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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tainan Air Base 1972

I've been writing about the United States Military in Taiwan since October 2005. 

Since those early days of posting stories and photographs, I've not had a hint of a Tainan "base map" of the US Air Force area that could be read.  The one map that we had, courtesy of Les Duffin, was too small to really see with much clarity

Rick Slater, administrator of the Tainan Air Base Facebook pages asked many who joined the Tainan Facebook,  if anyone had a copy of the old base map.
 Rick was aware that large maps of the base existed and were posted on the walls of at least two law enforcement offices at Tainan.  
Anyone having one of those old maps would have left Tainan 35 to 40 years ago.

Today, we have our “first” clear and clean map of the US Air Force area at Tainan AB. 

The map clearly shows how every “nook and cranny” was utilized in the small footprint the US Air Force utilized at Tainan AB. I don’t believe they missed anything. 

The area in 1972 was such a big change from the early 1950s, when MAAG first arrived and bamboo huts were constructed. 

From the archives of the "USAF History in Taiwan" is this entry:

August 1956:  A construction project at Tainan AB consisting of Bamboo Huts for living quarters was started in June and completed in August.  Twenty additional huts were completed in December 1956.

Some of those 1956 "huts."

 In the late 1950s, new construction began on Tainan and it grew to what is depicted on the 1972 map of the US Air Force area of Tainan Air Station. 

Special thanks to James Taylor who scanned his yellowed and faded copy of the Tainan map, sent it on to Rick Slater,  the administrator of the Tainan Facebook pages. 
James Taylor was the Law Enforcement Desk Sergeant at Tainan during his tour. 

Also much thanks to Bruce Rayle for his help in cleaning, lightening and darkening areas of the map so that it was presentable to our readers. 

Bruce spent some of his younger years at Hsinchu.  Bruce's father was an US Army Officer assigned to MAAG in Hsinchu. Here's a link to Bruce's Family's story.

In October 2013, a group of former military men and their spouses, including myself, were invited onto Tainan Air Base to renew our memories of the base.

We were blessed to arrive on a bright, sunny day, no showers to hinder our visit.

We were met by a group of Taiwan Air Force Pilots and military officers who would be our hosts and guides as we toured the base. 

Our Taiwan Air Force hosts, welcoming us onto Tainan Air Base. 

Walking toward the Tainan AB Museum.

Up the steps into the building which housed the Museum. 

Signing the Guest Book..

The display area is very large and has many photographs showing US personnel and equipment.

We moved onto our bus and proceeded to the Fire Station to begin our tour. 
One of the men in our group had worked at the Tainan US Air Force Fire Station during his tour at Tainan.

Our first stop in the old US Air Force area was along Bolling Street.

This was one of the buildings that was still being used along Bolling Street. 
 I believe this leads to the swimming pool.

At the east end of Bolling street,  the Gym, with what looks like Aborigine markings.

Here's an old gate just next to the Gym. 

There has been some talk about the gates at Tainan.  I'm not sure if this gate was in use during our sojourn at Tainan, perhaps someone can explain if this was an active gate during your assignment at Tainan.

Two of our group were encouraged to display their best military bearing, "waving em in."

The Theater, the roof is about ready to fall-in.

Going about business in 1973. 
Back-in-the-day, the Theater was a "Favorite" in many of our lives.
 Photo courtesy of Roger Trzebiatowski 

The Rendezvous...  Looks like it had a face-lift.
What was your favorite dish from the Rendezvous kitchen?

Across Fourth Street from the Theater/ Rendezvous parking lot, the empty area where the Motor Pool once stood.

Those two warehouses in the distance, are they buildings 213 and 214, seen on the map below.

This map is very large, so keep clicking on the map until it enlarges....
Please leave your Comments below.



Jim Dwyer said...

Hi Kent -- I always enjoy Your posts. My Wife and I were part of the 2013 Tour which we enjoyed. Though not stationed at Tainan I did fly in there a few times while stationed at CCK AB just up the road. Your posts bring back the memories from Years Gone By. Thanks Akiko and Jim

Anonymous said...

It's great to finally have a readable version of the base map. Thanks to everyone who made this possible.

Anonymous said...

FYI. 1975 image.

Gerie Statler Murphy said...

My dad was stationed in Tainan 1968-1972 ish ...
Even though I was very young (7-10), I have fond memories of living there. It's nice to see pictures and a map to rekindle my memories.
Thank you so much for posting these.

Gerie Statler Murphy said...

In response to your question about the front gate neat the gym. When we lived there in 68-72 that was the main gate .. . pretty much the only gate used. Occasionally my dad would drive us through the back gate, near his office in the 'munitions'??

rick slater said...

Again , it was just SO great, that James Taylor, Tainan LE (Law Enforcement), remembered that he had the larger Tainan AB map that hung on their office's wall. And to get them copied and send to myself and Kent Mathieu. Jack Sarles, Sec. Pol. K-9 at Tainan, had in haste, removed two pieces of an expanded view of the base, showing, the munitions dump and Toff, and the K-9 kennels. Perplexing, is the location of the revetment or earthen berm, that was on the OTHER side of Andrews Road. As Andrew Rd ran East and West. Andrews Rd ran along the ball courts. Air Asia was on the other side of this berm. Hence why the berm was there-to stop the jet engine noise and other manufacturing noises coming from Air Asia. Air Asia and the CAF base northerly, might have shared another gate... We could still hear the noises, but were a bit muffled. And First Rd., ran North and South. There was a cinderblock/stucco'd wall, that ran from the angled Main Gate, South to the Commissary and the BX. That Main Gate, that US LE and CAF manned 24/7, sat catty-cornered to Andrews and First Rds.(far upper rt of the map)

Mike Duquette said...

I was a radio operator, working on the CAB, from 72-73. Memories of going to the motor pool and catching a ride from our
AB to theirs everyday. Along the way, I remember going past the vast fields of sugar cane.

Unknown said...

Hi Everyone,

I was at the dispensary from 72-74 and it was a wonderful time. My first son, Brian, was born up in Taipei at the Navy hospital as we had no obstetric facilities at Tainan. The pregnant moms would go up to Taipei about a month before due date and stay at the Navy's HEDSUBPAC hostel. We dads would go up as best we could but in my case, my son was overdue and I had to return to Tainan and then rush up to Taipei during the madness of Chinese New Year.

I remember with fondness the fast pitch softball league we had at the base. The humidity was so high I had to take my glasses off and wipe them between pitches while patrolling left field. The Chinese guards would saunter over from the revetments on the other side of the fence to watch and they would toss back any homeruns.

I can remember so well taking our son on the base bus that would circle Tainan. When he was fussy, the bouncing and blaring of horns would put him fast asleep! Brian is now a successful litigation attorney so he was obviously none the worse for the experience!

Some of the guys I remember fondly from work are Mike Sinclair, Ron Dimoree, Jerry Higgins, Dick Boesch (his wife Bonnie got me a ticket on the train during Chinese New Year so that I could be up in Taipei for my son's birth!), Larry Foster (my boss!), SMsgt Ripley (1st Sgt), Mr Tsai our civilian admin in the office...

Mark McSherry

Anonymous said...

Fascinating memories. My family and i were there from Aug 72 till Aug 74. I may have an old base map too. Good job. Thanks! Bob Shea.

DAVID Anderson D.M.D. said...

I was a Captain stationed at Tainan AB from July 1971 to October 1972 (single, unaccompanied 15 Month Tour). I was one of 2 Dental Officers, the other being Capt.Jeff Lewis. I lived off base in a walled compound on lane 541 Ta Tung Loo and commuted about 10 t0 15 minutes to the Base in my Oldsmobile Cutlass that the Air Forced shipped to Taiwan for me. I remember we had three M.D.'s , two Dentists, and two nurses assigned to the 6214 USAF Dispensary. We also had one Veterinarian who did meat and agriculture inspections. The Officers and NCO clubs were not on the base but about a 15 minute ride down Ta Tung Loo in a separate compound.
I have nothing but fond memories of my 15 months at Tainan AB which proved to be my best assignment in my 36 months of active duty!! KUDOS to all involved with this Web Page !!!
Dave Anderson D.M.D. (

Unknown said...

Wow! So glad to find this page. My Dad (Richard Young) was stationed there from 72 - 74. He was a controller. I completed 4 - 6 grade there. My sister graduated high school there, class of 73!

Anonymous said...

Wow, came across this page (almost) by accident. I see that nobody has posted in a couple years but maybe more will follow me. Anyway, I was at Tainan from October 1972 through December 1973. I worked out of the Hospital, which was essentially a 10-15 bed dispensary. I was a Medical Administrative Specialist (906x0)and was very surprised to see a name of someone I actually recall. Mark McSherry was a 906 as well and I don't recall specific dates for him but he did arrive after I did. Coincidentally, my assignment prior to Tainan was Wurtsmith and while I was there Mark was assigned to Wurtsmith as well. He and I were initially both single then and lived in the barracks. As I recall Mark did get married and his wife joined him. It was quite a surprise to me when I heard that Mark was being assigned to Tainan as well. I think he lived in the barracks for awhile until his wife came over. He jogged my memory with some of the people we worked for. In addition, let's see, Hospital Commander as I recall was Dr. Jackson Davis, III. I can't swear to the Administrator's name by the time I departed but think it was Captain Loftus. Who else? Ah Chief Nurse initially was Major Wonpat. She was from Guam and her father had been a US Congressman. Another Nurse was Lieutenant Caroline Pittman. Everyone at the Hospital was great. We'd have regular get togethers just to have a good time together. As a single guy I spent a lot of time at the NCO club. Which had fairly decent food - at least I think it did. Overall, there were a lot worse places to be assigned other than Tainan. I really enjoyed myself.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Just left a comment as "Anonymous" on June 10, 2021 that was stamped at 10:21am. That must be allowing for the time difference since thought the date is correct the time was 3:21pm. Anyway, name is Bill Naida.

Albert Wilkowski said...

I was stationed there 1971-72 in the security police. I came from Korea and the change was magical; you could take a bus or ride your bike to the beach! Duty was much better, and the base looked like a resort, to me, after growing up in Chicago and serving in Mt. Home and Grand Forks! And that was the only main gate which I served some time at and we shared with the Taiwanese military. I was once stopped by the base commander on a Sunday night leaving the theatre and told I needed a haircut and to report to him on Monday morning with it. I tried to grow it before shipping home and was caught! Had to go off base on Sunday night to get the haircut. The security police patrolled the base and perimeter and on one side there was a crematorium; no one stayed around there long but unfortunately there was a munitions area there we had to post a guard. No one wanted that duty! Had to get used to that humidity, too!

Albert Wilkowski

djallsup said...

Some great photos bringing back some great memories of my Tainan tour from 1967-69. I was an SP back then and married a dining hall girl (Rose). We now live in Arizona, not far from Luke AFB. So many memories of the main gate duty, the service club, bowling alley, gym, etc. And, of course, the famous Rendezvous. I also remember the long days and nights working security in the QSA and munitions areas. I was at CCK from 1974-76, but I liked Tainan better. My wife and I returned to Taiwan about 10 years ago and we couldn't find anything there--even the Mogambo club!- Dan Allsup

Harold Barnes, JD said...

My time in security was great. During the rainy season we got were the dry two or three times a day. Didn’t hurt then, but it does now. Fond memories.

Mark McSherry said...

In my earlier comment regarding my stay at Tainan I failed to mention my good friend Bill Naida who has subsequently described the unusual circumstances of the two of us being transferred nearly simultaneously from Wurtsmith, AFB to Tainan when we were both in the same specialty, Medical Admin. Though I believe he erred in making Dr Davis the hospital commander when in fact it was Lt Col Risser. But perhaps Capt Davis was promoted after my departure. I wonder if Bill remembers throwing the firework under the dorm door of one of the medics, Gignac? Those were the good ol days!

Unknown said...

Hi, this is Didi Carr!! I’m sure no one remembers me as a performer at the Tainan air base in the summer of 1971 but I just happened to look up Tainan because it was mentioned in a Chinese Netflix show my husband and I have been watching and I said to him, “Wait! I think I performed at an air force base in Tainan on my Asian tour in 1971”. I had been booked to perform in 5 countries that summer all in Air force bases except for one marine base in Okinawa., that night is a whole drama I will never forget but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, Taiwan was one of the 5 countries. The other 4 were Okinawa, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan. Then when I looked it up I accidentally happened upon your chat. So interesting to read about your experiences. Great memories. I think I performed in that theater pictured in the chat. Anyway, I won’t keep you any longer. I just felt like I had to throw my two cents in!! I hope you and your families are all faring well in this miserable pandemic! I’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season!!

Pamela Chizmar Cripps said...

I just found this site and thought I'd add my memories. My father was stationed at Taiwan AFB from Feb 1973 to Dec 1974. We transferred from Kadena AFB. We stayed at the Oriental Hotel for a while waiting for furniture to be shipped from USA. I remember eating at a hostel around the corner frequently as well as The Rendezvous at the base. I also remember taking the shuttle bus to base for recreation and to get the 5 gallon jug of water refilled a couple of times a week. I attended 8th through middle of 10th grade at Twenty House Compound, Jonathan M Wainwright school. I remember all 12 grades being at same school, and having to get lunch at the grill just outside of school grounds. We lived on Shin Li Lu next to an elementary school. My father was in the Security Police Squadron. And I remember when base was closing and a lot of American families were all living in Oriental Hotel for about 3 months after furniture was shipped back to USA and before duty was officially ended. I remember spending a lot of Sundays at the NCO club playing bingo with mom. And one memory that I never forget was seeing our custom made furniture being delivered by rickshaw carts which we passed as we drove home from base. Still have that furniture to this day. Great craftsmanship.