Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Club 63 in 65 and 66

Len dropped by here at the TDC quarterdeck yesterday and left this note about the Club 63:

From some of the comments on your page, sure am glad I was there before the Navy pulled the slots (1965 – 66).  They provided the revenue that paid for a lot of 10¢ drinks and great acts plus monthly non-family entertainment!

Here's a picture of a brass ashtray from the day!  I lived in the Signal Compound right behind TDC – the good old days waking up at 0200 covered by termites twice a year when they swarmed!

4799th Signal Communications Agency, Taiwan
Thanks, Len.  I've seen photos of these ashtrays on eBay before and have always wondered if they were given to departing club members or if they were just "liberated" from time to time.  Of course back in those days ashtrays were everywhere.  When I was a kid, some would make them in school as a gift for their dads.  That's hard to believe today.

If my memory is accurate, it seems to me that when I was at TDC during 1973-74, the Club 63 had a MAAG logo on the outside, but I'm not sure who ran it (Army?  Air Force?).  All I know is that the Navy took over its operation during my stay, removed the MAAG logo and changed the name to the China Seas Club.  Among other changes, they installed slot machines.  I think both the Army and Air Force banned slots from their clubs sometime in the late 1960s because a club manager or two started raking off profits for personal gain.  The Navy already had slot machines in the Headquarters Support Activity (HSA) west compound when I arrived at TDC.

I remember plenty of cockroaches and small lizards (geckos?) but this is the first I've heard about swarming termites.


Anonymous said...

I was assigned to the HQs MAAG as the Non Appropriated Fund Auditor from 1967 - 1968. The Club 63 was operated as a non appropriated open mess facility by HQs MAAG until the MAAG draw down. The club operations were totally subsidized by the slot machine revenue. There were complete breakfast offerings for 35 cents; complete lunch offerings for 55 cents; and supper special offerings for 75 to 90 cents. The theft of slot machine revenue actually occurred in Viet Nam and a book was written about that titled, "The Khaki Mafia." The slots were pulled out on my second tour while I was assigned to USACC-Taiwan in the Signal Compound. While I was a club auditor I worked with a civilian Mr. Don Hammond. Taipei was the best Army assignment and the people there were and still are the best.
Art Bohlinger, MSG/E8, USA (retired) P.S. I always enjoy reading this website and seeing the old photos. Thanks for sharing and caring. Art

Victor said...

Geckos, instead of lizards, are popularly seen inside the houses in Taiwan. Some of them can even give off sound.

Don said...

Art, thanks for your insight. As I recall, the Army pulled their slots from their clubs after the incidents and the Air Force soon followed suit. But the Navy decided to keep theirs, which is why there were slots in the HSA compound when I arrived in Taipei during 1973.

After the Navy took over the Club 63, they installed the machines there as well. I remember seeing young ladies sometimes standing near the main entrance to the club, trying to get someone to escort them inside so they could play the machines.

Don said...

Victor, I remember that my buddy Larry, who had the room next door to me at the hostel, had a gecko in his room. It would chirp from the ceiling at night. He said he sometimes slept with his mouth open and was concerned that the little critter might lose its grip on the ceiling some night while over his head.