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

Sunday, December 22, 2019

MAAG NCO Open Mess - Club 63 Early 1960s

Frank Smith,  an Air Force man,  who's assigned duty station was at Taiwan Motors, spent a lot of his free time up at Club 63, circa 1962-1963.

Taipei's Club 63,  for many single and unaccompanied personnel, served as a 
"Home away from Home"

Club 63 offered more than a cold beer and good food.

There was always something going on at Club 63....

I don't have a Monthly Flyer from the Club for 1963, but here's what was going on in 
June of 1968..

Sunday's - Movie at 8PM

Monday's - Pinochle, Floor Show or TV Shows

Tuesday's - BINGO

Wednesday's - Floor Show

Thursday's  - Movie Night

Friday's - Mongolian BBQ, Floor Shows, Monte Carlo Night, Men's Night
and "In and Out" Reception for Arrivals and Departees. 

Saturday's - Children's Birthday Celebration and Floor Shows

Membership Night - Every Quarter.    

Dinner,  chits for 4 Alcoholic Beverages, all on the House.
After dinner and a "few" of those free drinks,  
the Emcee would Introduce a 'Risque' Floor Show.

Changes to the schedule would take place, but there always was something 
happening, to help draw you back to Club 63.

During the warmer months of the year - The Swimming Pool was open.

Our beloved MAAG NCO club in Taipei officially operated as: 

"MAAG NCO Open Mess" Club 63. 

Frank carried his Red Cross Card of certification as a "Lifeguard"

He worked at the Club 63 Pool as a Lifeguard during his off-duty hours.

Sometime after working the Lifeguard position, he was asked to help with teach swimming lessons.  Club 63 taught many Club members children to swim, and Frank was instrumental in teaching many children and adults to swim at the club pool.

A lazy afternoon at the Club Pool.

Look at those Big billowy clouds, the cool water, what a day in Taipei..

A great place to relax under the shade, hide from the sun.

The Keelung River was about 40/50 yards on the other side of this wall.

Look at that aircraft on approach to the airport.
I'm going to guess it's a DC-6, civilian airliner.  

I don't recognize the tail, perhaps someone knows what airline it is.

That's NOT Frank on the Lifeguard stand.  It looks like the Life Guard is situating the umbrella into the stand.   It can get awfully Hot up on that chair without shade.

  There is also a Lifeguard standing back toward the open window, he's wearing a White Pith Helmet, as is the other Lifeguard on the "high" chair under the umbrella.
In this group of photos, we can clearly see the "Old" Grand Hotel.

A different view of the Snack Bar, to the right of the building across the pool.

What was that window on the left side?  Looks like a bunch of baskets inside, Hummm, could you drop off you street clothes at the window?

A girl walks in front of the camera, a man is diving into the pool just to the left of the girl here wearing the cap, a life guard is talking story with some men over by the building.

It's a wonderful day at the Club 63 pool.....

I'd love to be sitting at that table across the pool, nursing a cold San Miguel Philippines.

 A couple of "not yet on Duty" Life Guards waiting to go on-duty, resting in the pool area.

This girl was a dependent who liked Club 63, had a boyfriend Lifeguard here.
I guess she's wearing the 1963 version of a bikini.  

Her boyfriend.

 Another lifeguard, with her boyfriend, Club 63.

Frank also sent along, the Club 63, Adult Beverages 
Price List

Anyone recognize the beer listed above Foster?

Frank also has the House Rules of Club 63.
If you'd like a copy, Email me:

I want to thank Frank Smith for sharing so much of his story while assigned
to Taipei.

His photos have helped keep the History of the United States Military in Taiwan available for all time.

There are few people that would not say, in some way,
"My time in Taiwan were some of the best days of my life"

Tsi Gen my friends.......


Monday, November 4, 2019

Frank Smith's Photos of the Taipei Area - September 1963

More photographs and remembrances from Frank Smith's tour in Taipei....

Including my personal ramblings...  A Half Century - 56+ years ago.... 

I hope some of these photos bring a smile to your face, a touch of joy to your heart.. 

We were so fortunate to spent a part of our lives in beautiful Taiwan.
Long live Taiwan! 

Double left click on any photo you'd like to see  ENLARGED.....

 Hostel 7 -  Frank's home during his Taipei assignment. 
All photographs courtesy of Frank Smith unless otherwise noted.

Another Photo of Hostel 7

Listing of Taipei "Hostels" above
A page from the 1956 MAAG Telephone Directory
Courtesy Patrick Gannon  

Today the land of old Hostel 7 is occupied by an office of Chung Hwa Telephone Co, seen in photo below.

Current Google Earth Photo

On the grounds of old Hostel, below.. 

On the backside of the large Hostel Building, seen in photos that opened this story, sat a number of smaller buildings.  

Above, the building where Frank and his friend, Nick resided.

First door on the right, the Latrine (Head for Navy folks) and showers. 

2d door on the right, Frank and Nick's room.

Careful, slipping off sidewalk could lead to serious damage to your body

There is a small light above the Latrine door, the other lights down the building were individual lights, with switches inside each room, no one would want the light shinning into their room all night long.

Not a lot of green grass outside the door of Frank's room, looks to be swept clean, compressed dirt.

The Taipei Hostels were all different, although most if not all were old Japanese military buildings.

The "Lounge" at the Hostel 7.

Looks like a Ping-Pong match happening just inside those windows.

Perhaps I misspoke about the yard, there was grass in certain areas.

Beautiful Poinsettia plants towering over the Hostel roof. 

Tried to coax a brighter red out of this photo, every other color went south when I tried.
Poinsettia plants flower during the late fall, around Christmas into January in Taiwan.

That double door seen here, probably leads into the lounge or game room.

These Hostels were "Home" to so many of us.  
Although I believe most, if not all of the "Hostels" in the Taipei area were old Japanese buildings, which were converted to living quarters for single, unaccompanied US Military Personnel, as MAAG arrived in Taiwan in the early 1950s.....

Looks like a drainage of some sort, possibly a fish pond inside the Hostel area.
or was this in another area?

Off to right center, is the far end of the building Frank resided in.
Notice the cement slab in the center of this photo, double window center of this photo.
Frank's hostel room/building "survived" Typhoon Gloria.

Apartment building one of Frank's Army friends.

This is a Mercury..  At first look, I thought it was a Ford.  A bit of body work going on, center of passenger side door on the Mercury. (look back at previous photo above this one)

"Created in 1937 by Edsel Ford, Mercury was an entry-level premium brand intended to bridge the price gap between the Ford and Lincoln vehicle lines."

Parked behind the Mercury, a Chevrolet Impala. 

Fender Skirts on both cars.  

Notice the sign on the center of gate in this photo, I can't read it, too far away.

The sign on the gate would have identified the resident of this ground floor apartment with bedroom(s) upstairs.

If you lived outside the grounds of any US Facility, your name was on your entrance door, or the gate of single family home.

 Here it's on the entry gate, as it open's into this single apartment.

That sign looks similar to my door sign below.

Did you keep your door sign?
  I have mine, hanging on the wall in my kitchen.  

The Chinese characters on the sign are much different than the Chinese I use for my business cards today.

 My Hostel mate and I were the first occupants of our newly constructed apartment in 1966, a couple of blocks from the HSA East Compound, outside the South Back Gate.

That Hostel along Chungshan North Road, seen in photo below, was directly under the flight landing and take-off path to Sungshan Airport..
The noise on the original "Jet" airliners was screaming loud, as the pilots had to adjust their landing altitude, firing-up the engines, awaking me just about every night.
A couple of times, I woke up standing by the door to the hallway.
My room was a two individual room, another Air Force NCO and I shared a bathroom with the neighbor room to the north.

It was too much, the noise day and night, so we agreed to move out, went to the HSA Housing Office and they found a brand-new apartment for us, approximately where blue arrow is on photo below. All those old warehouses were gone when we moved into the new apartment.

East HSA Compound 

Blue Arrow, approximate location of my Apartment building.
Off to the far end of those long warehouse buildings, was a dirt road, (white line) located next to old drainage (bingo) ditch.

 Current Google Earth Photo

The apartment gate just at the rear of dark car, the white color decorative concrete blocks hide the stairs up to my newly apartment on the 2d Floor, my apartment was on the backside of the building.

  My door sign above, was hung by hooks onto the front door of my apartment, on the 2d floor.

I believe the Military Housing Office made signs for everyone renting a house or apartment, in the Taipei area, not sure if this policy was practiced around the island. 

  If you lived in BOT Family Housing, reserved for US Forces, did you have similar door identification signage?

* * * * * 

I always wondered about "License Plate colors" for US Forces in Taiwan.

  Frank's friend's Mercury,  in the photo above,  had White plates with Black number - 1678.

Here is a plate from a US Navy Captain's auto.  He was assigned to HQ MAAG during early 1970's.
A prized plate number?   ---- "007"

Anyone know how the different colors of US Forces plates were determined? .

The only photo I could find showing the license plate, partially visible, on my 1965 Mustang.
No hub caps on the vehicle.  Too easy to be stolen, they were stored in my apartment.

Photo, 1966 - 1967 south of Taichung, while visiting relatives.

My Brother-in-Law ran a Textile Manufacturing plant, in back of the gate just ahead..

Notice how dirty my car is, mud 3/4 of the way up the body.
All the vehicles that traveled up and down the island on old Highway #1 spewed mud and water.  Lots of rain water, and lots of mud along the highway.

  I hired a man that came by early every morning and washed my car, I always parked where that dark car is parked in apartment photo 3d photo above.  Plenty of room to park during those days, very few vehicles parked on the lane in front of the apartment building.

After a few months, the car metal was finely scratched from everyday washing.  The car would be covered with a fine grain of soot every morning unless it rained overnight.

Remember back in the day, just about everyone cooked with coal or charcoal....

My Mustang was already sold.  I'd made an agreement to sell the car as most of us did shortly after the car arrived.  The turnover date and sale price was stipulated in a standard document, which must have come from some military office, as I recall. 
 (I could be wrong on this)

I've seen thousands of photos over the years, taken in Taiwan,  but I've never seen my old Mustang in any of those photos.
  I'm assuming it ended up some where south of Taipei.

Frank was scheduled to leave Taiwan in the early part of September 1963 for Separation from the Air Force.

On the day before his flight, Typhoon Gloria hit the island with strong winds and rain.

All flights were cancelled and Frank was told to wait it out while new flights were assigned.

As the winds died down across the island, Frank and a friend got in a car and made their way around the area, taking photos of the damage.

Most the these photos will have no identification, but show what the winds and rain had managed to do to in different areas.

This appears to be a photo taken in the back of the Hostel, probably looking into the damaged trees. This looks to be a pile of tree limbs, etc.

This building looks awfully familiar..  Anyone recognize it?

Lots of wires down.
Some collapsed houses down off to the left.
Can only see the roofs, did the ground possibly give-way to a cave-in?

Anyone recognize the make of the large vehicle on the left? 
Dodge I believe, only 5 letters on the front.

Must be along the Keelung River, probably some area out toward the airport. 
What are those light colored buildings off to the right side on the top of this photo?

Some Bamboo down on this building, right side..
Notice the single family home just to left of the new building.

My first guess when I saw this photo was, King's Hotel,  under construction.
No, don't think so... too small

Just above, center, one of those small booths seen along the streets, laying on it's side.
  Those booths sold a number of things, including bus tokens and single cigarettes.  

Photo just above, same building as photo above,  seen from another angle.
Anyone recognize the road? (1963)

Please leave your ideas in the Comments, thank you...

Rubbish piled high along the streets, probably a school yard or small factory of some sort beyond this brush.               

No damage seen in this photo - however, this was a new gate

under construction at the Military side of Sungshan AFB.
Notice the gate guard offices on each side of the new gate.
Photo identification courtesy of my friend, Chris Wang. Thank you Chris!!

The trees are bent over, a quarter of the roof is gone, over to the right is a large stack of stone/bricks, wonder if another building came down?

 River debris.   Probably the Keelung River, close to the USTDC HQ building.
Notice the water levels, must have flooded those structures across the river...

I've seen this view of the flooding before.
It's not far from the MAAG/HSA compound, in that low area, I believe.

Notice the small building in the center of the photo.  
It would have been painted, red or was it orange and white squares?  
I believe these structures contained some type of instrumentation used by the airport. 

Perhaps someone can explain what that building housed.  Please leave a comment.

Civilian terminal at Sungshan, 1963.

Now called Songshan International Airport

This building has been expanded, and remodeled a couple of times since this photo was taken.

Very nice building today. 

This airport services a few daily flights from Asia only.  Classified by the government as a business airport, easy to get right into town versus the long ride into town from Taoyuan International, which is about 30 miles from Taipei 101.

Look to the left, there's a C-47 siting out there, probably one of the MAAG Taiwan birds.

 Taiwan military men are hard at work, lifting and securing the various lines above the road.

If you enlarge the photo, hold down Ctrl and tap the + key with your other finger.

I'm guessing that's the East Gate

What's your guess?  Please leave a Comment.

 Ximin or Shiminding area.  Don't see any damage.

Here's some damage, wondering if this was the circle area close to the railroad tracks in Ximin or Shiminding...

Here's a youngster seen along the drive around town.

Here's a shop open for business, along the tracks in Ximin, railroad tracks in rear of this building.

Anyone recognize this street or area, in Taipei?

Not much to go on, unless you remember the tall building just down the street.

If you know, please leave a Comment at the end of this post. Thank you..

They've hoisted those wires up, but what's going to hold them up.

The strongest wood, a bamboo pole maybe?

Good Luck! 

The wall fell and took out everything. 
The palms are gone!

Going to have to pull them all back straight and brace them with rope and stakes on all sides.

Signs down, roof tiles off, big problems here.

Guess they gave up..  No No No...

This was probably what it looked like before they attempted to get the wires back up.

Palm tree down, someone cut the top off the palm.
On the top of this photo, Frank's original writing.

The Palm tree sustained some damage..

I could not find a similar Palm in any of the Hostel photos.

The one that shows a Palm in the photo, is a different variety of Palm.
Great photo...

Beautiful photo. You could step-right-out onto the street and walk around.
To the right is a Bus Station.
This is a familiar photo showing China Travel Service.  
I have another photo taken in the 1950s, which is posted in one of the stories about Alice Winans, inside this Blog.  

Not positive where the next 4 photos were taken.

My friend Chris Wang identified this and the following 1963 photos.

Thank you so much Mr. Wang.

It's a small fishing boat harbor, along the Tamsui River in Tamsui.

Frank's old color slides of this small harbor were just about kaput.. I scanned them and cleaned and cleaned the dust that had settled into the plastic, finally was able to coax some color into them, but obviously not the best, it was just lost to age.....!

So happy we were able to get these old photographs up for all to see.

1963 Photo taken from 1 street above the small harbor.

Looking west toward where the river ends as it joins the ocean. 
Could not coax much color or quality out of this old photo, a little purple, that's it.

A small fishing boat harbor, in Tamsui.

Current Google Earth photo, same small harbor.

From the sidewalk fronting the small harbor.  Basically same view photo just above, taken 50+ years later.

1963 Photo

1963 Photo  

1963 Photo

Current Google Earth Photo

Same small Port as photos in this group BUT, no longer see Fishing Nets hanging around!

The Old Tamsui business district is just east, straight ahead, up the river toward Taipei.

Frank's photo.

1963 - British Consulate housing in Tamsui

Frank was friends with Colin Brown, who Frank believed was one of their Intel Officers at the British Consulate.
Apparently Mr. Brown resided in this or another of the building on the grounds of the old Fort San Domingo.

Wow, look at this garden area, how would you like to wake-up to the beauty and aroma of the air flowing into your room every morning. Cloth outside window shades photo above.

The British Consulate occupied the most Magnificat site of any foreign Consulate in Taiwan.
  No question about it.

They were up on the hill at Fort San Domingo, above the Tamsui River and the coast.  

"Fort San Domingo"
Fort San Domingo was originally a wooden fort built by the Spanish in 1628 at Tamsui District, New Taipei, Taiwan, who were the governor of northern Taiwan during the era, and was named as "Fort San Domingo". Courtesy of Wikipedia

Here's a link to many photos taken of the grounds of Fort Domingo, where the British Consulate was located in the 1963 time period.

While we are discussing the British Consulate, in Tamsui, I want to take a moment to talk a bit about the, Tamsui Foreign Cemetery.

 Photo courtesy Tamsui Foreign Cemetery Facebook Page.

Inside this cemetery, a US Navy sailor rests.  I believe this seaman is the only US Military individual now resting in Taiwan.

Below a Comment I left on the Foreign Cemetery Facebook site last year. 

The Canadian Government Trade Office in Taiwan has taken on the task of overseeing the Cemetery.

Thank you, Canada!

Here's my Facebook Comment last year.
Kent Mathieu to Tamsui Foreign Cemetery

Thank you all for your stewardship of this old and beautiful resting place of those who came before us.
On this U.S. Memorial Day 2018, I wanted to post a photograph of ceremonies that took place in the cemetery 60 years ago today. Some of the community assembled, along with an Honor Guard from the U.S. Embassy, at the Foreign Cemetery to remember C.D. Brown, a US Naval Sailor, interned in Tamsui. 

Looking at the photo background taken 60 years ago, it seems the cemetery was out by itself.  
This photo was taken US Memorial Day 1958. - 60+ years ago.

Now a mix of photos from around the Taipei Area, all 1963 time frame.
Looking east back up the river toward the Tamsui city center and on toward Taipei City. 

Lots of folks turned-out in 1958 to remember and Honor our US Navy Sailor, who rests in the Tamsui Foreign Cemetery.

Our US Marine Honor Guard was assigned at US Embassy, Taipei. 

US Navy Bugler stands on right. 

In September 1944,  WWII was waning,  some of the Japanese forces were running to Japan.  

Many US Military Prisons of War (POWs) from around Asia were being loaded aboard Japanese cargo ships, stuffed into the cargo holds, and transported to Japan to be workers (slave laborers) feeding the Japanese War Industries!

 Many of these ships stopped at Kaohsiung, (remember Taiwan was a part of Japan at this time) The Japanese ran Slave Labor camps in Taiwan at this time also.

Here is a link to what happened to some of the "Hellships" while they tied up in Kaohsiung in January 1945.

Here's the story of what took place on 9 January 1945, Kaohsiung Harbor.

 Photo above,  Official Photograph,  US Military

I received a note from a cousin of one of the men killed inside one of these anchored ships when our aircraft bombed the Japanese Ships in Kaohsiung Harbor on 9 January 1945.

Please double click here to read about the man that was inside the ship.

 For more information on POW's that were held in Taiwan during WWII, please link to Michael Hurst's web page below.

Michael has spend many years researching and locating all of the know locations were POW's were held in Taiwan.

Here's the link to the Taiwan POW Society site, discussing "Hellships" as well as the complete Taiwan POW Society site.

Thank you Michael Hurst ! - Job well done....

Before we leave the Tamsui area, I want to point your attention to the Tamsui Golf and Country Club..

The road leading to the Golf Course and Country Club was close to the small harbor in Tamsui,

Alice Winans and Major Ken Dayton waiting to tee-off at the Tamsui course circa 1952-53.. 

Notice on the left - someone is in his backward swing,  ready to lift his ball off the tee...

More photos from around the Taipei area continue below......

Don't forget to double click on any photo for a larger view.
See what's hiding in those photos.

Typical group of farm homes outside of Taipei.

Recently constructed Apartment buildings, just outside an old farm home and pond.

Blow-up this photo and take a look around.

On the left side, a couple of men working on something. 

Looks like a rice paddy just in the front here.  Sugar cane off to the left?

Resting.... under the shade of the small trees..
An Honored Member of the family that owns this beautiful animal. 
Usually a young boy in the family would be responsible for the animal.

 What's inside those tanks down the hill, probably fuel of some sort.

Probably taken in same area as photo just above.

Beside a road, you have a roof above your head.  Amen.
Banana tree in the rear.  

 It's 1963.....
My goodness..  Look at the work that's gone into this home.

There's brick in the back, stone in the front.

I don't know anything about home construction, but this is a nice dwelling and the family moving-in will be proud home owners.
What's one of the best feelings you have even experienced?
Moving into your OWN home! 

1963 Photo.

It's out of focus, but I wanted to include this old one.

What's the occasion, lots of decoration, could it be Double 10 celebration on this street of 

Look at the building just off to the front of the Red Taxi.
The owners have cemented off all of the windows?

What are they storing in there?  Must be expensive goods of some sort.

Don't see any damage along this street.
Probably taken before the Typhoon.

This lady is probably hauling wood.for her water heater,
Someone in the home had to get up early to start the water heater fire.

Across the street, part of the roof tiles are gone.

 What are these wreaths standing here?

I'm guessing, Grand Opening of the Guang Fuh Barber Shop.

The Red Color Chinese writing on the circular wreath says it all.

Hope you enjoyed reading through this Post.

Forgive me for going on and on.

More stories lined-up and just a matter of time until they will be here for you to read./.

Thanks for looking..

Please leave any questions, comments, etc below.