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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

 Christmas 2018

The usual Christmas story I have presented on this Blog for the past few years,  were old photographs of where you may have spent you Christmas in Taiwan.

Today, I am forgoing the long story and many photographs.

 We have a new photograph today representing the Christmas Season, sent over by my friend Frank Smith who was assigned to Taipei Air Station.

Frank's duty work station was at Taiwan Motors, the Ford Dealership in Taipei.  They had the US Military Contract to repair all Taipei Air Station Official vehicles.

Frank was in Taiwan from April 1961 to July 1962.

Please look back in this Blog to see the two previous stories which featured Frank's Photos.
and there are many more photos to come - soon.

The photograph below of the US Ambassador's Official Residence, was taken by Frank during Christmas Season 1961.

The US Ambassador to Taiwan at Christmas in 1961 was Everett F. Drumright, from the state of Oklahoma.  

He served as Ambassador to Taiwan from March of 1958 to March of 1962.

Many will ask, "Where was the Official Ambassador's Residence in those days?

It was the same building that had represented the United States in one way or another for many years.  

It is still standing today, alone, on the same grounds.

Today, it's called the "Spot Theater"  The street address for you using Google Earth is, 18 Zhongshan North Road, Section 2, Taipei.

Perhaps you remember the residence, it was just a few doors north,  along the west side of Zhongshan North road from the Rose Marie Restaurant.   

Photo courtesy of Frank Smith circa 1961

The Rose Marie Restaurant (notice sign on upper right of photo) - probably the most visited restaurant by the Foreign Community during the early days of our time in Taiwan.

The photo was taken out the window of a car going south on Zhongshan North Road, stopped on the corner left and right, of Nanking Road, today Nanjing Road.  

So the photo below, was and is today, a few doors off to the right,  back down the road.

Photo Courtesy of Frank Smith

 This was the US Ambassador's Official Residence, Christmas of 1961.

To remind you again, the Rose Marie Restaurant was a few doors down the street to the left of this photo, on the corner of Nanking and Zhongshan.

I resided in Taipei for over 3 years and this sign was not displayed again during my years.

Never did care for the Xmas signage.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to each of you.

Please continue down this page to an Important Story concerning Tainan Air Base.



Monday, December 24, 2018

An Army Engineer Has Departed

It is with much sadness and a broken heart that I prepare this story.

I received word yesterday that my good friend and a fellow US Army soldier, Jim Nelson passed at his home on Friday, 21 December 2018 after a long battle with cancer.

Many of you have probably never heard of Jim, nor have you seen any of his photographs, but today let's look back to the early days of my writings about the US Military in Taiwan and prepare a list stories in which his old photos were presented,

Jim contacted me a short time after I opened the Taipei Air Station dot com site on Double 10 2005.

I don't have his correspondence from that time, but we corresponded back and forth by Email and on the phone.   

We have spoken many times over the phone through the years.

He mailed me many of photographs, most of which I will link to at the end of this post.  

I was very happy to receive his mail and overjoyed to see so many photographs taken on Tainan as the US area was being constructed as well as some on the mountain outside of Tainan, and others off-base around the area of Tainan.

Jim and his fellow Soldier's were assigned to, A Company, 802nd Engineer Aviation Battalion. This battalion was one of many who were attached with the US Air Force. They were called - SCARWAF - Special Category Army Reassigned with Air Force.

If you were ever assigned at Tainan Air Base, you will enjoy looking back to the early days when there was virtually nothing around until the Army Arrived!  

Click on each link below to see more of the early days of Tainan. 

Thank you,

Kent Mathieu
Airman and Soldier
Taipei Air Station Blog and Web Site

Double click on each line below and it will open 

and here, the only photos that I have of Jim......

Jim in fatigues, opening barracks for Reserve Summer Training at Fort Carson Colorado, June 1959.

Jim standing beside his 1957 Studebaker June 1959 at Fort Carson.

 Jim, at the local Harley Shop 2008.

Jim left the Army in July 1959.

Jim left this World in  December 2018, nearly 60 years after being discharged!

He had a long life.

God Bless Jim Nelson!


Monday, December 3, 2018

Up, Up and Away in my Flying Machine

Frank Smith's photographs were presented on two previous stories on this Blog recently.

Frank was assigned to Taipei Air Station but he worked in town at Taiwan Motors, the local Ford dealer and garage that repaired US Air Force vehicles belonging to Taipei Air Station. 

How many of you have thought of flying?  I have.. Unfortunately, most of us just don't follow through...

Frank was the exception.

I spoke with Frank and asked him how he found out about flying lessons in Taipei.. 

I never heard anything about flying lessons, I was there 1965-1968. Perhaps it was a well kept secret or maybe it was closed by the time I arrived.

The # 1 mechanic at the Taiwan Motors garage (where Frank worked) was Mr. Chiang.  During a conversation one day, Mr. Chiang mentioned his friend, Mr. Lee who was an instructor at the Flying Club out at the airport.  Frank was skeptical of flying, but had always kept the idea of flying in the back of his head.

Frank made contact with Mr. Lee, signed-up and soon received his "Flying Club Membership Card. Within the week he was out at "Taipei Airport" to begin flying lessons.

Mr Lee, Flying Club Instructor

 Frank's Flying Club Membership Card

After some schooling time in the basics of flying, safety, equipment and other subjects, it was time to take to the air.

Frank recalled that the "Flying Lessons" were, one hour and cost NT$20.  I told Frank the cost amount did not sound correct, but Frank believed, that was the cost.

Mr. Lee, had been a Nationalist Chinese Air Force Pilot in the Flying Tigers stationed in Burma during WWII. 

One wonders why Mr. Lee only charged a small amount of money to teach flying lessons.

Add to that, the fuel consumed each hour the trainer aircraft was in the air or moving about the airport.  

Perhaps someone will know the circumstances and details of Mr. Lee's position. Was the government involved?  Probably.  And, you know, it may have been something associated with "Special Services" down at HSA....   Anyone know?

This is the aircraft Frank trained in, a PT-17 Stearman, also used by the ROCAF as a trainer.
Thank you Wei-Bin Chang of the Taiwan Air Power Web site for your help with this story on the Stearman aircraft.

Fueled-up and ready to fly!

"Click" for a  Link to more about Stearman Aircraft 

 The rules were, the aircraft would maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet except when taking off or landing. 

Frank said they could fly over Taipei, and he does not recall any Restricted Air Space.

Hanging down from the upper wing was a glass gauge indicating fuel tank levels.

Frank said that there were few gauges in the aircraft, and he was taught that when the struts begin to vibrate, you are approaching "Stall" speed and it's time to immediately give the motor some additional power.

I guess that procedure is most often encountered when on final approach to landing.

Because the aircraft had no radio communications, the pilot would watch the roof of the Control Tower looking for a "Green Light" which indicated that there was no immediate traffic on or approaching the landing runway, and the aircraft could land.

Frank told me a story about the first time he was given the stick to taxi and take off at Taipei Airport.

Frank was moving his aircraft down a taxi way toward the take-off runway.  He and Mr. Lee both saw a green light atop the Control Tower, which indicated that Frank was allowed to enter the runway and take-off.

As Frank approached the one and only runway, which is still the only runway at Taipei Airport, which runs East-West, he is looking over the side of the aircraft to the left and then to the right to make sure his aircraft is centered in the taxi-way.   As he approaches the runway, a speck catches his eye.

He looked back to see what his eye caught and sees a China Airlines aircraft on final approach to land on the runway just in front of Frank's aircraft.

Frank said he was frightened, he hit the brakes, the aircraft lifted-up, the propeller just skimmed the cement, and the aircraft fell backward onto the tail wheel as it came to a stop.

Both men looked back at the Tower, the green light was still on atop the tower!

Frank said he was shaking in his seat, and was too rattled to go farther.  Mr. Lee taxied out to take off.

Sometime after that incident, Frank lost his Log Book.  When you are training for a Pilot license, you have to maintain a Log Book, where everything is written down as you practice and pass check points.  The Log Book is submitted as one of the documents when applying for license.

Frank said he had about 9 hours of training, not an enormous amount, but he "kind of lost interest" in going for his license, after his Log Book disappeared.

Here are some of the photographs Frank took from the Stearman as he flew over the Taipei area.

This photo taken by Mr. Lee

Frank in the front seat, the mirror above to watch the rear seat pilot for instructions, etc.

Frank tells the story of the aircraft's parachute for trainees.

The flying lessons came with a cloth helmet, goggles and a parachute.

Frank said the parachute was old, had a dirty cover, and he was sure that it had not been opened and re-packed for Years.

He told Mr. Lee that the parachute was "Boo-how"

They laughed......

You jumped up onto aircraft wing, stepped-up and got into you seat and sat on your parachute (for additional height) to look over the sides of the cockpit onto the ground to see exactly where you were in relationship to the taxiway sides, you don't want to get into the grass.  You can't see the ground in front of the aircraft.

 The parachute was the old style which hung down off your body.  You've probably noticed those in old films, the pilot walking with a bag hanging down from his backside...

Not sure where this is, close to Taipei, but nothing I recognize.
Frank cruising around, getting his hour of flying in the books.

I've seen this plant a number of times before.  It sits on final approach to Taipei Airport.
Many people take this same photo from their aircraft. You've probably seen a similar one before.

What else is out at Taipei Airport?

Southern Air Transport
Could be here in Taipei for any reason, could even be one of the "Milk Run" or Stars and Stripes delivery aircraft.

Another day, same aircraft back in town.

No dates on either photo, but it was between April 1961 and July 1962.

No markings on this PBY, resting at Taipei Airport, 1961-1962.

This could have been the aircraft Frank flew to Clark on his PCS move to Taipei, he flew in a Pan Am Aircraft.  Don't recognize the service van.

It must be a Boeing 707.

Beautiful day at the Taipei Airport, clear and clean air!

Looks like two or three Lockheed Electra aircraft off to the left here. 

They remind me of Emelia Earhart who flew an Electra on her last flight.

Forgive me if those parked on the tarmac are another type of aircraft. I guessed they were Lockheed Electra aircraft.

Here's a ROCAF C-119, probably in town from the south, most likely Tainan AB,
commonly called the "Mayo Quanchi" flight.

Have you ridden on a white knuckle flight?  Lot's of GI's have over the years.

Back in the early days of MAAG, if you were assigned to the south, it would take many hours to make the railroad ride to Taipei.

So, many folks opted for the Mayo Quanchi flight north and back home. 

Another look at the same aircraft, I suspect on a different day from those above.

I wanted to close with this unusual photograph.

It appears that the aircraft is "probably" out of Barbers Point, Hawaii, carrying the 
Commander-in-Chief, US Naval Forces Pacific and his party including his spouse.

The tarmac is full of Taiwan Naval personnel.  

There is a very large band with their wet instruments.

A Taiwan Color Guard.

Lots of Taiwan Military personnel squatting down for some reason.

On the left, just outside the aircraft, is a group of Naval Officers, I would assume US Officers in their "Whites" standing at attention, probably for the National Anthems of both the US and Taiwan. 

Next to them, closer to the steps, you can see one or two women.  
Women would only accompany their husbands if the trip an official visit of some sort.

Looks like it poured rain out at the Taipei Airport, and maybe even coming-down as the photo was taken.

Typical day in the winter and spring.

Many thanks to John Quinn for his help in identifying what we" think was going on, when the photograph above was taken.

Keep checking our blog, we have many more nice photograph from Frank's assignment in Taipei.   

Including a few "clean and clear" aerial views of Taipei Air Station, in Color. 



Monday, November 5, 2018

Armed Forces Network Taiwan (AFNT) (Updated - 23 Nov 2018)


Linked at the very end of this post are 2 links to radio programs that originated in the AFNT studios in Taipei.  Worth a listen....

Who listened to AFNT radio?   If your first language was English, you listened to AFNT on the AM Band at 560 kHz and/or one of AFNT's Shortwave broadcasts near 7.2 MHz in the early days, later FM broadcasts were added, from 3 transmitters around the island at different frequencies. 

Added to the English speaking public, were thousands of Taiwan citizens, who did not necessarily speak English, who listened to AFNT, broadcasting, American music and non-filtered news, although I believe the news was "recorded prior to broadcast", at times, and then aired 30 minutes later. It was easy to notice if you listened closely.  Of course there were times when the news was probably live.

It hit home one day about 10 years ago when a lady from Taiwan and I were driving down the highway in Hawaii.  It was a Saturday morning and the Oldies Radio station was playing song requests.  As one song began to play, my lady friend began to sing along with music, singing the words to the song.....  Who knew?

I asked how she knew the words.  She said, "We all listened to the US Army radio station".  I also correspond with a Taiwan gentleman who was a fan of AFNT, who recorded many of the shows and music over the years.  One could say, many local  people listened to hear spoken English, which helped them with pronunciation and grammar.  

More to AFNT than meets the eye, for sure!

Steve Bramham wrote to me a couple of months ago and sent me a number of photographs he took while working at the AFNT studios in Taipei.

Steve arrived in Taipei in January 1968, on his first overseas assignment, was assigned to Taipei Air Station where he resided in the barracks.  He began work at AFNT, which was then housed in the Sugar Building, located next door to the First Department Store in Ximen-ding (Ximen) area, the area many of us called the, Theater District.  Steve left Taiwan in May 1969, at the completion of his 15 month tour.

                                             The Sugar Building, gray building, on left side of this photo.

Steve wrote, "During my incoming orientation, I was told not to eat from the many street vendors because I could get food poisoning.  So, I dutifully ate only at Taipei Air Station, and,  got food poisoning!"

So,  I decided to try the street vendors since it couldn't be worse that what I had just gone through.  

My favorite meal was a simple dish with some type of meat and watercress, stir fried and seasoned.  I never did find out what that meat was, but there were not too many dogs and cats in the alley".

When I arrived at AFNT, our Officer-in-Charge, was Burt Schneider, seen below.

                                                         LT Burt Schneider, US Navy

Our Non-Commissioned-Officer-in-Charge was George Beck, and our Program Director was Mr. Joe Brooks.

Very soon after my arrival, the staff was told that we would be moving to a mountain top facility (Yangmingshan) probably because of a fire in the Sugar Building.  This new facility was a very nice, however, it was not very close to Taipei Air Station.  

This created a situation where the Air Force did not want to provide transportation from Taipei Air Station to the new AFNT facility because the radio station was operated by the US Navy even though we had Army, Navy and Air Force personnel working there.  The Navy did not want to provide transportation since I was Air Force.  

The Air Force solved the problem by authorizing Separate Rations and Quarters Allowance and I had to provide my own transportation to the AFNT Studios. Anyone recognize this pathway in Yangmingshan Park?

Looks like Cherry Blossoms beginning to bloom. Anyone recognize this pathway? 

Most of the Enlisted Staff stayed at a Yangmingshan Hostel.  The rooms were small, but adequate and the best feature was the hot sulfur springs baths. 

Yangmingshan Hostel Room 1968-1969. 

One of the Hot Sulfur Spring Baths at Steve's Yangmingshan Hostel.  After a day or night at work it was very relaxing to sit in these baths and let your troubles soak away. 

 (Steve thought this photo is one of the Army men who resided in the Hostel enjoying the Spring Bath) 

"We had an  extensive library of old-time radio programs and sometimes some of the staff would get food and drink and sit in the library listening to, The Shadow, Gunsmoke, and other old radio programs.  

 The "Library".  

This was a "new guy" and he was picking music records for his "On-Air-Shift." We had both music records and records of Old Time Radio programs.  

The best of the Old Time programs were:

Gunsmoke - 

and, The Shadow -

Here's an old-time "Shadow" Radio show on Youtube:
I don't remember who came up with the idea, but during the summer months we would do a remote broadcast from the swimming pool used by military personnel and their families.  That was a great assignment.

Here a staff announcer preparing for a Remote Broadcast.

A short technical note for those interested.  We had several VHF FM radios we used for remote pickup stations to do broadcasts from the swimming pool and church services downtown.  These all operated on frequencies within the FM broadcast band, so when we were doing a remote, you could listen to the main broadcast frequency or the remote pickup frequency.  

Another technical note was when I took my first visit to our main shortwave transmitter location.   Even though our FM broadcast came from our location on Yangmingshan Mountain, we had two shortwave frequencies and being an amateur radio operator, I noticed that one was right in the middle of the 80-meter amateur radio band and the other was right in the middle of the 4-meter band.  The antenna were huge rhombic arrays.

I was assigned additional duty as relief engineer when the local Taiwanese engineers were not available, as I had worked in broadcasting for a number of years prior to this assignment and held an FCC Radiotelephone First Class License.

When AFNT decided to go into FM Programming, they were unable to get funding to procure FM transmitter equipment.  However, there was an abundance of funds available for maintenance of all AFNT equipment.

Where there is a will, there is a way....

AFNT went to Gates Radio and purchased a maintenance manual for repairing Gates FM Transmitter equipment.

When the manual arrived in Taipei, it was given to the AFNT Maintenance Department, instructing them to study the manual and to build an FM Transmitter from parts."

This may be the Chief Engineer at AFNT 

On the left, equipment racks containing multiple shortwave radio receivers that were used to pick-up AFRTS news feeds and other programming to be used "On the Air".  On the right side of the photo,  AFNT's FM Transmitter.

A local technician adjusting the FM Transmitter

"Our new FM broadcasting originated from our studio's at Grass Mountain."

 The array of teletype machines at AFNT
Associated Press (AP), Armed Forces Radio & Television Service (AFRTS), United Press International (UPI), not sure about the 4th teletype..

This was part of our library.

Here you could listen to tapes, you could erase tapes no longer needed.  Note the three bulk tape erasers sitting on the table next to the two tape decks. There is multi-band radio siting on the table on the right side of this photo.

Not Steve, another Air Force staff member.

Steve remembered that this man lived in the Yangmingshan Hostel, as did most of the AFNT enlisted crew, does not remember his name.

Steve thinks this may be George Beck, but was not sure.

 Another announcer relaxing in one of the studios, Steve does not remember his name.  

Steve said, "The Evening and Night Shift crew were permitted to wear civilian clothes". 

I'm guessing this was Keelung area, looks like docks on upper left.

Anyone recognize this area, some where up the coast.

Someplace along the coast. 

I believe this may have been taken from the Radar Site at Shihmen.

Along the road toward Keelung?

Fishing boat small harbor along the highway.

The pedicab drivers are always having their pictures taken. 

A hotel off in the distance? Who can read the Chinese on the roof?

Children, having fun in front of the Temple.

The following photographs were taken during a AFNT Remote Broadcast at Keelung Harbor, aboard the USS Providence CLG-7. The ship was the Flagship of Commander, 7th Fleet, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan.  

The tail code on the helicopter "VH" indicates the helo detachment aboard the USS Providence, was from Atsugi, Japan. When the ship leaves the Western Pacific, the helicopter unit aboard, returns to it's home in Japan.

Lot's of "brass"siting and standing around.

 This visit was probably a, "Flag Officer visit".

Many thanks to my friend John Quinn, helping me identify this ship and explaining how certain ship visits to foreign ports were handled.  Old traditions don't change for such important and significant visits.

There seems to be a lot to going on.  Can you find the "key" that identified the ship? 


Did you find the clue?

Let's look again at the Yangmingshan Hostels.

We know there were 3 Hostels up on the mountain. 

One of the Hostels on Yangmingshan.  Photo courtesy USTDC Blog.

I believe this was the Hostel where Steve resided with the Spring fed Hot Baths. 

This and following 2 Photos courtesy Alice Winans Circa 1952-1953

L to R:  Parks, Sam Jones and C.D. Lewis 

Guessing it was taken  outside their Yangmingshan Hostel.

This photo taken at one of the Yangmingshan Hostels that housed Officers 
These men were assigned to MAAG Taiwan in it's early years, 1952-53.

I believe these men were all WWII officers, and some had served in China.

Interestingly, it seems that a number of Officers who served in China, ended up in Taiwan in the early 1950s when MAAG Taiwan was formed.

I learned this from Alice Winans who corresponded with me for a few years prior to her death.

You can read about Alice's 13 months in Taiwan in this Taipei Air Station Blog.

On the right side of this Blog, go down to the Search box and type in Alice Winans.

A number of stories will come up pertaining to Alice and her adventures in Taipei in the early years of MAAG.  Alice was a civilian working for an American owned company in Taipei. 

Round Steak for Dinner tonight....

L to R  -  Alice Winans, Sam Jones and C.D. Lewis.
I'm sure Sam Jones would not show off tonight's steak dinner from Yangmingshan, if he didn't reside up there.

This photo must have been taken outside their Hostel, are they frying the steak or putting it on the BBQ?  In early 1950's not so many BBQ's...

L to R -  LTC C.D. Lewis and MAJ Sam Jones and don't overlook the Monkey!

Photo taken on Yangmingshan, in the area where US Officers were housed.

The concrete sidewalk looks new!
The building looks relatively new also.

Look straight back, between the men, Is that two story building possibly a Hostel?

There were 3 hostels in Yangmingshan, one of them must have housed Military Officers, but which one? in the early 1950s?

I hope someone has the answer, but considering that 1952 was 66 years ago, and the men in these old photos were older than their 20s, they would be in late 80s or into their 90s today.

Just where were the new AFNT Studios located?

I had never driven up to the new studios.

I asked for help on some of the Taiwan Facebook Pages..

Look what some folks provided to answer the question,  Where was AFNT's new home?

This photo and annotations courtesy of Rory O'Neil 

This Photo with annotations courtesy of Rory O'Neil 

This collage courtesy of and was assembled by Rory O'Neil.

Notice the radio station sign on right side of this photo, ICRT sign.

ICRT, took over the station and equipment immediately and begin broadcasting just after AFNT signed off and ceased operations in Taiwan on Midnight, April 15th, 1979.

Below, a piece from the ICRT web site.

"ICRT was born on April 16th 1979, after the break in diplomatic relations between Taipei and Washington.  From 1957 to 1979, the station’s predecessor, Armed Forces Network in Taiwan, served the needs of the US military then stationed on the island.  AFNT was sold to the Taiwan government for US$1 as the American troops pulled out.  Taipei International Community Cultural Foundation was established as a non-profit foundation to supervise the operations of this new radio station."

Click here for ICRT web page 

I want to thank Rory O"Neil for all the help and work he put into providing information and photographs, maps and taking time out of his day(s) to stitch a photograph together showing the Yangmingshan AFNT building.  Lot's of work and efforts went into putting these items together.

Before I close this story, I want to talk a little bit more about our radio station.

Best I can determine, the first US Military Voice in Taiwan was a shortwave and medium wave station.  

Medium wave is standard AM broadcasting,  560 on the AM band in Taipei.

 Here is their QSL card sent to a Shortwave listener.
BEC-27 - Voice of MAAG Taiwan. 

Here's the web site where I found this old QSL card.

Take a look at who signed the card.

Yes, Joe Brooks, Program Director.

Joe Brooks wore many hats in Taiwan.

He worked for the station when I was there in 1965-1968.

My favorite program was his Ghost Stories, I think it played on Friday nights.

If you really needed to know something about anything in Taiwan, Joe Brooks was the man to ask.

Joe was a great story teller, some of his newspaper articles were published in a book.

and, here is a site that might be of interest, AFNT Blogspot.


Nothing updated for a few years.

You can read more about AFNT on some of my previous stories.

Go down the right side of this page, there will be an empty box saying Search For;

Just type in the box   Joe Brooks and a number of stories will come up for you to read.

If you haven't read Joe Brooks book, you may be able to get a used copy, so many interesting articles inside, 209 pages.

Here's a link to page showing Joe's Book is still available, from $4.50

Think it's time to close this story up!

Too much to read already.

One last photo, from Steve.

You never know what might show-up inside a Taiwan store.

Here's Proof:

It's the Center-Fold way up on the wall.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end....


George Dean, who was a Naval Courier out of HSA, stopped at the Sugar Building daily on his rounds.  Hew wrote with a link to one of Rick Courtney's the old radio programs that originated in the AFNT studios in Taipei.

Link HERE to Rick Courtney's program:

Here is another program from AFNT, courtesy of John Quinn, who was also a Naval Courier out of HSA at one time. 

During the early 70s, AFNT DJ Dick Joslin broadcast the Time Machine program on Saturday nights. 

After AFNT was disestablished, the tapes were transferred to Far East Network Tokyo for rebroadcast on the FEN in Japan. 

Here is one of the programs that originated on AFNT. 

Link HERE Dick Joslin's recorded programs originating from the Taipei Studios of AFNT.

 If the link does not work, go directly to Youtube and past the link :