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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Taiwan Celebrates the New Year

Happy New Year - 2014..

Best wishes from the folks at Taipei Air Station.

The Taipei Times newspaper lead story this New Year's morning found HERE.

Raw video, no music, from Taipei 101 building this New Year 2014 

Check-in frequently for more stories and photos from around the island as we remember our assignments in Taiwan, Back-in-the-day.

A beautiful pot of Red Poinsettias greet visitors outside of the Taipei Air Station Gate in January 2008, 29 years after we turned out the lights!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Dear Friends,

It's the time of year when we come together to celebrate with family and friends.

For me, it's the best time of year. 

I hope this Christmas overflows with joy and happiness in your life. 

My heartfelt thanks to each of you.  Your support and help is sincerely appreciated.

May God Bless you.

My friends, Merry Christmas to each one of you.... 

Kent Mathieu
Taipei Air Station Blog and Web Pages

Kent with some of my Hawaii Family - Christmas 2013.

I don't have any new materiel to present this Christmas.

Perhaps you might have some photos in your files you could share with others.  Please send them in.

Many new folks reading these pages may not have seen our Christmas Post from last year, so I've decided to link some previous Christmas posts below.

  Hope you'll find a reminder of Christmas days you spent in Taiwan.

 Our Blog Post for:   Christmas 2012

Our Blog Post for:    Christmas 2011

And, in Chinese Traditional Christmas Carols   Link courtesy of Patrick Dreizehnter - Remembering Taiwan.

Christmas Music from KLUX Radio in Corpus Christi Texas  HERE.

If you would like to see other Christmas posts on our Taipei Air Station Blog, go to the search box, which is located along the right hand side of the blog, type in the word,  Christmas.  

A list of posts from earlier years will appear on top of the blog. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Time Management During Retirement

Drifting a bit off subject today, knowing many readers of this blog are in retirement or will be shortly, I thought it appropriate that this piece be passed along to those experiencing or contemplating retirement.

The writer was not identified (probably too embarrassed.)

A Few years ago, my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida's southeast coast. We are living in the "Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-Hachee". There are 3,000 lakes in Florida; only three are real.

Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Our days are eaten up by simple, daily activities. Just getting out of our car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where we parked takes 20 minutes. It takes a half-hour in the check-out line in Wal-Mart, and 1 hour to return the item the next day.

Let me take you through a typical day: We get up at 5:00 am, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning Walk-and-Fart Club. There are about 30 of us, and rain or shine, we walk around the streets, all talking at once. Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6:00 am. After a nimble walk, avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and change for the next activity.

My wife goes directly to the pool for her underwater Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my 'Ask me about my Grandchildren' T-shirt, my plaid mid-calf shorts, my black socks and sandals and go to the clubhouse lobby for a nice nap.

Before we know it, it's time for lunch. We go to Costco to partake of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets. All free! After a filling lunch, if we don't have any doctor appointments, we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00.

We're usually back home by 2:00 pm to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird about 3:00 pm, but we get there by 3:45 because we're late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. We can take home enough food for the next day's lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, packets of mustard, relish, ketchup and Splenda, along with mints.

At 5:30 pm we're home, ready to watch the 6 o'clock news. By 6:30 pm we're fast asleep. Then we get up and make five or six trips to the bathroom during the night, and it's time to get up and start a new day all over again.

Doctor-related activities eat up most of our retirement time. I enjoy reading old magazines in sub-zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don't mind. Calling for test results also helps the days fly by. It takes at least a half-hour just getting through the doctor's phone menu. Then there's the hold time until we're connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget we're holding, and the whole office goes off to lunch.

Should we find we still have time on our hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for 'The Vertically Challenged Over 80.' I coach their basketball team, The Arthritic Avengers. The hoop is only 4-1/2 feet from the floor. You should see the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk.

Food shopping is a problem for short seniors, or 'bottom feeders' as we call them, because they can't reach the items on the upper shelves. There are many foods they've never tasted. After shopping, most seniors can't remember where they parked their cars and wander the parking lot for hours while their food defrosts.

Lastly, it's important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida. They convey world travelers, uppity sophistication and wealth. Where would you rather live: Murray's Condos or the Lakes of Venice? There's no difference -- they're both owned by Murray, who happens to be a cheap bastard.

I hope this material has been of help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you're in Florida. I live in the Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach.

What do they say?, Laughter is the best medicine....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our Taipei Air Station Web Site is Back-On-Line..

While I was visiting Taiwan this fall, the folks who handle the Taipei Air Station Web Pages moved the storage location of the site to another server.

Changing the location, necessitated a change in the Internet address.

Good news this morning.

Everything is back in order, and the Web Page is again operating.

If you would like to visit the web pages ->  HERE

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Sunday – Off Subject - “Bi-Lingual” Smile!

I received this little story in the mail. It was too good to pass up - I hope you enjoy it.  
Translation courtesy of a previous reader.

George Phillips, an elderly man, from Walled Lake, Michigan, was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.


He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?"


He said "No, but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me."


Then the police dispatcher said "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available."


George said, "Okay."

He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both, the dogs are eating them right now." and he hung up.

Within five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic, and an Ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.


One of the Policemen said to George, "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"


Sometimes it's necessary to think "outside of the box."

Friday, November 22, 2013

MAAG Joint Flight Operations at Sung Shan Air Base - UPDATED

I recently received an Email from a woman whose father was stationed at Sung Shan AB during 1972-1974. 

She is very interested finding anyone who may have known her father, Henry Roland Carman, who was called,  "Jersey."

Henry worked at Sung Shan AB in MAAG Flight Operations Section.  She is not absolutely sure what his job was. 
Henry was killed in an automobile accident in Taipei, in 1974.

Click on the photo for a larger view.

This is really an extraordinary piece of art!
Take a real close look, there's lots of interesting stuff to be found in the drawing. 

Henry is pouring liquid on the left inside engine of the USTDC C-54 aircraft.

You would assume, these were the men assigned to Flight Ops during 72-73.

Here's a photo of Henry circa 1970s, during his assignment in Taiwan.
Perhaps someone remembers Henry, or for that matter, another Airman in the drawing/photos above, please write to us.

UPDATE - 25 November 2013

A reader of this blog who knew Henry Emailed us after reading the story above.

We forwarded the Email to Henry's daughter.

Good things happen!



Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day in Taiwan

Remembrance Day, celebrated on the 11th day of November, is also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day in Commonwealth countries, and Veterans Day in the United States.

Yesterday, Sunday, 10 November 2013, I attended a beautiful Remembrance Day Service, held  on the grounds of the Kinkaseki Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial in Jinguashi, Taiwan. Jinquashi is a short distance east of Keelung, along the northern Pacific coast.

The Memorial was constructed on the site of the Japanese Kinkaseki Prisoner Of War (POW) Camp. The only evidence of the old POW camp is a gate post and a short portion of an old wall, which sits along the edge of the new memorial area.

A beautiful Sunday morning.  It was uncommonly warm and sunny, in the mid 80s, when our bus arrived at the old camp area.  The location of the camp can be seen by lifting and dropping these coordinates into the Google Earth search box. 25° 06' 38.6"N 121° 51' 30.4"E  I believe the "street view" of the Memorial area was recorded before the Memorial was completed.

The ceremonies were conducted under the aspects of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, headed by Michael Hurst.  Michael is the Director of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society.

Some may ask, POW Camps in Taiwan?  Yes, there were 14 different POW Camps located on the island.

This year, there were a number of Prisoner of War family members in attendance. They came from afar to visit the camps where their relatives had been imprisoned during the Second World War.

Please take some time to read about the men who were in the Taiwan POW Camps. 

It kind of puts a knot in your stomach when you think of what these POWs went through, day after day, night after night, never a day or moment away from the surroundings and physical and mental pain of the camps. Words cannot truly describe what these men encountered during their imprisonment in Taiwan, and many of these men, had arrived in Taiwan from other POW camps in Asia.  As I write these words, my heart aches.. We must never forget these, and other men, who lost their lives, for you and me.  And for those who endured their time in these camps, and survived, thank you.  God Bless each of you....

 I know that it's quite difficult to read the words.  I've copied the words.


In November 1942, over 500 British Commonwealth and Allied prisoners of war, captured in the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore, were brought to the POW camp formerly located on this site.  The number later rose to over 1,000 men.

Forced to work under extremely harsh and unsafe conditions in the nearby copper mine, the prisoners suffered injury, disease, starvation and cruel treatment at the hands of their guards.  Consequently, many died.

In late 1944, the Japanese had an access tunnel build from the back of the camp to the mine, under the pretext of making it easier for the prisoners to go to work.  In reality, and in the event of American forces landing on Taiwan, the Japanese High Command had ordered that the tunnel was to be used to "kill all of the prisoners and leave no trace".  The original annihilation order, found in 1946 by those investigating wartime atrocities, and one of only two copies ever discovered, is now in the US National Archives in Washington, DC.

A friendly Taiwanese guard secretly informed six of the prisoners of the plan, but fortunately no invasion came.  The prisoners were later moved to another camp near Taipei where they stayed for the remainder of the war.

This memorial pays tribute to all the men who were interned here, and also to those brave Taiwanese who showed sympathy to them.

Today, all that remains of the camp are the wall and gate post which are situated to the right beyond the pavilion.


Kinkaseki Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial grounds.

The Kinkaseki Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial grounds.  Seen in the background, the tent where the ceremony was conducted.  In front of the tent, flags of Taiwan and f the countries of the Allied military men imprisoned in Taiwan POW camps.

Striking photograph of our flags standing in honor, below the beautiful mountains of Taiwan in the distant haze.

Looking into the rear of the tent, standing room only.

Mark Turner, Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, opens the gathering.

Reverend Dr. Herbert Barker opens in prayer.

Mal Turner plays opening music.

Michael Hurst, Director, Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society.
I filmed Michael's message, "Remembering."
Unfortunately, the video sound was not recorded and a "silent" film would not be appropriate for this story.

Standing room only as the program continues.

Hans Song, Deputy Secretary-General, Republic of China Veterans Affairs Commission. 
Mr. Song, presented his message in English and Chinese.

Memorial Stone to the Taiwan POWs.
Easier read of the Memorial Stone.

Gathered at the Memorial Stone. 

Seven Prisoner of War family members visiting from overseas, 3 men closest to left side of stone, and 3 women and 1 man standing closest to right side of stone, pose for photographs after laying wreaths.

Wreaths to be presented at the Memorial Stone.

The Commonwealth and Allied Wreath, one of 8 wreaths presented by various groups of attendees.

Before and after the Remembrance Ceremony, many of us walked around the War Memorial grounds.

A hand drawing layout of the Kinkaseki POW Camp.

"Without a mate, No Prisoner of War could survive"
Wall of Remembrance Names - Listing all known Taiwan POWs

The "Mates" statue and the left end of the Wall of Remembrance Names seen here.

The words say what this place is all about.  We Will Never Forget!

If you're in the Taipei area, take a trip out to the  Kinkaseki Taiwan Prisoner of War Memorial grounds.  
The memorial is beautiful and the views of the mountains and surrounding areas is superb. 

If you can't get there, be sure to sign up for the bus transportation to next year's ceremony.

You can check for information on the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society web page.

One last truth from the Wall at Kinkaseki !

I am not familiar with the circumstances of how our Taiwan POWs were released from captivity and how they made their way home. 

We do know how and have film of our Vietnam War POWs return, below.

Before you leave, please  watch the American POWs return to Clark AB, Philippines.

Great piece of film..

If you liked this film, read the story on the Homecoming of our POWs at Clark Air Base,  HERE, where you can watch other films on the POW release, 40 years ago.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Include Taiwan in RIMPAC 2014 - UPDATED

In this morning's Taipei Times newspaper, a front page story reports that a formal letter has been sent from a number of congressmen to US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel asking that Taiwan be invited the the 2014 RIMPAC Exercise.

Here's the newspaper article.

And, Here's a link to RIMPAC.

LASTLY, a copy of the correspondence sent to Secretary Hagel.

This is hopefully a start to a stronger relationship with the citizens and military of Taiwan.

UPDATE - 9 November 2013

Admiral Locklear, Commander,  U.S. Pacific Command, talks around Taiwan and RIMPAC.

Read the Taipei Times newspaper article HERE.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Friends of China Club - Revisited Again

In a previous story, we talked about the Friends of China Club.

The Friends of China Club - photo courtesy of Bruce Rayle.

Being close to both the Union Building and the MAAG Headquarters, this club always had folks visiting it's bar and restaurant from the various US military and civilian organizations.
What always seems to occur when office folks get together?
I read in a story, a few years ago, that talked about this building being a key "listening post" for those interested in what the US was up to.  I don't have the dates the club was operational. It's gone today. No it sits on the grounds of the 228 Peace Park.

"Loose lips sink ships"  - is an American idiom meaning "beware of unguarded talk".

If you're an old hand, you will remember, just about everyone "drank" back-in-the-day.  Drinking was part of our military social structure.  Clubs were everywhere. 

After a couple of drinks, you were happy, felt good and thoughts just slid out of your mouth along with information that should have remained locked-up in the office files.

UPDATE  -  March 2012

A gentleman, TC Lin, left a Comment on a previous story, copied above.
He indicated that the old, Friends of China Club building was still standing.
TC Lin writes Poagao's Journal, which can be found here

He sent me these photos of the structure as it stands today.
Apparently, the old structure is now part of the 228 Memorial Park's Administration Buildings.

 Below, are two photos sent to me from TC Lin.  

Both are the old Friends of China Club facility, as it stands today.

The building is now partially hidden behind a tall wall.

Compare these two photos to the original photo from the 1950s, above.
It's interesting to find the old structure is still standing, being utilized today.
I suspect good material and concrete were used during it's construction.
I will try to get more photos, inside the these walls, when I return to Taipei. 

UPDATE - October 2013

This afternoon I got off the Taipei Metro at National Taiwan University Hospital Station and walked across the 228 Peace Park to Huai Ning Street, turned left and walked south.

On the corner of Bao Qing Road and Huai Ning Street, on the east side of Huai Ning, behind a cement wall, sits the old Friends of China Club.
The two buildings occupied by United States organizations, including HQ MAAG Taiwan, probably sat a few yards out into the present street area the blue and white bus is parked in this photo.  

The wall must be 7-8 feet tall, I couldn't see over the wall, so I stuck my camera along the top of the wall and took a few photos of the white building seen here.

The original door and steps were located in the area seen on the right side of this photo.

Nice view of the area of the old steps and door area of the Friends of China Club.

As I walked farther south on Huai Ning Road along the cement wall, I came to a driveway feeding into the grounds of the old club. 

The guard approached.  We asked if we might take some photos of the old club building.  We mentioned that the building he was guarding was, at one time "The Club" for the our military and civilian leaders in Taiwan.

The military and civilians from HQ MAAG Taiwan, worked in the large building just in front of the old club and civilians who occupied the other large building right next to the HQ MAAG building also frequented the facility.

The guard graciously accompanied us to the old club building and let us look around.  

It appears, the old front door and steps were removed some time ago, and new entrance doors were installed on the south side of the building.  The building is in remarkable shape considering it was constructed more than 60 years ago!

A photo showing both buildings which housed United States organizations.  The far building down the street was HQ MAAG Building Taiwan.  The Friends of China Club was located to the right of the power pole on the side street at end of the HQ MAAG Building.
This photo, from a Double 10 Parade in the 1950s.  The Friends of China Club was just to the right of the tree in the right side of this photo. These buildings are the same ones seen in the photo above.
 Here are more photos taken 27 October 2013.  The old Friends of China Club in Taipei.

As we came into the gate and turned to our left, looking north, we saw the old Friends of China Club facility.  I am not sure how large the original facility was, and/or if it included the building running along the right side of this photo.

I walked down the driveway seen here and into the "new" doors.

Just inside the lobby area of the club.  The old doors were located on the wall on the left side of this photo. 

I have no photos showing how the inside of the lobby looked in the 1950s  Consider, this photo is probably about like it looked back in the day.  It was a modern looking facility.

The "Grand Staircase" leading to the 2nd floor.

Looking out the "new entry/exit doors" from the original entrance area.

Standing on the "new" entry/exit door steps looking south toward the exit gate and guard house.

A final look at the old "Friends of China Club" facility.

We exited the gate area, turned left on Huai Ning Street and walked a few yards south to Ketagaian Boulevard and turned left (east.)  One block east,  at next corner (location of the Taipei Guest House) and Ketagaian Boulevard, was the 2013, Double 10 signage

I passed the sign a few days ago on a city bus about 9:00 PM.  The signage was lit up like a Christmas Tree, lights everywhere. most of them LED lights, which added sparkle and brightness to the display.  

It is beautiful when seen in darkness.

Beyond the signage, you see the old "East Taipei City Gate"

I think we have finally resolved the question of where the old Friends of China Club was located...  It wasn't torn down, as I always assumed.  It stands today, and we learned from the gate guard, it will probably stand for years to come. 

There must be someone reading this story who visited the club when it was in operation.

 We would love to have your thoughts on the club. 

The club was just down the street from hundreds of US military and civilian folks who would have frequented the club often.

 Please contact us ~

our Email address: