading recommendation.

This book may be available at your public library. There appear to be a number of inexpensive copies available for sale at the Amazon link.

Here is Luther's e-mail:

Rene Liang recommended that I read, "An American in China -- 1936 - 1939"
(A Memoir by Gould H. 'Jim' Thomas --

The copyright is held by Beverly Thomas (his widow), the Library of Congress Control No. is: 2004093983 and the ISBN is 0-9758800-0-4. I have what is listed as a 'first edition'. Rene says that she knew him in Beijing when she was a youngster and knew him well enough to call him 'Uncle Jim'.

The book starts by recounting how young Gould had saved enough money for what he'd planned to be a trip around the world -- a heady trip for the times of 1936. His travels in China begin in Part III after Part I gets him from the East Coast of the USA, through the Panama Canal and to Japan. Part II, a recounting of his sojourn in Japan, is fairly brief and would probably be of more interest to you and folks who've spent time in Japan than it was to me -- I was anxious for him to get on to China where his adventures take up most of the book. He arrived in Beijing in September, 1936 intending to stay in China for several weeks but ended up staying for three years.

Gould finds employment as a traveling representative for Texaco, much like Jim Lilley's older brother Frank did for Standard Oil during the same time frame [see, "China Hands" by James Lilley with Jeffrey Lilley, ISBN: 1-58648-136-3]. They were essentially traveling kerosene merchants covering large expanses of China during a time when 'travel and communications were indeed inconvenient'.

Gould's writings, as compiled by his wife and others, describes in detail the situations he encountered throughout his travels and should be very interesting for you to compare and contrast with your past and upcoming China peregrinations. Actually, some of what Gould encountered in rural China of the late 1930s wasn't significantly different from some of the things I and my friends experienced in rural Taiwan as late as 1960. The progress in Taiwan since the decade of the 1970s is mind boggling, as is the progress in mainland China since the decade of the 1990s.

The Gould book includes numerous photos, most of which he personally took during his travels. The photos alone make the book a worthwhile possession and for us who have spent time in Asia and have traveled in China, it is especially interesting.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Japanese Remnants

A Torii gate sits over a main road near Hsinchu, circa 1957.

More photographs depicting the Japanese influence in Taiwan begin HERE.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Out Into the Rural Areas of Taiwan

A beautiful valley near Chutung, east of Hsinchu, circa 1957
We leave Hsinchu today.
More beautiful pictures can be seen HERE.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Historical Hsinchu Photographs 1950s

These two young men are draftees who are reporting for military service and are wearing banners proclaiming their impending service to the Republic of China.

In Taiwan all young men had to serve 2 years of compulsory military service after graduation from high school.

This scene, in 1955, was taken in front of the Hsinchu railway station.

Look HERE for more wonderful photographs from Hsinchu.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Independence Day - The 4th of July

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A drive to Camp McCauley

It was one of those hot and humid Taipei summer days in 1971.

Milt Doyle and friends from the barracks at Taipei Air Station head out of town toward Camp McCauley for a weekend of swimming, relaxing with a few adult beverages and having fun at the HSA Special Services Camp McCauley Beach and Recreation Area, located on the north coast.

We pass the facade of the recently constructed Taipei Baseball Stadium.

On toward Camp McCauley. Do you recognize the truck up the street?

Moving along as we head out of town. The streets are nearly deserted.

The mountains look closer as we move farther along. There's that truck again farther up the street.

More new buildings, the area is thinning out, we'll soon be out of the city.
We're catching up to that familiar truck.

If you click on this photo it becomes larger and easier to see. On top of the building on the left hand side of this photograph a flag is fluttering. It looks like a US flag, but possibly not, as the star area of the flag appears to be something else. Can someone identify the building or possibly the flag?

We've traveled for some time now and we've lost the truck.

The sign welcomes us to our weekend destination.

Checked in, we can relax, grab a smoke and talk story in the fresh beach air and cool temperatures.
These buildings are naturally air conditioned for cool nights and restful sleep.

We're on the path to the beach, you can see the water just across the highway.

Now this is nice! To be here for a cool weekend of fun and relaxation is well worth the long drive.

That truck we were following back in town. It's the Foremost Dairy delivery van. He could have been on his way to Camp McCauley to deliver milk and ice cream. Foremost had the military concession for ice cream and some dairy products. During the 1960's they came up with the powered milk interlaced with coconut oil which made the milk taste much like whole homogenized milk. I remember drinking their chocolate milk.

Can anyone comment on the Foremost Dairy homogenized local fresh milk that was sold in clear soda type bottles with the Foremost logo? I remember going to the Foremost plant, which had a small retail store and purchasing the fresh milk. Does anyone remember the plant and store?

Camp McCauley was used extensively by the Boy Scouts of Taiwan for many of their camps.

AND, the last question to be resolved......
Which spelling is correct, the road sign Mc Cauley or the common spelling McCauley?

Photos courtesy of Milt Doyle and Gary Wilson, both assigned to Taipei Air Station.