Saturday, December 27, 2008
And here folks, is the same gate and the same building when the occupants were more hospitable, way back in 1967. This was the MAAG HQ building located in the MAAG East Compound.
This photo courtesy of Brenda Kane, MAAG Taiwan 1967.
A Taipei Times article here indicates that the old facility is in the last stage of it's service to the United States government.
Coming soon: Tainan AB - 1958
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Blogs now have the capability to show video clips.
Some folks probably have old 8 or Super 8 mm film of your days in Taiwan. It's possible that your film may still be good enough covert to digital format.
If you have film of your time in Taiwan, and would consider having it posted on this blog, please let me know.
I will have it converted to digital format and return your film and a DVD copy to you at my expense.
These old films from the 50s, 60s and 70s will bring back "to life" our days in Taiwan.
It's exciting to think about seeing old film of the places lived, visited and knew so well.
Please e-mail me if you have film you would consider posting on the blog.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Practice and more practice on the bunkers.
This has to be the cleanest bunker on the island!
CChildren on their way to school.
I received a nice note from Richard MacDowell who served at Tainan AB 1973-1974. These are his personal photographs.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Surprise - as a Thanksgiving gift, Google Earth showed up today with English names on many of the streets throughout the island.
Take a look for yourself. If you don't have Google Earth, download it from here.
My thanks and appreciation to the good folks who run Google Earth.....
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Hopefully a very memorable one with family and friends.
Above all -- enjoy it to the fullest --
Photo courtesy of "Compass" Taichung's City Guide, November 2008. (copied from the printed Compass magazine.)
Expats can get their fill of Roast Turkey and all the trimmings at a couple of establishments listed in the picture to the left. These eateries are located in Taichung.
The prices range from NT$500. ($15. US) an all you can eat buffet at the FuBar, to a Thanksgiving dinner plate for NT$195. ($6. US) at PJ's Cafe.
click on the photo above for an enlarged copy.
No matter where in the world you might be, Thanksgiving Turkeys are sure to show up in late November.
I'm told most of the Turkeys shipped into Taiwan are sold at COSTCO stores throughout the island.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Colonel C.D. Lewis, a fighter pilot in the European theater, arrived in Taipei in the fall of 1952. His home town is believed to be Spruce Pine, Alabama.
Major Sam Jones, also assigned to MAAG, left Taiwan in the fall of 1952 and returned to Charlotte SC.
Another is Major Gordon Parks.
These fellows and Ms. Baillard spent time together, "hung out," in Taipei and the surrounding area during 1951 and 1952.
Ms. Baillard was employed in the civilian community at Taiwan Trading Company which had offices on Chungshan North Road.
Ms. Baillard's mail to me closed with these words, "Any leads you might furnish would be more than appreciated."
Ms. Baillard now resides in Arizona and turned 90 years old last month.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Please visit our American GI's Return to Taiwan in 2009 blog site here.
Taiwan in 2009 Trip Details. This Update: 03 November 2008
Concerns raised in e-mail from Taiwan veterans about the heat, humidity and possibility of typhoons in July and others who asked that we move our visit out of the peak travel season during the summer months, we have, after lengthy consideration, changed the trip date to September 2009.
The weather will be somewhat cooler and the summer travel season is over.
Our arrival date in Taipei is now scheduled for Friday, 11 September 2009.
Your departure date would be on Wednesday, 09 September from CONUS. Actual airline schedules are not yet available, but current schedules with China Air Lines, historically the least expensive way to fly, put their CONUS flights into Taiwan very early in the morning.
We chose a Wednesday departure flight date from CONUS which lands in Taipei early Friday morning.
Here is our proposed travel schedule in Taiwan:
11 September: Friday- Traveling and Arrival in Taiwan
Arrival at Taoyuan International Airport between 0500 and 0800 hours.
Most of us will be arriving via China Air Lines from CONUS early on Friday morning.
As you depart from the aircraft, you will have to walk a considerable distance to the baggage claim area (there are moving sidewalks.)
After securing your checked baggage, you may want to consider stopping at the Money Exchange area to convert $100.00 US currency into NT$ to cover the bus ride to the hotel, which is about NT$ 150.00 Additionally, you will want to have some NT$ on-hand to tip the bell boy at the hotel, or purchase a snack or beverage in the terminal before our bus leaves for the hotel. Currency can be converted at the hotel or at most banks. It is faster and easier in your hotel. VISA and Master Card are accepted just about everywhere.
Note: You can check the most up-to-date currency conversion rates on our blog, it is the last and bottom entry of things to view. Check this address also for current rates.
You will now pass through customs and immigration where your passport will be stamped with a 30 day visitor visa. After customs, it’s only a short walk down the hallway and into the terminal arrival area.
As you enter the terminal area, look for our sign “TAIWAN IN 2009” Someone will be stationed at the entrance of the terminal holding that signage and will greet and guide you with information on our bus ride to the hotel.
Once we have gathered all our group of arrivals from the various aircraft, we will board a commercial bus and travel as a group to Taipei and our hotel. The trip should take 45 minutes to an hour. We will check-in at our hotel and the remainder of the day is free.
I will attempt to visit with everyone as you arrive. I want to pass out everyone’s cell phone number, a list of our group members with room numbers, and a small bio on each of us. I plan to do this at the hotel, using their business office to print the information forms. This will insure no one is ever without immediate assistance no matter where you. All you have to do is call one of us from your cell phone and help is on the way! No stress, we are all hooked together by telephone.
Before you travel, check to see if your cell phone works in Taiwan. You can look it up on the internet or call your cell phone provider to ask for Taiwan availability. Most major US carrier’s cellular phones will operate in Taiwan. When your aircraft comes to a stop at the gate area, turn on your phone. Chances are you will receive a text message on it before you reach the baggage claim area informing you which Taiwan cellular company can accommodate your incoming and outgoing cellular phone calls. As you rest in the terminal area, you might want to call home to let your family know you have arrived safely in Taipei and let them know your cell is working fine.
The ac power supply is still 110, so your phone charger will operate just like home.
12 September: Saturday - Day One in Taiwan - Taipei
Meet at hotel dining room for breakfast between 6:00 and 7:00 AM. We will go over notes, talk about any information that needs to be discussed and what is in store for today, Saturday. We should be out of the hotel by 8:30 and on our way to the MRT station. We will ride to Taipei Air Station, visit the area, also the JCC area (if someone worked there during their assignment) we can ask for a tour. Then stop by the National Taiwan University and possibly the Taiwan Air Defense Command Center.
Back on the MRT and travel to the area where the Headquarters Support Activity (HSA) East and West Compounds once stood, the commissary, the Navy Exchange, the gas station, the Embassy shop, then down the street to the old “entertainment” district and a stop at the Florida Bakery for a yummy pastry, look around the area, maybe stop for a tasty lunch. After lunch, we could jump back on the MRT and visit Taipei 101, the tallest building in Taiwan and for a time, the tallest building in the world. A beautiful place to visit. Then if anyone wants to visit, and we are permitted inside, a visit to Grass Mountain and the old compound there. By this time, everyone will probably be tiring. It’s probably time to head back to the hotel.
Dinner and the remainder of the evening is your choice.
13 September: Sunday - Day Two in Taiwan - Taipei
Breakfast meet-up in the hotel dining room, between 6:00 and 7:00 AM. Discuss notes, answer questions, etc. After a great breakfast, coffee, and a newspaper, we will leave about 8:30 for a visit to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. After visiting there, a short rest and then on to the Presidential Office Building, the 228 Peace Park and other buildings in this area. Many of us would probably like to see Shiminding (West Gate Area) again. You remember, the huge movie signs 2 or 3 stories high. Our old hang-out for seeing the latest films and shopping. Oh how it has changed, you need to see this area once again. Maybe then visit the military museum or the postal museum. This will be enough for today, back to the hotel and the night is free.
14 September: Monday - Day Three in Taiwan - Travel
Breakfast in hotel at 6:00 – 7:00 AM, eat, talk, etc. Check out of hotel and head for our tour bus as we begin our Taiwan tour.
We will begin our journey heading north east for Keelung, visiting an artist town Jioufen, then on to an old gold mine, and a World War II POW camp at Chinguashii. Then back west where we catch the highway and drive through the longest tunnel in Asia (Hsuehshan tunnel at 12942 meters, 8 miles long) toward the Ilan Valley and along the east coast toward Hualien. We will skirt along the coastal mountains with exciting views of the ocean. This road is very similar to US Highway 1 south of Big Sur in California. We arrive in Hualien. We will visit a marble factory and other sites in town, check into the hotel and meet later with those who desire to have dinner and walk around possibly visiting a market or other sites of interest, depending on time available.
15 September: Tuesday - Day Four in Taiwan - Travel
Breakfast, check out of hotel, back onto bus and on our way to Taroko Gorge (mini Grand Canyon and the Number #1 Tourist attraction in Taiwan) where we explore for a few hours, then on to Tiansiang and visit other sites along the way as time permits. The road continues over the central mountain range with beautiful vistas and toping out at 10,600 feet before heading to Chingjing Farm and on to Sun Moon Lake (the Number #2 Tourist attraction in Taiwan) for the night.
16 September: Wednesday - Day Five in Taiwan - Travel
Breakfast, check out of hotel, back on bus and travel to Alishan (the Number #3 Tourist attraction in Taiwan), about 7,250 feet above sea level. Ample time in the afternoon to take leisurely stoles along well marked trails in the area. There are trees here that are over 3,000 years old. We stay high in the mountains tonight.
17 September: Thursday - Day Six in Taiwan - Travel
If you desire, get up very early and walk or board a bus or train to the mountain peak with many other visitors to see the sun rise from this high altitude and amongst the clouds. Return to hotel for breakfast; check out and onto the bus for our trip back to Taipei. We should arrive about 3:00 PM. Check into hotel, rest of day free.
Note: Some of you may want to ride the new “High Speed Rail” back to Taipei. If you would like to take this exciting ride, we will stop in Chiayi and drop you off at the railroad station. You can catch the next train and be in Taipei very quickly. The rest of us will meet up with you back at our hotel later in the day. We can take your baggage with us on the bus and have it available at the hotel later in the day.
18 September: Friday - Day Seven in Taiwan - Taipei
Free day. Suggestions, visit National Palace Museum, go shopping at Sogo Department Store, other department stores, or maybe look for your old house or apartment building, is it still standing?
7:00PM Try to meet-up with entire group one last time for an evening meal. We will discuss where to eat, but we should try to come together this last evening to bond our group together, exchange addresses, etc. It was a fun time we will never forget, and of course, we need to pose one last time for group photographs. This trip will probably be the last visit most of us make to Taiwan. As a group, we made it a wonderful trip.
19 September: Saturday – Day Eight in Taiwan – Departure and Travel day
Bus or taxi to airport, your choice. Fly home or on to other vacation destinations.
Airline tickets are not yet available for September 2009. My agent indicated she may have prices in December. We will find the least inexpensive Bulk Rate tickets. When they become available, information concerning prices, itinerary changes, etc will be published.
I know a few folks have indicated they would stay longer in Taiwan, some are leaving for other Asian destinations, etc.
The trip has been fashioned very loose. Changes can be made and it is not set in cement.
The dates are now firm – September. No additional change in date will be made.
The above itinerary is what we felt would offer each of us an opportunity to see Taipei again as well as visiting some of the more exciting sites down island. The down island trip must have at least 10 folks at a minimum. If we don’t meet our 10 minimum number, you can still take one of the many trips offered by commercial tour agencies; most will visit the same areas. If we set up our own tour, we have control over everything and can change as we see fit along the way. Much more interesting and easy going.
Hotel costs and the down island trip costs will be announced as soon as we can determine how many of you will say, I’ll be there, I’m flying out to Taipei in September to join with the group.
I would expect hotel prices to be between $100 - $150 per day. Hotel prices on the tour will probably be a little less. The bus and driver cost will be shared equally with those who take the down island tour. The hotel generally includes a breakfast buffet in the price of the room. Each of us is responsible for our own charges, i.e., hotel, transportation, food, anything else. Bring some cash and have a credit card for payment of hotel and other charges.
Does anyone belong to a Club that has exchange privileges with the American Club in Taiwan? Check this link to see.
If someone has exchange privileges, we can visit the club (old Club 63)
Let us hear from you. Your comments and suggestions on the trip.
I look forward to your e-mail.
Write to me at: Taipeiairstation@hawaii.rr.com
My good friend Gene Hirte and his lovely wife will join us on the trip. They reside in Taiwan and have graciously volunteered to help insure our visit is delightful, interesting and fun.
I hope you will join us.
Kent Mathieu - Honolulu
Taipei Air Station 1965 – 1968
If you would like to visit an old base of work station that is still in existence, we must write to the Taiwan Trade Office in the US and ask for help in allowing us to POSSIBLY visit a particular active military facility. They may or may not allow such a visit. We must ask in writing, therefore -
If you want to visit such a facility, e-mail me and we will put your facility/site on our list.
Here is our list of facilities/sites we will ask permission to visit:
1. - No requests yet.
If you would like an easier to read copy of this Trip Details Memo check the Taipei Air Station Web Site here: http://mirach.lunarpages.com/~taipe2/index_files/Page1872.htm
Sunday, November 2, 2008
My good friend Gene Hirte provided these photos.
If you have Google Earth, type in these coordinates 23° 27' 42" N 120° 23' 34" E for a close up look view of Chiayi Air Base. Don't have Google Earth? You can download the program here. Take the free download.
Chiayi Air Base has been in use many years. I suspect it was build by the Japanese, although I can find no documents on the Internet to it's history. There is mention of two or three US aviation units deploying to Chiayi during the 1950's.
I am told that there were "non MAAG" US personnel assigned to Chiayi in the 1960's and 1970's.
If anyone has information on Chiayi, please let me know and I will post an Update.
Update: Be sure to see these very old photographs of Chiayi, posted below.
Looks like Base Operations
A favorite, the C-130H
An AT-3 The paint probably indicates this aircraft is used for training new pilots.
IDF ? I have no other information on this bird. Can someone help identify this aircraft.
An anti-aircraft missile carrier
An anti-aircraft missile vehicle in the process of deploying into the firing position.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
My father was stationed as a captain and then major at MAAG from 9/72 - 6/75. I was a mere child at the time, growing between the ages of eight and three-quarters and eleven and one-half, but I too am deeply indebted to the memory and experience of my time in Taiwan.
I attended Taipei American School between the third through fifth grades. I can find but two scant YouTube videos to remind me of the location; the school moved to a new locale in 1989, and the old site is dilapidated and will, I'm sure, soon cease to exist. My memories are more similar to yours than we might imagine - chasing girls, who did not yet know if they wished to be caught or not; playing baseball, whether with local Taiwanese children (this was during their Little League hegemony, mind you!), American kids, or my dad.
The thrill of wandering - as adults, the term would metamorphasize into, "hiking" - along the Tien Mu trail, with a perpetual eye scanning for haboo, or pit vipers lurking evanescently in the green shoots of ever present bamboo. The seemingly secret knowledge of the whereabouts of a remote and pristine water fall, location reachable by Huffy or Converse only, where uncounted "young men" would lurk about in caves and occasionally thrill to the sight of amorous Taiwanese couples who would venture covertly to the spot, unaware and uncaring of their youthful voyeurs.
I have friends, neighbors - even family - who this day do not understand why I sometimes grow nostalgic, and melancholy, over my inability to grasp tangible evidence of my Taiwan experience. My sense of loss at childhood friends forever absent confuses, and possibly annoys, them.
"If you chose to cease being friends - that's either their call or yours," they say. "You can't go online and seek these people out - that's indecent and obtrusive," they add.
But I wonder, always. My decisions were not my own to make, as a young boy. My friends, subject to the same rules of military rotation as I, were never constant. But they were dear. "Serving my country" as a dependent did have a great affect on me through a child's level maintenance of a topsy-turvy inconstancy. I continue to seek out those names that I do recall, if only in the hope that I might grant an element of - hopefully - warm imagery and cheery reminder to those with whom I've shared that special Taiwan experience.
Thank you for sharing yours with me.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I was reluctant to step out 3 years ago, but no one had come forward in more that 20 years to tell the stories of those of us who served at Taipei Air Station and other places in Taiwan. My friends at the Shu Linkou have been taking care of business at the Shu Linkou web site for many years, but they only covered Shu Linkou.
So, with the help of Microsoft, I uploaded the first pages of Taipei Air Station web site on October 10, 2005, double 10 ++.
As I have said many times, I am in love with Taiwan. I am a fellow who grew up in Texas, but Taiwan is the home of my heart.
So, 3 years ago, I ventured out with the new web site, Taipei Air Station.
There have been so many folks who have sent kind words and encouraging emails during the past 3 years.
I must also say, I have had so much help from friends I met on line via the TaipeiAirStation@Hawaii.rr.com email address. Many folks mailed in photographs, told their stories of happiness and heartache. We all have a story to tell, consider sending your story in.
Thank you for helping me tell our stories and present those photographs long stuck away in your stuff.
My thanks and best wishes to each who read this post.
May your life be filled with riches and joy.
Thank you for helping me.
Taipei Air Station Web Site.
Monday, 13 October 2008.
Here is another article written for the "Taiwan Panorama Magazine" which discusses the same housing area once occupied by US military personnel. Please note, there are 5 pages of the article. just keep clicking the "Next" arrow at the bottom of each page.
It appears the Taiwan Government is designating the old housing area in Yangmingshan a cultural landmark.
Both articles are interesting reads.
My best wishes to you and your extended families this "Columbus Day."
Can someone please give the Google Earth coordinates of this old housing area. The new Google Earth images of Taipei should provide good views of the old homes.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
All of these photographs courtesy of Jim Caumo and Les Duffin.They were taken between 1962 and 1966.