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

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Looking Back at Don Meyer's Hong Kong Trip in December 1956

Many of us assigned to Taiwan took advantage of the "IALP" set-aside for military members and families, to visit Hong Kong.

Can someone please decipher the abbreviation, IALP.. which you can see in the set of MAAG orders below.

I've removed "Serial Numbers" from the orders.

A reminder, in 1956, the government of Hong Kong was run by the British. 
 American Military and families were welcomed.

Don Meyer, who was featured in a previous story in this Blog, took advantage of the travel opportunities offered by MAAG Taiwan and flew into Hong Kong on 3 December 1956 aboard a MAAG Taiwan C-47 aircraft.

Here's one of MAAG Taiwan's C-47 aircraft, in this photo, resting in Hong Kong
awaiting return trip to Taipei.

I know this is Hong Kong because of the Aircraft Maintenance Shop seen in the right side of this photo, in the background, which I know is in Hong Kong.

Don only sent over 1 photo of his visit to Hong Kong, seen below.  Don said he had more, but could not locate them at the time he sent this group of photos to me.

 No one standing on the sidewalk in this photo, not typical of Hong Kong.

Here's what we have from Don's visit to Hong Kong, I hope you enjoy going through the booklet and re-acquainting yourself with Hong Kong by seeing the shop advertisements and wonderful maps.

Perhaps some of your purchases were made at one of the shops seen in the booklet.

Double Click on the photos to make them LARGER!

Booklet dated November 1956..

Just about 64 years ago.  It doesn't seem that long ago.

When did you visit Hong Kong?

My first visit, via MAAG C-47, in 1967.
You can find that story in this blog, as well as other visits to Hong Kong in later years.

The two photos above, will paste together so see how the Hong Kong Island looks from Bay View.

Just noticed that I am missing 2 photos of the booklet.

Inside the back cover and the back cover of the booklet.

I'm going to skip posting those two photos.  If you want them,  please email me:

Here's a receipt for Don's purchase of clothing from Rene Tailor..

$24.00 One Gent's Suit  
$16.00 Two Trousers
$12.00 Four Shirts
$3.00 Four Scarfs

$55.00 US

I would venture to say, just about everyone who visited Hong Kong back in the day, came back with clothing, and a suit case full of other goodies for family and parents.

Hope you enjoyed reliving those days we had, be it Taiwan, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Japan, or where every you visited, they were exciting days for sure.

Memories all and happy days they were.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Early Years of MAAG Updated: 24 April 2021

I received word this week that Don Meyer, the man who shared his old photographs for this story, had passed.
When Don originally contacted me last year, he said that he was undergoing treatments in Minneapolis, he never mentioned his diagnosis. 
His service was today, 24 April 2021 in Owatonna, Minnesota. 

Don told me he had more old photographs in his basement and if and when he had the energy, he'd sent them over.
He never got down the basement..  
But, we have do have all of his wonderful photographs, you will see in his story, 
just below.
May God Bless Donald E. Meyer 
November 27, 1936 - April 21, 2021

MAAG Taiwan


Today's Story is extremely long, please take time to read.

We are publishing OUR History in Taiwan including photos
and commentary to support our writings (unless otherwise indicated)

We're stepping back into our early years in Taiwan..  

Don Meyer's duty assignment was at Shimen, a Radar Site.

Shimen was  located on the ocean side of Highway #2 or 7?
as you drove northeast toward Keelung,
before you arrived at Camp McCauley.

Courtesy Lou Anne Lee

Don Meyer sent a number of old photographs he'd taken during his assignment in Taiwan, 1955-1957.

We have very few old photographs from this time period.

How long has it been since Don served in Taiwan?

65 Years Ago...  kind of makes you stop and think for a moment...

Thank you Don ..... we appreciate seeing these photographs.

They're part of our HISTORY in Taiwan.

Don's ID's, below.  Don, was 19 years old. 
These ID's were the same, in looks and color, as most of us carried.
You probably have your old Taiwan cards stashed some where.

MAAG Compound 1955-1957 - notice MAAG Shield signage, way back inside..
Double click on any the photo for a LARGE view.

In later years, The MAAG Compound was "renamed" - HSA West Compound...

First time I've seen the white MAAG Entrance sign (above)
It's just on right side of the car turning into compound.
What is the word below, MAAG Lettering on sign, can't make it out.  (anyone remember) 

Isn't that a Mercury turning into the compound? 

AND, notice on right side, just in front of the Mercury, a Petticab carrying a customer  
INSIDE the compound.
I believe the rules on petticabs being allowed inside the compound was an "ever changing situation."  

Probably flipped back and forth for a number of reasons.

Not a Taxi in view. Just about everyone took a Petticab or Pedicab in those early days. 

A Taiwan Military Gate Guard stands at the MAAG Compound entrance.

Absolutely GREAT Photo, never seen anything like it, here, inside the MAAG Compound in those early years, vehicles going to and fro.

Look at the height of these flag poles. 
I thought, they were awfully tall, and I was going to point that out.
Yesterday, I was up at Schofield Barracks Hawaii to shop at the commissary.

As we drove out of the Commissary parking lot, I noticed the flag pole close to the Schofield Barracks Headquarters building,  looked to be about the same height as the poles in the photo above.  These must be standard height?

Notice that 1954(?) Chevy on the left, awfully dirty and looks like the front bumper is bent, and, is that rear door window area also bent in along the center of the window?

The Jeep pulling out in front of the Chevy is moving so fast that it's out of focus!

Photo above seems to be pointed toward the Grand Hotel.

Notice the outdoor window sun-shades on lower left of the above photo. 
We had those in my home in Texas in the 1950's,  also notice the window A/C sitting just below the window shade on the left.

Looks like a couple of warehouses farther down this street.

Photo courtesy of  Formosa Vintage Museum
Building number, T-122

The MAAG Auditorium was the site of Church Services in the early 1950s before the MAAG Chapel was constructed and opened.

Where was this photo taken?

My guess, along the west side of Chung Shan North Road, looking South, the MAAG Compound Gate was just up the road on the right, toward the top of this photo, past where a group of men ( probably Petticab Drivers) are standing around along the sidewalk. 

Petticabs lined-up waiting for fares

I'm guessing there were only two or three empty Petticabs siting outside the MAAG Compound Gate at any time, check the first picture of the gate above, the others lined up back in this area waiting their turn to be called up to the Gate.

If you look across the street, possibly the gate into the East Compound, you can see a sign on what looks like a fence, probably the gate area.

Unfortunately, I've not seen much in the way of old photos of the street area,
looking south or northward, in the early 1950s. from the west side of the street.

Can you HELP?

Before we move more into this story, I want to ask for some help.

I know many of you who read this blog, are probably in possession of 
your "folks" old photos and boxes of Taiwan goodies.

I'm looking for something, a document or photo, that identifies buildings seen in aerial photos that indicate the building numbers on a photo or document
it could be a line drawing also, something you never took time to review, 
who wants to look at old maps, or drawings....


If we could find an old photo or document that shows building numbers, on roofs or beside the buildings, we could easily figure out what was inside these structures,  by using old telephone books which usually list building numbers beside the telephone number. 

Look at the photo below, we're looking for something like this. 
 Anything with Building numbers.

On the left below, the Golf Driving Range was identified as building 1104.

On the right, The Fire Station was building 901.

Enlarge the Map Above to see clearly
Double click on the map for LARGE View

Above, a Map drawing of the U.S. area of Tainan Air Base, in the 1970s.

Notice the Building Numbers on the buildings or beside them.

We are looking for
any map or drawing (such as one above) with building numbers.
We have some maps of US Facilities with building numbers.

What we don't have:

Maps or drawings with Building Numbers of the MAAG Compound 
and the East Compound, in the early years, beginning in the 1950s.

We do have some from later years, after the 1950s.

Here, we're looking at part of the MAAG Compound, circa 1950s,
in later years this compound was renamed, HSA West Compound, 
and we have drawings with building numbers of some of the buildings.

What we need are drawings or maps with building numbers
for the 1950s.

All those buildings across the street, none with building numbers.

Thank you for you help.

We would be thankful for anything
that points out building numbers, or names of offices, anything.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all...

This Map was a page of the 1956 MAAG Taiwan Telephone Book.
What's identified on this map were important points during that year.

 The "New Compound" across the street from the MAAG Compound, 
the, "East Compound" as it was later named, had on-going "new" construction. 

The new Construction was on-going in the "PSD Compound" 

I asked a few friends from Taiwan who had served in Taipei what PSD stood for.

A lot of guesses, no verified answers, until I telephoned Ira House, Ira was in Taiwan at the same time, he worked in the Sugar Building and he immediately called out the name...

Provisional Signal Detachment....

The 2d Club 63 building in the MAAG Compound
This building closed in 1957 and moved to the New Club 63 Building, across the river. 
Just above, those window sun-shades again, even one is covering the window a/c.
"The" air conditioners in Taiwan sold at the Navy Exchange during my tour in Taiwan
were "Fedders" You could sell your A/C window units on departure from Taiwan.

Here's the Snack Bar.

I believe this photo was taken inside the Snack Bar inside the MAAG Compound.
 Club 63's Snack Bar was the only Snack Bar in the MAAG Compound that I am aware
of, until Club 63 moved to it's new Club building across the river. (my assumption)

With the loss of the Club 63 facility inside the MAAG Compound in 1957,  the Exchange must have stepped-in and opened a Snack Bar, that remained in the Compound until we left Taiwan, many years later.
(Of course having been remodeled a number of times )

Only a glimpse of the Snack Bar Menu can be seen in the right upper corner. 

  Probably both Enlisted and Officer's could use the Club 63 Snack Bar.

All of my writings about Club 63 inside the MAAG Compound is "mostly conjecture" on my part.  I have little written history, of what happened before Club 63 moved to it new facility, but it sounds and seems to sit right.

Thank you, Chris Wang for your helpful translation of this photo!
This is only 1 photo, too long to see, I had to cut the photo in half.

Employees seated somewhere (probably that parking lot surrounding the Church) 
inside the MAAG Compound, on Dec 5th 1955. 

 The Club manager, a Mr. English, was departing Taiwan.
This was probably one his last days as Club Manager, and he would soon leave Taiwan.
 My guess, he could have been the first Manager of Club 63 and the Oasis Club.
Getting the clubs up and running and staying on for a number of years was beneficial 
to both Club's and the Command itself in many ways.
These Clubs were where just about everyone visited, for dining, entertainment, and relaxation.

Just across Chung Shan North Road, during these early years, was the Oasis Club.
An small Officer's Club, which was probably busy, especially for lunch during the week.
When the "New" Officer's Club opened just a block or so farther north on Chung Shan North Road, the Oasis Club closed.

We'll talk about both, the "New" Officer's and NCO Clubs which opened later in 1950s.

Some years later, the  "Old" Oasis Club building was opened as the Linkou NCO Club Annex.

Lot's of mind boggling talk of club's Opening and Closing..

We'll clear it all up in another story, coming soon!

Looking back to the lady at the counter of the Snack Bar, ABOVE, it seems to me, that's an awfully high counter.  I assume you ordered from that counter. the lady has her order booklet ready to write down your order.  Ira House remembered the high counter.

Put out your cigarette in the ash tray on the right, get out your wallet and pay for your order if you had cash.

Apparently, some of the young military men, lost a lot of money gambling,  playing the slot machines, at card games, or what ever, and they were often broke before payday.

Club 63 was always available for those down on their luck.  
You could purchase Chit Books (Credit) from the club, payable the next payday. 

Also, men residing at various Hostels in the city, could "Charge" their meals at their hostel Dining Rooms.  The charges were carried as a debt until the next Pay Day, when you were required to pay your charges.

Ira House mentioned to me in a recent telephone call, that the Club 63 facility, had their monthly Hail and Farewell get together with those scheduled to depart Taiwan at the end our their tours and to welcome new arrivals to Taiwan.

These gatherings were quite a party,  full sit-down meal, with drinks and gifts for each man having completed his Taiwan assignment. During these early years, just about everyone traveled to and from Taiwan on passenger ships.

Apparently, the only military members returning to CONUS via aircraft were those being returned for disciplinary action or Emergency Leave, with few exceptions.

Ira's gift from Club 63 was a silver cigarette lighter and a silver cigarette case.  Ira still has the case in his home, Ira sent an old photo, the photo has deteriorated over the years, and the silver color faded so much that I could not clean/clear it enough to make it sharp enough to post here.

Also, some place inside the MAAG Compound, was the Embassy Commissary!
Assume the name explains what it was.
This was 1956, things changed through the years.

Have never seen a photo or had anyone mentioning the Post Exchange, inside the MAAG Compound.  

(In the early years, everything in MAAG was run by the Army

The Navy later, took over all services, including the Exchange when Taiwan Defense Command came into existence.  

Will write a Post here explaining how things changed through the years, when I assemble
the documents and bits and pieces of information to make sense of all the changes. 

Looks like a Coke Vending Machine on the wall seen to the left of the Snack Bar waitress.

 That Coke machine was probably for Snack Bar storage only, not for customers, nickels or dimes.  

I know the military would have Coke, Pepsi and other refrigerated dispensing units, and use them where they wanted, not necessarily how Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, or Dr. Pepper had envisioned their use. (I was the Club Manager at the Fort Polk Golf Course Club House Restaurant for a few years in the late 1970s.)  I know how soda machine hardware use in the military clubs worked.
I recall you could purchase Coca Cola in 6 oz. glass bottles from the Embassy Shop (1965-1968) (whose earlier name was "the Embassy Commissary") located in the MAAG Compound.

I did find Coke in bottles at a new Golf Course, located some place not very far from Taipei Air Station in 1967. 

As I recall, that golf course was constructed very close to a river, probably a flood plane at one time.  

 Only played Golf there once. Could never keep my ball on the fairway.

The Golf Course would have hosted many "foreigners" on their greens, and because those players would have probably wanted a soft drink, out on the course, they sold Coca Cola in glass bottles.

Coke was not sold on the street in Taiwan during these early years.

Side note:  Alice Winans, who is the subject of a few stories in this blog, worked at Taiwan Trading Company in Taipei.  Search for "Alice Winans" in the right margin "Search" box. 

The man who owned Taiwan Trading Company,  was captured by the Japanese Military in Manila during WWII and held in captivity with his wife until the Japanese fled the Philippines. 

He owned the Coca Cola Cola Franchise for Hong Kong, then a Crown Colony of the British Empire. 

That brings up the question, who owned the Franchise to bottle Coca Cola in Taiwan in the early years of MAAG?

Now, that question would possibly involve,  how you see Taiwan!
Can you imagine how expensive the License to bottle Coca Cola would sell for? 

Unfortunately, Alice Winans passed a number of years ago.

 During our many telephone talks, the local Coca Cola situation was never discussed.

The whole subject of Coca Cola in Taiwan, appears to have been deep in political intrigue! 

Who knew?

Let's get back to Don and his assignment..  

Don was initially housed at Hostel #1, Grass Mountain (Yangminshan)

Here's Grass Mountain Hostel #1, circa 1959 
Still being in use today.

 Inside Grass Mountain Hostel #1 - an In-door Hot Springs Pool.
John Crum (1945-2015) seen here enjoying the warm waters of the pool, in 1968.

John Crum wrote the Taiwan Blog,  "Taipei Signal Army"
Here's a link to John's Blog still open with posts until 2015 --  Taipei Signal Blog.

Sometime after Don Meyer's arrival, the construction of the Hostel at Shimen was completed. 

 All of the Shimen Airmen housed at Grass Mountain Hostel, were relocated to the new 
Shimen Hostel.

The Large Black Arrow in top center of this photo points to Shimen's location,
  on the outcropping north of Highway 2. 

Incidentally - I'm not sure, just what the Highway Number was/is that runs next to Shimen, 
is it 2 or 7?  I saw other maps showing the highway as 7.
The above map indicates Hwy 2. 
Did this highway actually have two different numbers at different times, or were the numbers goofed-up by reading a 2 for a 7 or a 7 for a 2?

At my "new" NATO assignment in Naples, Italy, 1974, 
I learned how to "write" the number "seven" correctly! 

Which 7 above is "Fool Proof" when being hand written?

The 7 with a cross..

Lesson learned, I'll always remember....
And, yes, I always Cross my 7s.

Photo courtesy - Chuck Adkins.

Shimen and it's Radar Domes along the Coastal highway toward Keelung. 
Notice the water tower 3/4 the way across this photo toward right side.
That water tower was constructed of cement, both the support and the water tank.
  It sat on a high point to increase water flow pressure.

Water tanks, on Taiwan Military facilities, that the U.S. constructed, had large steel tanks. 

Below, old photos of U.S. Constructed Water Tanks.

You can see steel tanks in old photographs taken at Tainan AB and CCK AB. 
The tank at Tainan AB, seen below, constructed in 1957 was replaced with a Cement tank sometime after our Military left Taiwan.

Photo courtesy Roger Trzebiatowski circa 1973 
Tainan AB Water Tower.

Building just ahead of water tower with high small windows, was the pump and water processing building.

My Photo taken Oct 2013, 40 years later.
Steel Water tower had been taken down, probably rusted out.

I believe this new tower was a little east of the old steel tower.

This tower looked new, I took this photo looking south.
Water processing plant building is still operational, pumping and cleaning water today 
 (in 2013)

Another "Steel Tank" below...

Photo courtesy David Johnson 

 Steel Water Tower and Tank recently constructed on CCK AB, circa 1966.
I've been in Taiwan many times during the past 10+ years.
When passing through Taichung, if I looked out the window of the High Speed Rail, I could see the CCK Water Tower off to the west if it wasn't a heavy smog day.

I noticed through the years, the old Orange and White paint faded so much it turned a darker color, probably dirt and corrosion. 

It was like that for many years.

Old Cement Water Tower seen  just to left of new tower.

On the right side of this photo, CCK Base Chapel, 1966. 
Chapel building was converted to a Museum filled with everything that encompassed 
the years of U.S.history on CCK. 

Search for CCK Museum in the "Search Box" on right side of this Blog
You'll find videos taken inside the building as well as lots of other interesting stories.

  In 2014, on one of my trips south in Taiwan, I noticed that the water tower had been repainted with the Orange/Red and White colors and took this photo from inside the High Speed Rail train as we came into Taichung Station on 19 August 2014.

Double click on the Photo for a large easy to see view.
  Perhaps a new Commander on CCK had the Water Tower painted as part of his 
"sprucing-up" of the base facilities..

 Shihmen Hostel 1966-69 courtesy  John Hornbeck.

I believe this Square Cement Water Tower was probably constructed when the Hostel building went up.

It's much shorter than the tank seen in the B&W photo taken along the highway coming into the Shimen area, forth photo above. 

Let's get back on the main subject, Don Meyer's photos...

This flooding occurred often when rain storms passed overhead.
Building was about 10 years old when this photo taken.

I believe this building (above) was the Hostel Don resided in, but the older one below may have been Don's hostel. Don did not send outside shots of His hostel.

This photo taken at Shimen.
This was an older building, notice the roof, looks like cement tile of some sort,

This IS NOT Don at the Pool table, in the Shimen Day Room.
President Johnson's Photo on the wall next to President Chiang ki-Shek's photo.
Photo is beginning to dissolve from age, (65 years ago)...

 Not Don, another Airman, at Shimen Hostel.

Don's desk in his Hostel Room.
A couple of radios, Don said he won that Pixie Doll someplace.

More of Don's friends, at Shimen.

Another Airmen at Shimen..
Love guitar music, soothing..

While Don was living up at Yangminshan, he got out into the park area and walked the hills.

Of course, he took many photos.

Remember, these were taken 1955-56.

 Ready for a visit into the hills.

Dressed in the day's blue jeans with high-water folds and boots.
That was the style in those years.

Up the old steps on Yangminshan.
Smile for Mom!

Here's a beautiful home up in the area.

A walk along a path in the mountain park.
"Smoke um if you got um..."
No one wearing shorts in the 1950s.

Somewhere up in the Yangminshan area.
UPDATE: I am working (cleaning-up old photos in the Photoshop program) of a series of Mid 1950s photographs. A number of these photos are of this old firetruck driving around the area, with Children and some family members, on-board. 
You can imagine the happiness and thrill it was riding on the old firetruck. 

I'm not sure when they will be ready to publish, I want to finish cleaning them, which takes me sometimes a hours or more on each, and my eyes are up-in-age, so I have to work slow.
This Fire truck does not look very old when this photo was taken.
The photo has deteriorated a bit, so the truck looks older.
 Anyone recognize the Seal (manufacturer name) on center front above license plate? 
Oh, there's an emblem on this side also, in front of the siren. 

Here's a home in the mountain area.
This was quite new probably, or the gate and wall was new.
Notice the cement block walls.

 Who took the first picture? 
The woman on the left side. partially covered by the bush is waiting for the photo to be shot.

Some type of housing up on the hill, is that a street light in upper center?
A lot of work went into this stream bed.

Small standing pond, probably beside a stream. It's not a banana plant, 
but the leaves are beautiful.

 The oldest child, a girl, responsible for 5 children.
What happened, all the children are looking toward the ground. 
Maybe the men had some candy or something in their bag.
These children possibly had never seen or encountered foreign military men before.
Life was difficult for many during this time period.
Plenty of fire wood stacked in the shed, to the right in the back.
Just imagine the difficulties this family went through... this photo touched my heart.
Life was hard for many families in Taiwan during these years.

Someone's Monkey, he's tied with a white rope.
What's going on with  the tree on the left.
Looks like there is some materiel or is it a Snake skin wrapped around the tree.
Is it a help or hindrance to the monkey climbing the tree?

Great place to sit down and rest.
Coolness in the air, mist touching your face, crashing water, soothing to the mind, relax, close you eyes....  Rest...

Really refreshing to hear and feel the moist air.

Laundry morning at the stream. 
What does the sign say behind the woman scrubbing her clothes?

I'm wondering what they're planting?  There are12 or 13 folks in the field.

 Sunday best, strolling the area.

 Everyone dressed in their Sunday best. 

What's inside the basket? I'm guessing the young girl is selling some type of snack.

 Off to some where of importance.

  Anyone recall where this fish was displayed?
Not sure how large this fish is, hard to figure out.
I remember a fish like this in a parking lot area up in the park close to one of the President's  houses.

I received a note from Yvonne, she wrote to clarify where this Fish was displayed and the name of the Temple:

This is Zhinan Temple (指南宮in Muzha. 


 Sit down, relax in the shade, walking the hills can wear you out.

Looks like some type of building up the hill. someone's bag on the table.

 Nice photo of the Water Buffalo, looking relaxed and content.

Two youngsters, standing along the beach.
The boys are out searching for something, notice the tin can on the younger boy's waist and the stick he is also carrying.  

I'm not sure what they were they looking for, something in the sand probably.

Don took a few color slides, of the area around and north from Shimen.

  I seen very few Color Photos of this area taken in the mid 1950s.

Along the north coast of Taiwan in our early years it was very quiet.

Some of Don's slides have deteriorated and I could not bring out some of their true colors.

 Good job!

Someone on the right side, standing in water, back of boat, 
wearing a wrist watch, assume a parent, 
but, all look like youngsters.

The 3 photos above seem to go together.

Beautiful......  Not another person in sight.


There's a Chicken walking toward the rubbish pile looking for a snack. 
Enlarge the photo to see for yourself.  Mouse on picture, double click Mouse = Big Picture.
Two people on beach across the water.

Rain coming soon!

 Youngsters all around.  No one wants to look at the Camera!

This boy seems to be carrying a pan full of some type of fish, he's happy!
Beautiful white sand.

Hope you enjoyed a look back at Don Meyer's Taiwan days.

Don traveled to Hong Kong during his tour, and we will have some materiel
of his trip soon, including his old Map of Hong Kong.

Thank you for your help.

We strive to leave as much History of our time in Taiwan as you can send.

Tsi Gen,

See you soon.

You can write to me with questions or thoughts, etc.