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Commander’s Trip to Taiwan
District IV

        Traditionally the Commander of the Department of Pacific Areas is invited to Taiwan in October for National Day in the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) that falls on the tenth day of the tenth month, and is referred to as Double-Ten Day.   ( This was suspended in 2016.)    In 2013  the Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) Minister Tung, Hsiang Lung (Retired Navy Admiral) invited and hosted Commander Shawn Watson on his visit to the ROC.  The VAC provided Commander Shawn Watson with a schedule of events over a six day visit that included trips to various locations in the Taipei area.  Some of the big events were the Medal of Honor awarding and the Double-Ten Day Parade that commenced during the day and then followed by a special evening reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where dignitaries from around the world gathered to celebrate 102nd anniversary of the ROC.


     In Taipei a few blocks from one of the world’s tallest building titled Taipei 101 and near the World Trade Center the VAC has its own Headquarters located in a building constructed by the Retired Service Engineering Agency that has been part of the VAC for fifty years.  It was here in the late afternoon that  Minister Tung presented the “Medal of Honor with Cravat of Veterans Affairs Commission” to Commander Watson. This is considered a great honor bestowed on Commander Shawn Watson and is something that all Department Commanders that  annually visit Taiwan will keep in their memories. The  visit with the VAC expresses friendship and comradeship of this veterans organization and the VFW and lets you know it with honor.


VAC Minister Tung Congratulates VFW Commander Shawn Watson
on receiving the Medal of Honor with cravat.


Certificate Awarded to Commander Watson



Commander Watson congratulates Minister Tung for the work done by VAC for Veterans
and present a gift in kind.




            Seen in the photo above right to left are VAC Senior Counselor Hans Song, Deputy Minister  Chin, Quartermaster Tony Hu (Post 9957), Deputy Minister Liu, Department Commander Shawn Watson, Minister Tung, District IV Commander Jim Ascencio (Post 9957), Department JA Bill Wichmann (Post 727), District IV SVC Bob Malinoski (Post 727), Secretary-General Lu and Senior Counselor Shih. 





     After the awards ceremony VAC Senior Counselor Hans Song invited Department Commander Shawn Watson and VFW District IV members and their guests to dinner at the Din Tai Fung Restaurant located in the Taipei 101 building.  This restaurant, which is rated as one of the top 10 gourmet restaurants in the world by the New York Times has the best of the best when it comes to Chinese foods.  The below picture shows the smiles of enjoyment of the night out for a fine dinner.


                         In the above on the left side is Ms. Jackie "O"(guest), Tony Hu (9957), Commander Shawn

                      Watson, Jim Ascencio (9957) and on right side front is Orville Humfleet (727), Bill Wichmann

                      (727), Han Song (VAC) and Bob Malinoski (727).



Prior VAC Honor Award Ceremonies




National & Department Commanders



Commander-in-Chief Hamilton presented Certificate of Award and Medal of Honor with Cravat from VAC Minister General Tseng, Jing-Ling. Minister General Tseng, Jing-Ling.


Bob Malinoski (727), Bill Wichmann (727),  CINC John Hamliton, VAC Minister Tseng, Tony Hu (9957),  Minister General Tseng, and Adjutant General "Gunner" Kent.


With VAC are VFW members - Bob Malinoski (Post 727), Bill Wickmann (Post 727), CINC John Hamilton, VAC Minister  Tseng, Tony Hu (Post 9957), and Adjutant General "Gunner" Kent.  

October 8th, 2012, (photo link)
Gen. Tseng Jing Ling, VAC Minister, welcomed District IV Commander Combs, and Australia's RSL counterpart Secretary Robson.     Thank you Minister Tseng for being a gracious host!

Welcome to Taiwan Commander Combs!


March 22 -26 2012, (photo link)
CINC Richard DeNoyer and Adjutant General Gunner Kent and their spouses  visited Taiwan as guests of VAC.   Their trip of the Western Pacific including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China.

We hope your visit in  Taiwan was enjoyable!


Past Events

) National President Ladies Auxilliary Mrs. Rankin with her spouse visited Taiwan in February. 

) National Commander Eubank and Adjutant General Gunner Kent visit Taiwan.

) VAC hosts Chinese New Year Dinner for Vets Feb 15, 2011.

) Hell Ship Memorial Ceremony in Kaoushiung

) Events

) James (Post 727) and Kin Sun Wood hosts wedding of daughter Jessica

) Do you know your Presidents??


October 8, 2012     VAC hosts dinner and awards for Commander Combs and Secretary Robson.    Our thanks to General Tseng and his staff for an informative presentation and comradeship!


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Bill Wichmann (Post 727), Commander Combs, Secretray Robson (RSL)

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General Tseng and Commander Combs.


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General Tseng and National Secretary Robson (Austrailia).

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Bill Wichmann (post 727) Commander Combs, General Tseng, Ted Steppe (post 727).
(Post 727 Commander Humfleet attended - but I failed to capture a photo!), Sorry Orville!

Our gratitude to General Tseng and his staff for hosting the dinner and the presentations;  and most of all - the comradeship!  Thank you!


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March 28-29, 2011      VAC  Dinner honoring VFW National Commander Eubank and Adjutant General Gunner Kent.

"Click" to enlarge photos.

 Kinmen Island Troops Chief Gunner Hans Song.jpg (359208 bytes) VFW National Commander Eubank, Adj. Gen. Kent, VAC Director Hans Song, and troops on Kenmen Island.

  CKS Memorial Chief.jpg (323673 bytes) VFW National Commander Eubank at CKS memorial, Taipei.

 Welcome Bill Chief Gunner Bob.jpg (340785 bytes) Bill Wichmann*, VFW Cmdr.  Eubank, Gunner Kent, and Bob Malinoski*
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VFW Cmdr.  Eubank checks out his Birthday Cake as  Gunner Kent and Jim Ascencio (Post 9957 Commander) look on.

 Bob Bill Gunner Chief Minister Deputy Minister.jpg (355643 bytes)  VAC Ministers and staff, and VFW guests.

 BobOrville Bill Chief Gunner.jpg (357073 bytes) Bob Malinoski*, Orville Humfleet*, Cmdr. Eubank, and Gunner Kent

Certiicate Chief Minister.jpg (342881 bytes)  Cmdr. Eubank receiving award from VAC Minister Tseng Jing-ling.

Gunne Minister Chief.jpg (351975 bytes)  Gunner Kent, VAC Minister Tseng Jing-ling, and Cmdr. Eubank
* VFW Post 727 members.

Our thanks to the VAC Ministers and their staff for hosting this affair!!! 

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Taiwan's Veterans Affairs Commission invited Taiwan's VFW post members to a Chinese New Year celebration party.  Minister Tseng Jing-ling was our gracious host.    

Photos from Feb. 15, 2011 party.  Please "click" on photo to enlarge.

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District IV Commander Orville Humfleet receiving New Year's greeting from Minister Tseng.  Nice  Class A's, Orville!  We were expecting 'summer dress' khaki!  Jim Ascencio (post 9957)  also in attendance.

IMG_1666.JPG (236077 bytes)  Comrade  Bill Wichmann  of Post 727 receiving New Year's greeting from Minister Tseng.   Comrade Wichman is a Past All American Post Commander, Past District Commander, and past Department Commander!  Many years of dedicated service!  

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Comrade Robert Malinoski of Post 727 receiving New Year's greeting from Minister Tseng.   Bob, I understand you kept the hatches battened down and learned how to eat civilian chow - not bad for a Jarhead!



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Many thanks to Minister Tseng Jing-ling  for hosting this event for Taiwan's International Veterans.

January 31, 2012,  VAC Minister   Tseng Jing-ling  again hosted a dinner to celebrate Chinese New Year with the International Veteran community in Taiwan.   And again, Many Thanks to the minister and his staff for hosting this event!


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Past VFW 727 member, Jim Wood, celebrates the wedding of his daughter, Jessica, to T.J.

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Jim and Kin Sun Wood with daughter, Jessica,  and T.J!  Congratulations from your comrades in Taiwan!

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Jim, Kin Sun, and Jonathan Wood watch the ceremony with obvious pride.

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Hellship Memorial Ceremonies


It is with great sadness that we have discovered that the Taiwan Hellships Memorial at Chijin Beach, Kaohshiung has been removed.  Cmdr. Humfleet upon arriving there in January of 2013 found that it no longer exists!  Inquiries resulted in being advised that the memorial was suffering from coastal storm damage requiring its removal and it would be relocated - when and where has yet to be announced and further inquiries have been meet with officialdom run-around.       


"Comrades, on January 26, 2006 I attended the "Taiwan Hellships Memorial" dedication ceremony at Chijin Beach, Kaohsiung Harbor to honor the thousands of prisoners who were transported by hellships into and out of Taiwan harbors during WWII. Without the devoted efforts of Michael Hurst MBE, the Director of the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, I doubt that this event would have ever taken place. Through his tireless efforts of locating the former Taiwan POW camps and establishing memorials for the POWs in Taiwan over the past nine years, Mr. Hurst has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

I sincerely thank Michael for allowing me to publish this, which I have included in its entirety. The photos are courtesy of Michael Hurst and John Shively."

Orville Humfleet.

(Please visit the Taiwan POW - site link provided above.)

The Story of the Taiwan Hellships Memorial

"During World War II – from early 1942 to the spring of 1945, the Japanese moved their prisoners of war by sea from the areas they had conquered – Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Java, and other places, and sent them to Japan, Taiwan, Burma, the Dutch East Indies and other areas to be used as slave labor.

Tens of thousands of prisoners were transported on dozens of Japanese "hellships", and the conditions aboard these ships were horrendous. POWs were crowded into holds with no room to sit or lie down. They were starved and beaten and given very little water to drink. Disease was rampant and no medical care was given to the POWs. Many thousands perished from starvation, sickness, neglect and murder – or were killed when the unmarked ships were attacked by Allied forces.

Taiwan played a significant role in the story of the hellships. Being a Japanese colony and secure base, it served as a haven for many ships enroute to Japan as well as a prime destination for POWs being used as slave labour for the Japanese war effort. More than 4300 Allied POWs were brought to Taiwan by hellship to slave in the fifteen POW camps located on the island. Every POW who was on Taiwan came here by hellship, and many left the same way, later going Japan and Manchuria where they finished out the war. In total almost 26,000 POWs were transported to and from Taiwan ports during World War II."

* * * * * * *

Following the memorial service held in January 2005 by the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society to commemorate the bombing of the hellship Enoura Maru in Kaohsiung Harbour, it was suggested that a memorial be built to remember the men who were transported on the ships that came to the Taiwan ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung, and those who suffered and died on them.

The location of the memorial within the boundaries of the new "War and Peace Park" at Chijin Beach, Kaohsiung Harbour, is especially significant as it lies just across the road from the site of the former mass grave where the men who died when the Enoura Maru was bombed were first buried. Later their remains were moved to the Punchbowl National War Cemetery in Hawaii.

* * * * * * *
Please CLICK to enlarge photos

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CDR Humfleet reading the poem "Dare We Forget".

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January 26, 2006 was a special day for family members of two POWs who died on hellships. Retired Navy Captain Duane Heisinger and his wife along with William Cahill flew from the U.S. to attend the special dedication ceremony. Duane Heisinger’s father, Army Major Samuel L. Heisinger Jr. died on the Enoura Maru during the bombing in Kaohsiung Harbor and was buried in the mass grave. William Cahill’s father-in-law was on the Enoura Maru’s sister ship the Brazil Maru when the bombings occurred and died the day before the ship reached Japan.

Captain Duane Heisinger has written a book titled "Father Found", which tells of his search for his father. If anyone would like to purchase a copy of the book, you can check out

Photos from the memorial dedication in 2006.

Clipboard03.jpg (276336 bytes)  Dist IV CDR Humfleet and Capt. Heisinger.

Clipboard04.jpg (222907 bytes)  William Cahill, Mrs. Heisinger, Capt. Duane Heisinger

Clipboard05.jpg (254267 bytes) Michael Hurst, William Cahill, Capt. Duane Heisinger

Clipboard06.jpg (162520 bytes)   They will never be forgotten!

CDR Humfleet paying respects - 2011 (click to enlarge)

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The Taiwan Hellships Memorial will serve as a permanent place of remembrance and tribute to the many POWs who died and also to those who survived the unparalleled atrocity of the hellships. We are pleased to have had a part on the design and construction of this beautiful POW memorial to the end that the men who suffered on the hellships will "never be forgotten".

Yours in Comradeship,

Orville Humfleet

VFW  Commander, District IV, Taiwan

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VFW Commander Humfleet pays homage at the Taiwan Hellships Memorial in 2012 to fallen comrades.

Thank you Orville!!

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Thank you Comrade Humfleet for sharing your photos,   and  comments from the initial memorial dedication!   Cmdr. Humfleet previously published the above article in "Around the Pacific" shortly after his trip for the dedication of the memorial.  Cmdr. Humfleet has placed flowers as a Honor Guard on the memorial every year since,   providing a yearly vigilance from Post 727 for all our Comrades world wide.   A link to the site for the POW camps in Taiwan is provided within the article as well as here - I encourage you to read this history.  It is often difficult today for us to remember that Taiwan had been peacefully governed for decades by  Japan prior to December 7, 1941.

It should be noted that Taiwan has removed these memorials and has not announced a new location.  Reason given:  weather damage.  A number of changes have been noted since the installation of a DPP president - this memorial, the VAC dinners, 10/10 ceremonies, historical statues removed, etc.,  may be coincidence.     

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This Month in History

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AS we celebrate this memorial day, let us remember those that insured our ability to enjoy our constitutional freedoms!
past and present!



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