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

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hsinchu in the 1950s

A group of military members and families have just arrived aboard the USS Breckinridge in Keelung Harbor bound for assignments in Taiwan. Photo circa 1959.

The Rayle family was waiting dock side to greet and welcome a new family being assigned to MAAG Hsinchu. Nothing more comforting than having folks waiting for you when you arrive, taking care of transportation and you baggage as you travel to your new duty assignment. Some families traveled by ship, some flew over. I always wondered how transportation means were determined.

Bruce Rayle, the son of LTC Roy E. Rayle resided in Hsinchu with his family. His father was assigned to MAAG Taiwan in Hsinchu.

Bruce has put together a number of interesting subjects that deal with Hsinchu during the late 1950's.

Today, we open with the Rayle Family Pages HERE.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tainan Air Base loaded with Aircraft in 1958

Jim Nelson's assignment at Tainan Air Base in 1958 afforded him the opportunity to photograph many of the aircraft flown by the ROCAF out of Tainan and US military aircraft visiting the base.

C-119 number 937, or should we refer to her as Miss Betty? I like the old aircraft markings. The individual art gave life to each aircraft, where so many men spent so much time during war periods. The caricatures allowed the crew to make their aircraft something personal.

I like this picture of C-119 tail 33143. She looks strong and proud sitting here. I wonder what strength she provided to the ROCAF during her long life time of service?
This is an unusual picture. Here sit at least 5 ROCAF F-80's. Their canopy's are off, yet there is not one soul in site. Wonder where the pilots are....
More ROCAF C-119's stand ready for their next hauling mission.It looks like these F-86 aircraft were in for maintenance at Tainan. They could have been rotation birds from Okinawa, Japan or even Korea.
Not sure about these C-119's. They could belong to the USAF or maybe the ROCAF awaiting refurbishing and ROCAF markings.

Below: A squadron of US Marine F-86's and a US Navy PV2-5F sub-hunter aircraft sit on the tarmac at Tainan AB in 1958.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

6 Pack of C-119 Aircraft rest at Tainan

Tainan Air Base - 1958

Jim Nelson who I spoke of in my previous post, was also involved in construction on Tainan AB, most of which was in and around the aircraft parking areas. He sent many photographs of the construction area.

These C-119's were used by the ROCAF for many years after 1958.

If you were in Taiwan and had business down-island, you probably caught an shuttle flight. No charge to military personnel. Who could turn down a free ride on "No Sweat" airlines?

Can anyone help me locate where the water tower was located on Tainan AB. I have photographs of it going up in 1958. Thanks for any help -

Friday, January 2, 2009

Big Construction Projects in the Tainan Area 1958

James (Jim) Nelson of North Carolina sent a number of photographs taken in Tainan during his short assignment at Tainan Air Base in 1958. Jim departed the CONUS on Christmas Day 1956 headed for Camp Drake, Japan. During the next 3 years he was assigned to various units located in Korea, a number of units in Japan and at Tainan AB, Taiwan. Most of the work his unit was involved in was construction of concrete runways throughout Asia.

Jim was an US Army Soldier assigned to A Company, 802nd Engineer Aviation Battalion. This battalion was one of many who were attached with the US Air Force. They were called - SCARWAF - Special Category Army Reassigned with Air Force. I cannot find an explanation for why the Army was assigned to the Air Force, but a logical explanation would be something like this: The US Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for construction of military installations. The Army had personnel designated to work in the construction area. These SCARWAF folks have quite a history, but there is nothing in writing on their Taiwan projects.

I would appreciate someone coming forward with a more thorough explanation of the SCARWAF, how and why it was formed and it's mission. Interesting nevertheless...

The unit designation "Engineer Aviation Battalion" would indicate that these folks were intermingled with aviation. In 1958, here they were at Tainan Air Base in southern Taiwan involved with infrastructure and building construction.

One of the projects in the Tainan area was building a site in the foot hills southeast of Tainan. This site later became a Missile facility. The history of missile sites in Taiwan is scarce. I hope someone might send something for a future update.

Click on each photo to get a very clear view of the area.

Roads were the first thing constructed. Without a dry hard surface road, building cannot proceed at the facility.

The first thing the men need is a hot meal. Here the Mess Sergeant is preparing something for lunch. Notice the large trash cans and the submersible stove to heat water. These cans were put out in 3's for the men to wash their mess kits. Notice the runway steel on the ground and the mess trailer parked down the road. There is also a Heinz cardboard box, I guess it held catsup, your thoughts?
Looks like the frame work of a new building be constructed here, is that GI a little overweight or am I seeing things? Maybe that's the Mess Sergeant helping construct the new Mess Hall.....

Looking down the hill from the area of the missile facility being constructed.
Another view from the new construction area.

I hope someone will fill in the blank spaces on this post. Jim was there during the construction but he was not there when the facility opened. It would be interesting to know the history of this site and what became of it when the missiles were moved to Tainan.

Coming next - Tainan AB gets a new water tank, water lines and many new buildings.