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

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kaohsiung Sea Dragon Club UPDATED AGAIN

Photo courtesy Scott Ellinger, circa 1966

This photograph is the first one I have seen of the old enlisted club located a few blocks up the street from the US Navy Pier in Kaohsiung. 

A friend who lives in Taiwan and spends a lot of his time exploring the old areas where US personnel worked and lived, visited the street last year and tried to get a positive ID on just where the old Sea Dragon sat.

He was able to come up with the general area where he believed the old club sat. 

Earlier last week my friend and I were talking about the above photograph which Scott Ellinger sent over.

As we discussed the photograph, my friend pointed out the old telephone booth in the photo. He mentioned that there were very few public phone booths back in the day.  But, it was an appropriate place for a phone booth, a busy street corner.

Then we opened Google Earth, moving down to Kaohsiung and to the point where my friend guessed the old club had been located, we moved into Google Earth Street View pushing  north from the police station corner, as we approached the second cross street corner, my friend pointed out a phone booth that was sitting on the same side of the street as the booth in the B&W photo of the Sea Dragon Club.  

BINGO!  we found it.  It had to be the corner.  Phone booths tend to stay in the same location, and we were only a few blocks up the street from the pier.  Everything matched.  Scott Ellinger later pointed out the building next to the phone booth is the same one in the B&W photo as the windows appear to be the same style, and the building is old.

Google Earth Street View Photo

So, we had found the old location,no big deal, but hopefully it will stir some memories for the folks who have visited the old Sea Dragon.  

Having a day of Liberty from the ship and enjoying a cold beer and dinner in the Sea Dragon must have been relaxing to many, not to mention what may have occurred prior to ending up at the club.

There were tens of thousands of Navy folks who visited the old club back in the day, could be the old Sea Dragon had more visitors that any other club in Taiwan.

Your thoughts?

UPDATE:  10 January 2013

I received a photograph in today's mail from RMCS(SW) Jim Babin. 

Jim served on the USS Richard S. Edwards (DD-950), which visited Kaohsiung many times during 1974-75.

Courtesy Jim Babin, circa 1974-75
UPDATE - 2 February 2014

John Quinn, USN, sent over this card from the Lucky Bar in Kaohsiung.
The card says, (Next to E.M. Club)

Can anyone recall which side of the EM club the Luck Bar stood? 

By chance, does anyone have a copy of the "In Bounds and Out of Bounds" bars in Taipei, Keelung Taichung, Tainan or Kaohsiung?

More photos and an earlier story about the Sea Dragon Club.  Find it here

You might also enjoy reading the COMMENTS below.

Perhaps you have something to add.


Anonymous said...


Was the stage on the first or second floor ? I remember a small bar for E-5 and above on the second floor it was on the left side at the top of the staris . It has been a long time ago . Do you have any photo of the KRC Club ?

Kent said...

I can't answer the question on the bar, maybe someone will tell us. KRC Club, would that be the Kaohsiung Recreation Center?

Anonymous said...

I looked on the items that the KRC Club give away all had just KRC Club but that could have been just to save room . I think your are correct . I don't remember the Sea Dragon looking like it did in you photo but they could have change it from 1966 to 1968 . We alway called it the EM Club .

新聞老鳥 said...

I grew up in Kaohsiung City and still have vivid memories of some US military facilities there back in late 1960's.

I clearly remember that Sea Dragon Club was located on the west side of Chi Shien 3rd Road (七賢三路).

Yes, it was about several hundred meters from 13rd Pier where US warships usually anchored. Along both sides of Chi Shien 3rd Road between Sea Dragon Club and 13rd Pier were numerous bars where a whole lot of bar girls in sexy dress standing in front of bars trying to grab American GIs' attention.

During Vietnam war, Kaohsiung was one of American GIs' R&R destinations in South East Asia. In late 1960's when I was in my early teenage, from time to time I saw US navy GIs having group fist fighting on Chi Shien 3rd Road. Sometimes fighting was between African sailers and Caucasian sailers. Whatever the fighting was, in the end, those drunen navy GIs always got beaten up by SPs with batons.

I had a close friend in my class. His father was a driver then and often drove American GIs to restaurants and bars to have fun. Once in a while, he gave me some rock music albums that GIs left behind after they fished their R&R. I remember I got a three-record-a-set Woodstock album from that friend.

This friend once told me an interesting thing. He said, his father told him, when navy sailers got off warships to have fun, they would not be checked whatever they carried with them. Therefore, a bunch of cigarettes, hard liquor, chocolate, playboy magazines, and many things like that were sold to local black market. But when sailors finished their vacation and got back to warships, they would be seriously checked whatever they brought back to the ship. Pretty interesting, isn't it?

Also on Jien Guo 1st Road(建國一路),back in late 1960's, there was a two-stories white brick building which had four big abbreviation alphabets on its head. It said '' M.A.A.G.'' In early 1970's, that white building became a seafood exporting company which exported seafood to Italy. It was a really smelly building. You could smell that strong fish smell in a long way.

In early 1970's, when I was in senior hish school, I rode a bicycle to school everyday. On my route to school, I always rode through Ba De 1st Road(八德一路),there were some white single houses for American Military households.

I can't believe it was already 40 years ago. It is soooooo long ago and far away.

Best Regards.

Wang Chun

Anonymous said...

That was a very good discription of Kaohsiung when the ship were in port . The only thing I could add is when 2 or 3 ship were in things were OK, But when their 5 ,6 ,or 7 then you had big problems. It was nice to hear from some one that lived in Kaohsiung back then . It would be nice to hear more stories from back then .

Anonymous said...

During my 1971-73 tour in Tainan, I used to visit Kaohsiung periodically on official business. I remember stopping at the club (can't recall if Sea Dragon was the name or not) a number of times for a burger and fries or a sandwich at lunchtime. I wish I could remember the location, but the best I can come up with was that it was on the north side of an east-west road. The location was far away from the harbor and I don't remember it being on a corner; in fact I thought it was in the middle of a city block. I believe there were three floors, with the bar on one (2nd floor I think) and restaurant on the other (probably 3rd floor). The manager was a US civilian who had been in Taiwan for years. It was a feast-or-famine operation: When US Navy ships were in port for liberty, the place was mobbed, but the rest of the time it was a ghost town. On some of my visits, there were no other customers in the place.

Anonymous said...

Les D. The way you discribe the location my best guess would be the KRC Club . Their was a circle drive around a small fish pond by the front door . When you walked in their was slot machine room on your left then walk straight ahead to eat or drink on the main floor or go up two fights of stairs to the second floor . If not the Sea D
Club the only other places would be the bowling alley or the office Club they both were in the same compound . My guess the KRC Club the food was better their. Like you said it was feast or famine . Wang Chun might be able to help us out of this .

Anonymous said...

That description sounds familiar, but I can't recall if it was called the KRC or Sea Dragon. I'd forgotten about the slot machine room until you mentioned it. That club was pretty far away from the Navy compound at Tsoying. The latter had a small officers' club and maybe an NCO club too.

Scott said...


I have been working with Kent on the Kaohsiung/Tsoying US Military footprint. It is so hard piecing together the southern locations and places of US military installations and buildings. Kent put up a housing area posting (please look at the last photo -- google map -- just below the sports track, there is a round-about (google map coordinates 22.690527,120.287526). I was down there last spring. It was said that was the old US Officers Club in the Tsoying area. Here are photos of the housing area just outside Tsoying Naval Base -- present day. Look at the last two photos.

Scott Ellinger

Anonymous said...

Boy, my senior memory is really kicking in here. I was in that officers' club in Tsoying, but I have no memory of what the outside looked like. Can't confirm if it's the same building or not. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I believe your right, the "Sea Dragon Club" part of the Navy Exchange system was near the end of what many of us called "Fleet Street". "Chi Heiun San" Road. I was stationed there 1969 to 1971 and worked at SOPA ADMIN KAOHSIUNG near Fleet Landing at Berth #3. Our office was up stairs in the Foriegn Affairs Police Station of Kaohsiung Harbor Police. It took about 45 minutes or more to walk from Fleet Landing to the EM Club. Thier had to be 50 or 70 Bars lining that street between those two places. I remember you counldn"t walk it with out some girls snaching your hat or neckerchief to get you inside thier bar for a first free drink. The KRC Club was an annex of the MAAG NCO, Club 63 in Taipei and was the near the North East edge of town. Both Clubs were outstanding and one of a kind. Some of the best duty anyone ever had. Like winning the lotto. I was very fortunate to be reassigned to Taiwan again in 1975to the Flag Office, Taiwan Defence Command working directly for the Admiral for two more years. Really good memories. Thanks, Craig J Chapman.

Anonymous said...

I was station in Kaohsiung in 1968 & 1969 . We know the 3 club as the EM Club , KRC Club , and Officer Club . If you would like to see a photo of the KRC Club as it look then go to the Sat Dec 22 2012 "Merry Christmas to all" post It one of the last photo the name on the building " MAAG NCO OPEN MESS KAOHSIUNG " I don't know when they changed the name to KRC . Their is a later photo of the Office Club . Back then most like the KRC Club best it was far enough away fleet street that you did not have so many sailors like the EM Club.

Mary Lindgren Herrmann said...

My parents (dad USMC and at that time a Major...he retired as a Colonel) lived in Kaohsiung. I was born in Taipei while my parents lived in December of 1967.

Mary Lindgren Herrmann said...

My parents (dad USMC and at that time a Major...he retired as a Colonel) lived in Kaohsiung. I was born in Taipei while my parents lived in December of 1967. said...

I was on the piedmont(AD-17) there,we were kind of main presence and the em club was called (BY US)as the animal locker, had VERY cheap prices on drinks,were a few almost riots from time to time. said...

i was there in the 60's

Lewis R. Harris said...

I was in Kaohsiung from 1969-1971, but was in Taipei before that for four years. When I came to Kaohsiung, the KRC was called just that, but the actual name was Kaohsiung Recreation Center. I was a Chinese Linguist, went back to Taipei for a third tour from 76-78. Kaohsiung was my best assignment.Everyone knew me as RAY HARRIS. For Mary Lindgren, our daughter was born in Taipei 10 years after. you, 1977. Most memorable to me is the fact that all the services got along so well, including,ng the families.