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

Friday, December 28, 2012

45 Year Old Sport Shirts from Quality Tailor Shop in Taipei See Light of Day

Yesterday, I removed Christmas decorations from the outside of the house, boxed and stacked them back on their shelf area inside the garage.  

My car was out on the streetThe garage looked OK except for a few items that sat on the floor awaiting shelf space. A daughter brought over a single mattress and left it with me.  I forget why.  I needed to get the mattress back against the wall and the only way to find wall space was to rearrange the garage.  

It took 3 or 4 hours to get everything in place.  I don't work very fast, you know, a cup of coffee, bathroom break, get a cold bottle of water from the icebox, then take a mid-morning break, grab a tangerine from the tree in the back yard, sit down and watch Fox News on the old garage TV, eat the tangerine.  Lots of excuses to stop and rest.  No rush when you're retired huh.....

While I was moving boxes around, I came across an old HP Printer box.  One of my daughters had labeled the top,  "Dad's old clothes."  The box was from the early 90's, too long ago to remember what was in it.  I decided to open it up.

It was filled tightly to the top with all sorts of my old clothes. Clothing from Taiwan, Okinawa, the US, Italy, and Hawaii, where I now reside when not in Taiwan

I started going through the box examining each piece, the ones that had stains went in the rubbish can.   I ended up pitching 80 per cent of the items. The  items that were clean, I put aside for my oldest grandson.  He came by my house last night and wanted all of the sport shirts and pants I had laid aside for him.  Whether he wears them or not, who knows, but he just might start a fashion trend within his group, wearing Grand Dads old shirts and slacks.

The sweetest finds inside the box were these two sport shirts, tailored by Quality Tailor and Shoe Company  They were ordered in March or April 1968, just prior to  leaving Taiwan.  

I also ordered 6 suits and a couple of sport jackets from Mr. Loo's East Compound Tailor shop.

These two shirts are in remarkable shape.  They are both cotton.  

The blue is made of a heavier grade of cotton than the green shirt.
You just don't find the heavy cotton fabric in shirts bought off the shelf today.

Quality Tailor label from shirt.

Quality Tailor shop sat on Jiu Quan Street  just west of the north-west corner of Chung Shan North Road



This Google Earth photo shows the area of the old Quality Tailor and Shoe Company.

Quality Tailor sat right along the sidewalk, along Jiu Quan street, where that silver van is parked across the street.

The Main Officer's Club wall fence made a 90 degree turn here, coming down the hill and turning along the sidewalk as it ran along side where those vehicles are parked today. 

Anyone have an old photo of Quality Tailor Shop?

Photo courtesy USTDC Blog
Here's that (O'Club) MAAG Officer's Open Mess Taipei circa 1960, as it faced toward Chung Shan North Road. Jiu Quan street was a short distance off to the left of this photo.

Jiu Quan street was taken out, starting on the corner of Chung Shan North Road, westward to where the Metro Station (MRT) sits today.    The street was removed when the Taipei Floral Exposition began construction on the grounds area of the old HSA West Compound, they left the Football Stadium standing, but took out everything all the way north to the old Zoo area and Children's Park.   I should note that the Temple and buildings were not removed, however, the Floral Exposition was constructed all around the Temple grounds, on the west side of Chung Shan North Road.  

The Taipei Floral Exposition took-in all of the property on either side of Chung Shan North road from Minzu Road northward, (except the old Roma Hotel building) to the Keelung River, except for the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Taipei Story House, both of which sat just next to the Keelung River at the north end of the HSA East Compound.

If you go to Google Earth today, and look down on the old East and West HSA Compounds, they're gone, you only see the Floral Exposition remains. 

To see how it looked before the Floral Expo, move your mouse to the top of the Google Earth page and point your mouse on the clock icon, left click your mouse, it opens into a time-line bar running left to right.  Left click your mouse and hold it down as you move the time-line and picture along the bar until you reach 12/30/2006, release your finger from the mouse.

Now you can see the old areas of the East and West Compounds before the Floral Exposition began construction, and Jiu Quan Street still existed off Chung Shan North Road, you can see cars and trucks on the street.

I don't recall what those shirts cost. I'm sure they were reasonably priced, probably $4.00 to $5.00 each, and of course, they were tailored to fit perfectly. I probably ordered 10 or 12 shirts, maybe more, since I needed long sleeved shirts for for my new suits.  

In a previous post to this blog, a number of years ago, I wrote of Mr. Loo's Tailor Shop in the East Compound.  A number of Comments were left on that post, here are two, talking about Quality Tailor...

          Jim said... 
"I was at Taipei American School from 1972 until 1978. Someone mentioned a tailor right around the corner from the MAAG O club. It might have been Quality Tailor. The shop was literally built into the side of the club grounds on the street running from Chungshan north road east towards the Embassy shop.The HSA East compound was on the other side of this street. I had many items made there throughout my stay. My old man used to bring in one Brooks Brothers shirt and tell them: " Give me two dozen just like it." Save for the label, you couldn't tell the difference. $4 US each custom fitted. Talk about perks." 

ferguson6552 said... 

"There was also a tailor and shoe maker right around the corner from the       MAAGOOM (Officers' Club) who made up jackets and boots for countless GIs. We had them make up jacket patches for the gangs we belonged to at Taipei American School - I was in "The Cards" and my patch was the King of Clubs. I also planned to have the boot maker make a bright red pair of Beatle boots, but couldn't quite scrape together the money before I left Taiwan. 

You can still pick up tailored shirts and suits in Taiwan.  There are a number of shops scattered around the area from Min Quan East Road northward to Minzu East Road.

They still tailor shirts and suits for you.  I've seen prices posted in their windows, but would expect the window prices are for the very lowest quality goods.

Most of us will have to settle for shirts and suits off the rack unless you're ready to fork over the big bucks for quality silk and wool suits with a couple of free shirts thrown in.

Come to think of it, being retired, who needs more than one suit anyway?

Have you got any photos from your days?

Send us an Email, here's our address:


Any of you old timer's or others who are just getting started on your new computer, and are trying to figure out how to read all of the stories on this and other places, just write, using the address above.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Dinner at the MAAG Officer's Open Mess Headquarters Annex

Today, Christmas 2012..

45 years ago,  on Christmas Day, 1967, I was working at the MAAG Officer's Open Mess Headquarters Annex in Taipei. 

Many of you have never heard of this club.  

The club was located down a Lane across from the MAAG Headquarters complex north of National Taiwan University.

The club buildings were behind tall rock walls, not a place you could see from the road.

It's clientele were mostly "civilian clothing folks" employed by those type organizations in the Taipei area.  Chiang's sons and family visited the club occasionally. Foreign Embassies, Missionaries, and organizations dealing with the US in Taiwan, all used the club facilities for gatherings and parties. There were a few military folks around, but for the most part, the "civilians" kept the club busy and we catered to them.

Just about every night, there were two or three special gatherings or parties in the club's private dining rooms.  The club had marvelous food, so folks had no hesitation when invited to functions at the club, the food and atmosphere were first class.

The club was an Annex of the MAAG Officer's Open Mess on Chung Shan North Road.  It was run by an active duty Army Master Sergeant, Francis Valley.  Frank hired 3 or 4 military folks to help him supervise the operation of the club in the evenings, on weekends and holidays.

That's where I came in.  I was hired on July 4th 1966 and worked at the club until June 1968 when I left Taiwan. The job kept money in my pocket and taught me new skills that would come into my life, years later.

Let's drive out to the club.  For you who knew your way around Taipei, the map shows where the club was located.

Click or double click on the map for a larger, clear view.

As you drove on Sinyi Road, this HQ MAAG sign pointed the way to the club entrance.

Google Earth view of the old MAAG Headquarters complex and Officer's Club, circa 2007.

The club's physical size was probably larger than the main club on Chung Shan N. Road.

In 2008, the club and all the other buildings in the club compound (orange and yellow roofs) were torn down.   
The lot was vacant until mid-2012, when construction began on a new high- rise structure.

I will update the blog when the new building is completed and opened.

Cool, drizzly and overcast, typical Taipei weather in late December.

Welcome to the Headquarter's Annex O'Club.

Are those your guests waiting at the front door?

As you park your car, this Christmas Nativity scene greets our visitors.

As your enter the club, there's always a smile and welcome greeting from our cashiers.

Santa Claus with his bag full of goodies, greets us from the stone wall of lobby area.

We celebrate Christmas.

One of the private dining rooms with fire place, Poinsettias and Christmas wreath.

One of the larger private dining rooms displays a large Christmas mural.

A club employee examining the Christmas tree decorations.

The main dining room.  An inviting, larger than life, Christmas scene.

Bringing home to our guests,  the feelings and memories of Christmas .

Hope your Christmas was shared with family, loved ones and guests.

Before we leave, I would like to introduce you to some of our club employees.

These hard working men and women made the club such an exciting place to visit.

Gathered in front of the Christmas tree, a few of the folks who worked at the MAAG Headquarters Annex O'Club..

In the center, club manager Frank Valley,  and his son Frank Jr.

Shaking hands, Frank Jr. and Jimmie, the manager overseeing our local employees.

Also, some of the office staff, cooks and kitchen help, janitors, bartenders, waiters, barbers, maintenance and other staff.  I recognize all of their faces, but cannot call their names, forgive me.

There were many more employees who were not in the photo above.

Thank you to all of the Taiwan men and women who made the club such a success. 

Merry Christmas to all..... 

Kent Mathieu

Would love to see more photos from your time in Taiwan. Photos are historic.

Let's get together and talk, please Email me at:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

Today's article is quite long; lots of interesting photos and tidbits of information.  
Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, take your time as you move down the pages.

 It wasn't that many years ago, when you and I spent our first Christmas in Taiwan.

US military were scattered all over the island and a few men were on islands off the coast.

Most of us were alone, away from our families.

Ninety percent of us were single, or serving an Unaccompanied Tour.   

 Christmas Dinner was served in the Mess Hall, Chow Hall, Dining Facility, Galley, or maybe on a kitchen table at a remote site.  

Many of us had no where to eat except at one of the military clubs, or in the Hostel at one of the remote sites scattered around Taiwan and in the Taiwan Strait.

Those Christmas days are easily remembered,  forever fixed in our minds.

Let's take a look back at some of the places you may have had Christmas Dinner.

By no means will we view every placewe don't have photos.

If you have a photo we don't show, please send it in. 

We'll start in the Taipei area and move southward, down the island.

Please click or double click on each photo to see a larger view of the picture.

Photo courtesy S. Ellinger - 1968 Chevy Del Ray thanks to Dan at

  Merry Christmas!   Santa prepares to land on the roof....  

MAAG NCO Open Mess   Club 63 - Taipei

Christmas Dinner complimentary for club members.

Photo courtesy Bruce Rayle - circa 1958  

MAAG Officer's Open Mess - Chung Shan North Road - Taipei 

If you look closely, the front entrance door has the letters - USOOMT 

Many officer's and civilians enjoyed Christmas dinner in this club.

If you were familiar with Taipei, you will enjoy this book     
Taipei Officer's Club is part of the story.


 Photo courtesy of Shulinkou Web Site

A short distance south of the USOOMT, on Minzu East Road sits 

 Linkou Club Annex 
or the Linkou Club as most folks in Taipei called it.

In the early days, prior to late 1969, Minzu East Road, seen above, did not exist.
To enter the club, you walked down a sidewalk located just outside the HSA East Compound gate.  

If you look closely, there are Christmas lights strung along the top of the white building, the Linkou Hotel.

A couple of blocks south on Chung Shan North Road, you take a right turn into an alley about half a block before the Florida Bakery, and you find: 

 Photo courtesy Taipei Signal Army Blog

This building, originally housed the Fleet Reserve Association, Branch 193, Taipei.
Later, the Fleet Reserve Association closed the building and moved to Tienmu.  

The Navy Exchange re-opened the building as the Sea Dragon Club. 

The building served as the Taiwan R&R Processing Center.

There were two entrances to the buildingThis entrance was the rear.   

This photo was taken from the lane that ran north and south.  
The camera is looking eastward.  Chung Shan North Road would have been one or two buildings farther east on the other side of the building.   

The entrance on the opposite side of the building opened to the downstairs area of the club, where R&R processing took place.

Upstairs, a dining room, stag bar, etc. 

Uncounted thousands of troops processed through this building during the Vietnam War period. 

Many GI's had the "time of their life" in Taipei while here on their R&R.  

What fate awaited many of these young men on their return to RVN?

We continue south along Chung Shan North Road, crossing the Railroad tracks, Taipei Main Station jusa short distance to our right.

A few blocks further south, Chung Shan North Road ends and we enter Roosevelt Road. 

To the best of my knowledge, there were two roads in the Taipei area given American names by the Chiang Administration:

Roosevelt Road in honor of President Roosevelt.
MacArthur Thruway in honor of General Douglas MacArthur. 
We will have a blog post on these two in 2013. 

A mile or so farther south on Roosevelt Road, we go left around the traffic circle, turn right onto a small street and see the Taipei Air Station main gate a few yards ahead on our left.

Photo courtesy Rick Ferch circa 1965

Here, just a short distance inside the Air Station gate....

  Club 13  Taipei Air Station NCO Open Mess.

The base Dining Hall,  the "Charger Inn," opened on 1 January 1967.

Prior to it's opening, you ate at Club 13 or the Air Station Officer's Club.

Christmas Dinner at Club 13 --  "on the house" for Club 13 members. 

The interior of the "Charger Inn" chow hall at Taipei Air Station.
No outside view photo available. 

There was a small Officer's Club on the Air Station close to the Post Office.
(No Photo Available.) 

We drive back to Highway 1 and make our way up to Shu Linkou Air Station.

Photo courtesy of Shulinkou Web Site

Shu Linkou NCO Club,  Shu Linkou Air Station.

Photo courtesy of Shulinkou Web Site

 Shu Linkou Air Station also had a Dining Hall. 

 Dragon Inn

Dragon Inn won the coveted Hennessy Trophy for "Best" Air Force Dining Facility"  four times over the years.

A reader of this blog left the following remark concerning Dragon Inn:  

 "The dining hall at SLK was always a highlight. One year when they didn’t win the Hennessy Trophy, they were so embarrassed they remodeled the whole place (new fountain and fish pond among other things,) and added a row of Hibachi cookers out back so, when you went through the line, you were asked if you wanted your meat cooked or smoked."

Can imagine the Christmas Dinner they served, the food must have been scrumptious.....

We make our way back to Highway 1, and head south toward  Hsinchu.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Rayle
Hsinchu Officer's Club

If you look just above the beer bottles and cans on the back wall of the bar area, you'll see Hsinchu Officer's Club in wooden letters.

This was a MAAG club.

It's the Christmas season, notice the red Poinsettia flowers behind the man with the microphone.

Also located in Hsinchu was the Hsinchu Branch of MAAG NCO Open Mess "Club 63" 

Unfortunately we have never seen a photo of the club, do you have one?

Here's a page from the menu of the Hsinchu Branch.

Photo courtesy Steven Michael Sitar via CCK Facebook Page

  If you drove up and down Highway 1, you probably stopped at this club.  

There was a sign along the highway advertising the NCO Club.

Hsinchu is approximately half way between Taipei and Taichung. 

 It was a great place to stop, have a sandwich and relax before heading back out to Highway 1 and on to your destination.

It was referred to and know as the "Halfway Club" to many.

Here, the interior of the Mess Hall at Hsinchu Air Base, 1958.
This building looks like one of the Japanese Era concrete hangers.
I don't believe the US constructed any buildings at Hsinchu. 

There were many air squadrons on TDY status at Hsinchu during this time.

This Mess Hall would have served Christmas Dinner to these and other men.

Smoke-um if you got um....   

Photo courtesy of Bruce Rayle. See Bruce's Hsinch story HERE

 The altar at the newly constructed Hsinchu Cathedral, prepared for it's very first Christmas Midnight Mass.  
Photo taken before Mass on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1958.

Our next stop, CCK Air Base.

Photo courtesy Randy Van Meter via CCK Facebook

CCK Base Christmas Tree 1967

To the best of my knowledge, Kung Kuan Air Base had no clubs on the base before 1966.

In 1966, the base mushroomed in size and the first on-base clubs opened.

 Club 36 and the MAAG Officer's Club in Taichung served Kuan Kuan and later CCK. 

Photo courtesy George McGuire via CCK Facebook Page 

 CCK NCO Open Mess

Nice, new, large facility.

CCK Airmen's Club

This photo lifted from the You Tube Video:

Memories of CCK Air Base Taiwan 1969 - an outstanding film, watch it  HERE.

If you ever visited the Airman's Club, I bet you recognize this front door.

 Photo courtesy of Tom Periera via CCK Facebook

A coffee cup gift for club members.

Photo courtesy of Clarence Spohn.
CCK Officer's Club

I visited CCK a couple of years ago and took many photos of the base.
 One of the buildings we stopped at, and were able to get inside of, was the old Officer's Club, seen above.  The trees are taller today, bent over from the prevailing winds, but still standing for the most part.

The club is still partially furnished.  The kitchen seemed intact, the old stainless steel serving line in the lunch dining room is still available for use, sparkling clean. Four person table fill the lunch line dining room area, much as it looked back-in-the-day.

It was my understanding that the building is now used Only for "Official Base Functions."

You can see Clarence Spohn's photos of CCK  HERE.

  You might want to join the CCK Facebook Page  HERE

 Photo courtesy of Clarence Spohn.circa 1969.

One of the two Chow Halls at CCK, this one located on Exchange Blvd.

HO HO HO, there's Lots More To Go...

 We move on toward Taichung City...

 Photo courtesy of Paul Brown via CCK Facebook Page

Taichung area MAAG Officer's Open Mess and Motel 

It is my understanding that the club and motel burned down.

There was another Officer's Club in Taichung, which still stands

The club building was remodeled and serves today as a Buddhist Center.

Photo courtesy USTDC Blog
MAAG NCO Club 36 Taichung circa 1959

The first Club 36 in Taichung.   Standing outside, the Club Manager.

Notice the neon sign, the 1950's were different in Taiwan.

Card expiration date 31 December 1960.
This is a cash "chit" - a short term loan club members could get.
$2.00 would get you dinner and a few beers.

Photo courtesy  C-130 Hercules.Net  

MAAG NCO Club 36 Taichung circa 1966

The club moved from downtown to this building sometime between 1960-1965.

From the looks of the paint, it's been up and running a few years.

New construction going up on the left side, looks like an extension to the club building. Notice the tall rebar columns on the left side of the club building, it was a good sized addition.

The Fire Marshall had placed a restriction on the number of people that could occupy the building

CCK was overwhelmed with new assignees. In January 1966, there were 550 personnel assigned, by the end of December 1966,  the number had grown to 4,000.  

99+% were single and/or unaccompanied, there were no on-base clubs, so everyone went to Taichung and most ended up at Club 36 or the Officer's Club. 

You can imagine the dilemma Club 36 faced every day, it was packed. 
 Imagine the weekend crowds..

I remember going to Club 36 a few times in 1966 and 1967.  Once we were turned away, the club was full.  It was a mad house inside. 

Of course there were many who visited the local bars.

The bar street was not far from Club 36, there was a steady flow of folks in and out of Club 36 all evening.

It could get testy late in the evening.. You can imagine...

Does someone know the story on this building, and what went on.  Please write in.

We move south to Chiayi.

 Booklet courtesy Roger Chuang of Kaohsiung

We had US Air Force military folks at Chiayi Air Base to service aircraft and crews send in on TDY rotations to support the CAF.

 The name of the club in Chiayi was "Top of the Mark."  It was probably in town, close to the Chiayi Hostel. We have no photos.

Our military moved out of Chiayi Air Base in 1968.

Messing facilities at Chiayi Air Base Fall of 1958.

These and other men would have probably had Christmas Dinner here in 1958.  
Potable drinking water available in the Lister Bag. 

Wonder what's written on white boards hanging above the Lister Bag?
  The kitchen was probably inside the building to the right. There must have been dining tables inside also.

The outside tables could have something to do with the weather. 

Air conditioning was not something the Taiwan military would have installed in these old Chiayi buildings in 1968.

We head out the gate and onward toward Tainan.

Who said there was never an Airmen's Open Mess at Tainan..... circa mid to late 1950s 

Club management scooters, are these Vespas? 

The inside was probably pretty nice..  After a few beers, everything looks good!  

 Does someone remember these two facilities?  Please write to us. 

Here, the first US Dining Hall building on Tainan Air Station, after the tents came down..

The Airmen's Open Mess photo above, is strikingly familiar to this photo.

The only argument to the two photos being the same, the trees behind this photo.

You might enjoy looking back at old photos of the early days at Tainan.

Jim Nelson contributed lots of photos from the late1950's time period.

Jim's photos can be found  HERE. 

Christmas dinner was served at both buildings..

These old structures probably came down in the early 1960s.

Wishing you a very, Merry Christmas...

Photo courtesy Ralph Henricks circa 1967-1969

  Tainan Dining Hall

Tainan was unique, they established a compound area about 5 miles outside of the base, called Tainan Recreation Center (TRC) 

Inside the TRC were the Officer's and NCO Open Messes, package store, snack bar, youth center, rod and gun club, barber shop, beauty shop, tennis and basket ball courts.

Photo courtesy Ed Wexler circa 1969-1972 - More Ed Wexler Photos HERE.

  Tainan Officer's Open Mess 

across the parking lot sat....


Tainan NCO Open Mess

The NCO Club, better know as the Magambo Club.

Photo courtesy Bill Gray circa 1956
 Tainan MAAG NCO Club  

Don't know where this building was located.  Can help us with location.
It looks like a really nice place.

Photo courtesy Larry Michel circa 1968-1970, see more of  Larry's Photos HERE

Hidden gem of a restaurant over at the US Navy Detachment on Tainan Air Base. 

 Fly-A-Way Restaurant

 A reader left this note on the blog:  "LCdr Lew Mitchell, was something of a gourmet cook and took great pride in the food served in his restaurant." 

"I enjoyed many a lunch at the Fly-A-Way. Among other things, it had the best burgers in town." 

Getting close to the Kaohsiung area...

Photo courtesy Larry Fields via S. Ellinger

MAAG NCO Open Mess Kaohsiung 

No information available on location of this facility.

Photo courtesy Don Burkley via Tainan AB Facebook Page 

This photo may have been taken earlier than the photo above.

Photo courtesy David Putnam, circa 1954 - more of David's photos HERE.

Sea Dragon Club Kaohsiung 
 Club entrance on first floor.  Second and third floors enlisted, roof, Officer's Club.

Looks like a nice facility.  The building was packed when one of our Navy ships visited Kaohsiung on Liberty.

Photo courtesy S. Ellinger

 This Kaohsiung building is believed to have housed the 

US MAAG Officer's Open Mess Kaohsiung  
It now houses a Taiwan Military Club.

So little is know about our military in Kaohsiung.

Can you help us?

Best Wishes 
Christmas 2012.

Be sure to visit our Blog on Christmas Day (US Time Zone)
We'll take a trip out to the O'Club Annex in Taipei, just before Christmas.

God Bless ....

Please let us hear from you.  Your thoughts, expeiences and photographs are welcome.

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