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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Have you Considered a Return to Taiwan Visit

Many of you who read this Blog have ties to this beautiful country.

We have put together a two week visit to Taiwan beginning in early November 2011.

Have you considered returning to Taiwan, visiting the old places to see what's happened since you left?  You should consider coming along with us in November.

We will travel around the island, taking in many of the sights, some of the old bases and best of all, experiencing a tour with other "old hands" that once called Taiwan home during their assignments.

Everyone has a story, imagine the stories you will hear along the way as our bus makes its way around the island.

Beautiful Formosa, Taiwan, those words are so true.  You may have missed the beauty of Taiwan when you were here last time, come along on our tour and experience the beauty of this wonderful country.

And the food....Ummmmm.  

You can read about our trip and get the details HERE, look just below the US Flag for trip details.

To make the visit complete, you might want to watch this Taiwan Tourism Bureau new video on visiting the island, watch it HERE.    

Don't miss out on coming back this year.  You'll be with friends all the way.  It will be fun and exciting for all.

Have a great summer.  Hope to see you in the fall.

Here are words left on our "Guest Book" from the last 4 folks who signed in.

"Initially, I lived in the TAS dorm and worked downtown at the HSA East Compound. Later, was TDY all over the island but lived in Chia-Yi and Taichung Hostels. The best time of my life was in Taiwan!"

"I enjoyed the web site. Tainan was the best assignment of my 21 years in the USAF. Met and married my wife in Tainan. My son was born in Father Fox Hospital in Tainan. Now that we are both retired plan on going to Taipei every year. Just sent 3 months there Mar 2-May 25,2011 much has changed but it is still great. Will go back in Sep 2012. Would like to hear from others that were at Tainan."
"I spent 4 yrs with the AF at TAS. Then 20 years Navy, with two subsequent assignments in Kaohsiung and Taipei. I became a linguist and spent lots of time in Taiwan. The pictures of Taipei Air Station brought back memories. I'm sure I'll correspond with you soon and exchange information. I even attended National Taiwan Normal University, not far from TAS. I think anyone who was stationed on Taiwan, at anytime will have memories for the rest of their lives. A great place to have lived."
"CCK was my first duty assignment. Of course, at the time I hated it, I wanted to be in the States. But, I did make the most of it, went on several tours, and did enjoy the tour (Though I would never admit it to my fellow workers). CCK has been in my memories for 41 years, glad I got the assignment, and Yes, I would do it again if the Powers allowed. CCK: Thanks for the memories."
Give it some thought, consider coming along with us in November......


Friday, July 29, 2011

Attempted Hijacking of a C5A. No, It's a KC135. Wait, maybe a B-26?

A friend sent this story over to me a few days ago.  Attempted Hijacking at Tainan!

I found it interesting and thought you might enjoy reading the wire stories and hearing first hand accounts of what really happened at Tainan AB.

Let's see how much "Uncle" was involved in changing the incident for the news service wires. I have no idea where the news of the hijacking leaked from, probably out the main gate.

Below, the Sunday Stars and Stripes Newspaper article.  Sunday was November 19, 1972

This United Press International (UPI) news service article reports the aircraft was a C5 and the attempted hijacking took place on Friday November 17, 1972.

The day after the UPI article was published in the Stars and Stripes, the Associated Press (AP) News Service posts a different story on their wire, which is picked-up and published in the Stars and Stripes, depicting the aircraft as a KC135. Also, the date has changed to Saturday, November 18, 1972. Hmmmm?   You'd think the Stars and Stripes would make a correction to the article they published in Sunday's Stars and Stripes??

I bet I can guess what happened..

THERE WERE TWO ATTEMPTED HIJACKINGS,  on different dates on different type of aircraft.  Sounds palatable to me.

How about you, would you buy off on this scenario?  

You Wouldn't?  Me neither.  Let's find out what really happened.

The appearance of 2 different aircraft is not what happened.   It was 1 large C5A which was involved in the attempted hijacking. The KC135 was a cover-up story to hide the C5A from even being there. 

Remember, Uncle Sam didn’t want the public to know it was supporting the Vietnam War effort via the back door.

Makes you wonder, what really happened.  Maybe the Public Affairs Officer at Tainan had a hangover, must be something like that? You don't think so?

Below, 5 or 6 different folks, who were stationed at Tainan Air Base, write about their remembrances of that Friday, 17 November 1972.

     The plane was a priority, but security had been dropped. The C5A was on the flight line for repairs. When it landed on Tainan AFB it sucked up parachutes into it’s engines at the end of the runway when it opened the engine doors for additional braking thrust. 3 of the 4 large GE engines sustained damage.
     The plane sat of the flight line for several days awaiting replacement engines from California. Once the plane was supposedly repaired, it left and after about 45 miles or more out over the straits of Taiwan the crew noticed a leak and the plane returned to Tainan for additional repairs.
     When the planes left the first time, the rope stanchions were dropped to the ground and left laying there. SP/LE was notified that the plane had departed.
When it returned for the secondary repairs, the plane was parked in the same exact spot on the tarmac but the control tower never notified Security or SP/LE of it’s return. Hence, it never had Security details re-assigned to it once it returned.

     This C5 was originally Guarded by L/E when it first arrived PRIOR to the attempted hijacking. When the plane took off the first time,  the Tower notified L/E and SP that the plane was gone. When it returned after the leak was detected on board, the Tower never notified anyone of it’s return and needed addition guards. That was when the attempted hijacking occurred. 
     If you guys remember, the Stars and Stripes came out twice a day. 
The first edition (evening had the correct story of it being a C5A, the following morning edition had the change, and it was now called a KC-135 on a routine fueling mission. I was always amazed at how our government spun the story to hide the fact of the cargo on board the C5A.
     The Cargo was small NEW aircraft destined for countries surrounding South Vietnam. If you remember, financial support for Vietnam was faltering in the US and congress was cutting funding “in country”. We were supplying New Aircraft to the smaller countries surrounding South Vietnam, on the condition the donated their older fighters to the South Vietnamese for the war. We didn’t want that little secret let out.
     Wow !  First time I heard that story. I was recalled from downtown, as well as all the SPS and LE guys, living downtown. By the time I got to SP CSC, that kid was taken away, but CSC was still in a state of  mayhem. There were our guys, Chinese enlisted and Chinese  officers crawling out of the woodwork at  CSC.

     I was working the day shift (L/E Flight Chief) the morning after this incident happened. The C-5 was being guarded by L/E because it was considered priority C. We didn't have a man on the plane, just patrols making periodic checks. We actually had L/E in fatigues guarding the C5A on the ground, plus patrols drove by to check on the guard(s) assigned.

     The Chinese youth had a shotgun and was knocked down the steps of the AC by a crew member.  The youth did have a sawed off shotgun, approx. 21 inches in length, from about 1 ½ inches behind the “V” of the pistol grip in the stock to the tip of the barrel..

Mid shift L/E apprehended the one individual and turned him over to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)   OSI were from China and the hijacking was meant to be a major embarrassment to the US and Taiwan military relationship. 

     I never heard anything about any other individuals being involved or any being trained as a pilot.

     I was the WSS Flight Chief on duty when that C5 was hijacked.  LE didn't respond to the C5.   The Desk Sgt (is L/E) called CSC and said only that the C5 crew wanted to see me right away.  My SAT and I arrived at the same time. Not sure WHY? We were all on the same radio.
     We took the hijacker from the flight crew and locked him in a cell at CSC.  OSI didn't arrive until we'd already turned him over to FAMP and 3 big Chinese in orange flight suits. Yes, the only holding Cell was located at CSC.

     I was on loan from LE to security because I had a driver's license and was the driver of the SAT or Reserve SAT old Dodge 6 pack. I remember alot of finger pointing between a couple of guys. I also remember some of those that arrived from the NCO Club during the recall, would of been better staying at the club cause they weren't much help in the condition they showed up in.

     Nobody guarded C5's until after that hijack attempt.  Then they were declared Priority A and we had to rope and guard them.

     I heard about the C-5A incident after arriving at Tainan. Always thought it was one of those stories to impress the new "slick sleeves". You know like trying to get the AB to go into the CE paint shop and ask for 5 gallons of white prop wash (that one didn't work). Now, I know it was true and will file the emails in my Tainan folder. Those cops that were there have my greatest respect because it had to be TENSE during the follow-up to the incident.  

The entire time I was in the USAF, I hated the C-5. It was almost guaranteed that when one landed, it was going to break. Then there was all those ropes and stanchions that had to be put around it and light units during darkness. Had some choice nicknames for the C-5 like OLOB (One Landing, One Break) and Linda Lovelace (because of the aircraft's agility). Give me a C-141 or C-130 anytime.
Some of these recollections contradict each other, but the fact remains, there was an attempted hijacking of a C5A at Tainan Air Base in November 1972.

To help you understand some of the Acronyms found in the information above: 
SP = Security Police
L/E = Law Enforcement
SPS = Security Police Squadron
CSC = Central Security Command
OSI = Office of Special Investigations
WSS = Weapons Security Systems
FAMP = Foreign Affairs Military Police
SAT = Strategic Assault team
PSAT=Primary Strategic Assault Team
RSAT= Reserve Strategic Assault Team

 You've read the first hand accounts of how this hijacking went down. These men were there and lived the day.  Their accounts are what REALLY happened.

In today's world,  the news of an attempted hijacking of a military aircraft probably would not even make the news for a day or two.  Back in the Day, the hijacking incident was BIG news in Tainan and quickly made the wire services.

Another story from our days in Taiwan.  What days they were.......

Monday, July 25, 2011

CCK Welcome Booklet

Here is the cover of the USAF CCK Welcome Booklet published around 1970.  

Clarence Spohn who was stationed at CCK from December 1968 through March 1971 sent over a complete copy of the booklet.  Lots of information and photos that will bring back memories I'm sure.

 Here is that same building pictured on the booklet cover above. This photo was taken a few months ago.

The building now houses the ROCAF CCK Museum. The building was completely remodeled and additional wings have been added.  It is an interesting and informative museum to visit.

The US Footsteps Museum, highlighting USAF history on CCK opened a short time ago and it is housed in the old Base Chapel, which was also completely remodeled.

You can go through the Welcome Booklet beginning - HERE. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back to Business

 Last Saturday morning about 8:00 AM I was struck by, what I thought was food poising.  Stomach ache, severe rolling intestinal pains, swelling of my large intestine, high fever, and treks to the bath tub to regurgitate my last meal.

This went on for more than 24 hours, but did begin to taper off and the pain got somewhat less, Sunday morning.  While I was laying on my couch listening to one of the Sunday Morning News programs, the door bell rang.  I did not get up thinking it couldn't be family, they would have just came inside.  The bell rang again.  I walked outside through my garage to see who was at the door.  Two men approached, it was the folks who visit your street and mine regularly, I won't call them by name, JW, they left me a track.  I told the man who spoke with me that I could not talk with him, I was in pain, thought I had food poising and was still recovering.  He asked me what my symptoms were, I explained.  He said, you know, two of my friends had the same symptoms and they had Diverticulosis.  He wished me well and they walked off. 

I opened the computer and looked up Diverticulosis.  Hummmmm, could be my problem.  Then I looked up Appendicitis, it could be.  My lower tummy really ached when I pushed a finger down in the area of the Appendix. The drawings show the appendix is hooked onto the large intestine. Could be my problem.

After much thought, I decided I better visit the hospital.  My daughter drove me, I checked into the ER at Tripler AMC late Sunday morning and at 5:30 Sunday afternoon, I was in the operating room at Tripler to undergo a Laparoscopic Appendectomy.  The Docs said my appendix was more than twice normal size and most likely would have burst open within 6 hours.

Why do I tell you this story?  

You never know what blessing will come your way. The persistent door-bell ringing could have been a life saver had my Appendix ruptured and it's poisons spilled into my body cavity.  It's certainly a possibility.

Had these men not come to my door, I would have probably waited one more day to visit the doctor.
My pain was less severe and I was thinking it might be going away,  until I got on the computer to read up on Diverticulosis and Appendicitis.  .

Coincidence or Blessing.  You know my answer.

Thanks to all the folks at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu - Great job.

Kudos to Dr. Lim, his interns, the operating room staff and the Tripler staff who were just superb.

I won't tell you anymore stories of my medical ills, but I had to tell this one because of those 2 men who visited my home last Sunday morning.  Did they save my life? 

Tomorrow I begin again.... 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Taiwan News Video in English

 Formosa News Logo

Many who read this Blog are not familiar with "Formosa News" a news site which delivers a number of Taiwan News stories each day in English.

Let me help you hook up with this site and guide you through the steps to watch the various daily videos.

HERE is the Formosa News site,  click on the news site.

The web site opens on the Formosa News Home Page.

You will notice a number of articles, each paragraphed alone.

To watch the video on any of the subjects, CLICK on the subject line of the article.

The video will pop up, but will not begin to play until you click on the bottom left of the video.

The video will download in a few moments and automatically begin playing.  If it does not start, just click on the right pointing arrow on the bottom of the video.

Watch the video, when it closes, you can then choose another subject from the list on the right hand side of your screen called, "Other News."

After clicking on a new subject, the story you just watched will disappear and the new story will appear in the upper left side of your screen.   When you see the Video box, double click on the lower left side of the video box, which will then load the video and you must then click again on the right facing arrow to get the video to play.

Lots of steps to watch the news videos, but, they are in English and I believe these may be the only English language news videos available in Taiwan.

Were you able to view the videos?