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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Long, Farewell, Goodbye Taiwan...

You've lived on the beautiful island of Formosa for 13, 24, maybe 36 months or more, and now it's time to pack-up your goods and move on.

Many 1st Termers were leaving the military, others of us were heading to a new assignment and a few, hanging up their uniforms and retirement.

All of us who called Taiwan home experienced leaving Taiwan at least once. Many returned for second and third assignments, and a few "home-steaded"

When the time came to take the last drive to Taipei International Airport or Sung Shan Air Force Base, many of us, myself included, had mixed feelings about leaving this wonderful place.  The thoughts that ran through our minds and the smiles in our hearts remembering our sojourn in Taiwan.

But, now it's time to go, so we sucked up those thoughts and feelings, put them in the back of our minds for another day, and got on with the business of going through the red-tape of getting-off the island. 

Perhaps you took the train to Taipei, some flew up in a military aircraft, many drove up in a military vehicle, we all made our way to the airport in Taipei.  

Depending when you left, or where you were headed, the departure facilities, were different.

Those flying to CONUS on a military charter flight, many charters were Northwest Orient Airline aircraft, were processed and boarded at Taipei International Airport terminal.  

Many of us, having arrived at the airport hours before our scheduled departure, were on-hand to see our charter aircraft unload a group of people, many arriving in Taiwan for the first time.  The things than ran through our minds, seeing those folks make their way to the terminal and a new assignment in Taiwan. I remember thinking, I could do this all over again! 

If you were headed for another destination other than Hawaii or CONUS, you might have reservations on an Air America/Southern Air Transport flight that ran back and forth from Japan to the Philippines a couple of times each day.  If you got on one of these birds, you processed through Sung Shan AFB, military terminal, then flew to Clark, Kadena or Yakota for a connecting flight.

And for those who could not fly for some medical or other reason, some were able to book passage on one of the US cruise line ships that stopped at Keelung harbor, throughout the year, or in earlier years on a US Navy vessel.

The photographs below, were furnished by Jack Hornbeck.  Jack was assigned to Taipei Air Station and worked at the US facility at Shihmen, on the north coast, 1966-1969.

Stepping out the Taipei AS barracks door for the last time.. 
Mixed feelings for many. 

The Military Terminal at Sung Shan AFB.


 Lots of folks sitting around, WAITING...  It seemed they always wanted you at the airport 4-6 hours before departure.

Notice that Pepsi-Cola can on the floor..  
A case of beer at the Embassy Shop, less expensive than Pepsi!

Some of the tarmac on the International side of the airport. 

CAT was still flying. 

Up in the restaurant at Taipei International.  A family, waiting on the Northwest Orient charter to arrive.

Dad, hanging-in there.  

The fellow in the straw hat and a greeting party is walking out to welcome someone, and it's probably not a military individual. 

 So, our plane has arrived.  Now we have to wait while the aircraft is cleaned, serviced and made ready for our trip back to CONUS.

Mean while, downstairs in the terminal main room...

There's lots of noise in the lobby right now.

Notice the floor above the Travel Accident Insurance doors.
 I suspect that's the floor where the restaurant is located.

We'll follow this group around the room for a few minutes.

The young woman in the blue suit - she's happy.

What's in the newspaper article?

These last conversations, stories of our time in Taiwan, bring laughter and joy to many hearts.

Smoke-up if you got-um..

This couple was captured in many photos.

Wonder what that sign is in the background?  Looks like you can write on it with red grease pencil.

A beautiful silk lei.

 Time to get those sun-glasses on, we'll soon be walking out to our plane.

I wish there were more photos to share today.  

These probably, in some way, mirror you departure day from Taipei.

Most of us who served in Taiwan, no matter where or for whom, will always remember our days on the beautiful island of Formosa.

Perhaps someone who was assigned at Sung Shan can talk more about how Sung Shan and the International Terminal fit together for US folks.

In case you're a bit nostalgic right now, you might enjoy this video. 




Anonymous said...

I think those photos show two different terminals, the original one-story building in the first couple of shots, and the newer multi-story one in the others. It's also interesting that Japan Airlines (JAL) was still flying into Taipei in those days. Later, when Japan and China established diplomatic relations, China insisted Japan not fly its national carrier into Taiwan. So JAL simply created a subsidiary called Japan Asia Airways (JAA) which continued flying into Taipei.

Wg said...

thanks for the pics and narrative. Notice that people aren't dressed for air conditioning!