Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Memories & Recollections

Dennis McNelis has been writing to me recently with some things that he remembers about his tour at USTDC. Actually, Dennis was one of those ASA guys who worked behind the big steel door, but he and I were there about the same time. Here are some of his comments:

I was in Taipei from Aug 1973 to Nov 1974. I was in the Army - Army Security Agency. At TDC I was assigned to the office on the first floor that had a bank vault door for its front door. It would be to the left as you faced the front of the building and down the hall from the mail room. Like you I lived in the Hostels next to the East Compound. Jerry Ball was my room mate at the Hostel. Jerry was US Army assigned to the Army unit in the building in the East Compound behind the theater and across from the baseball field. I believe it was Jerry who introduced us. Jerry married a local girl that worked in an office in the West Compound. I can't remember her name. Lost contact with Jerry.
I then moved into an apartment that was just West of the Grand Hotel ( I believe that area is Shih-Lin) with Donald Machowski. Donald was also in the Army assigned to STRAMCOM at TDC. Ski, as we use to call him, died in Taiwan after I left in Aug 75 on a Hash House Harrier. Don drowned attempting to cross a river on the run. He was traversing a low area in the river on some rocks and apparently he slipped and was dragged down river by the current. Don was familiar with this area and apparently it was just a freak accident.
I dated Cindy one of the waitresses from the FSA Cafeteria in the East Compound. She later Worked at the PX East Compound. I did return to Taiwan many times throughout the 70 and 80s as I was working as a Merchant Marine and on oil rigs in Asia. I ended up living in Thailand. Still I have to say the 15 months I spent in Taiwan was one of the best times of my life. Presently back and working in the States.

I was a single 21 year old on his first assignment overseas. I must admit though, I was a bit miffed when I first landed in TPE and recall the ride from the airport to TDC. The smells where very strong and I know you know what I am referring to. The contrast in the living conditions - looking at people living in lean-tos against modern new buildings. I said to myself, "What the hell did I get myself into?"

My office was located - if you look at the picture at the top of your blog - to the very far left at the end corner on the first floor. There was also an entrance there. I recall the ramp you are talking about somewhere off to the right after going past the main desk and if I recall correctly it also lead to the rear entrance of TDC that lead to the East Compound where the baseball field was. My office comprised of about 5 civilians and 4 military while being run by the civilians. We had a Navy Lt Commander, a Chief and two army enlisted. We where somewhat isolated from the rest of TDC although we did work closely with the Navy Intelligence Agency on the second floor. Most people remember my office because of the big bank vault type door that secured the entrance. The only person I really remember from my office is Chief Jerry Jett - everyone else kept coming and going.
Do you recall where the barber shop was in the back? Then beyond the barber shop was the graphics shop. Do you remember the 3 Navy guys that worked in that shop: Ortiz, Henry (can't remember their first names) and another guy - all enlisted? I have a slide of two of these guys.


[Yes, I do remember the print shop. It was the first time I ever saw one of those humongous machines that can slice through a ream of paper like it was hot butter! I'd completely forgotten about that place and the three guys who worked there.]
As for lunch here are some of the places I use to go to: the FAS run cafeteria in the East Compound by the baseball field, hot dog cart in front of PX, the HAS/MAAG PX run cafeteria that was in the East or West Compound. If I remember correctly the HSA/MAAG PX cafeteria was in the East Compound and then relocated to the West Compound or visa/versa. My buddies and I use to also run down to the 63 club. We would eat a quick lunch of the daily special and then go play pin ball in the game room. Like you I do not recall any vending machines at TDC but you would of thought with the military there would of at least been a soda machine.
One more note about myself that my help jog your memory: I use to drive a 350CC Honda Motorcycle. I would drive it to TDC on most days - just too lazy to walk through the compound to go to work.
If anyone has additional info on any of this that you'd like to share, please post it below, or you can contact Dennis directly at: shiphorn1@msnDELETE.com. Be sure to remove the "DELETE" portion of the address.

Dennis recently sent me a few photos that he took in Taiwan and I'll post those in a day or so.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi:

This is Stacy Machowski and I read the article about Donald Machowski. He was my uncle and I know that he died from drowning in the water in Taiwan in August 1975. I never got a chance to meet or know him very well before I was born in 1977. I would like to write an e mail to the person who knows my deceased Uncle Don very well from the army and I really wanted to know more about him.

I am deaf and I am 30 years old. I wanted to gather information from you about my deceased Don Machowski's personality and experiences in the army. Do you have any pictures of him when he was in the army?

I truly appreicated it and I wanted to let you know that I wish I could meet my deceased Uncle Don. His mother is still alive and she is 85 years old. His father passed away on August 12th 2000 due to a panceras cancer. He has one sister and 3 brothers and they are still alive.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Stacy Machowski

stacy said...

Hi:

This is Stacy Machowski and I read the article about Donald Machowski. He was my uncle and I know that he died from drowning in the water in Taiwan in August 1975. I never got a chance to meet or know him very well before I was born in 1977. I would like to write an e mail to the person who knows my deceased Uncle Don very well from the army and I really wanted to know more about him.

I am deaf and I am 30 years old. I wanted to gather information from you about my deceased Don Machowski's personality and experiences in the army. Do you have any pictures of him when he was in the army?

I truly appreicated it and I wanted to let you know that I wish I could meet my deceased Uncle Don. His mother is still alive and she is 85 years old. His father passed away on August 12th 2000 due to a panceras cancer. He has one sister and 3 brothers and they are still alive.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Stacy Machowski

Don said...

Stacy, please email me directly with your email address and I'll ask Dennis McNelis to contact you regarding your late uncle.

Write me at: ustdc@yahoo.com

Thanks,

Don