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

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:

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