Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NSA/CSS at TDC

In addition to the joint-service USTDC staff, the building also contained representatives from other agencies as well. I used to see some of those guys coming and going but I don't think I ever knew any of them very well.

One such outfit was NSA/CSS, where Dennis McNelis was assigned. He recently sent a photo of a paperweight from that outfit, along with some recollections about the office itself.

Below is a pic of a scan I took of the top of a paperweight. The pic depicts what was our office logo in Taipei, Taiwan at TDC. NSA/CSS stands for National Security Agency/Central Security Service. We use to give these paperweights out to guest that came into our office. This particular paperweight I found at my mothers house recently. I remember sending her this item back in 1973 and can't believe she held on to it. The paperweight is made of brass. I don't know how they etched the top with the colors. The actual paperweight is much nicer looking than the pic depicts. I believe we all remember how much good brass stuff one could buy in Taiwan. After all these years the paperweight still works - just tested it - still holds paper down on the desk!!!!

I use the word office to describe our group at TDC as we where really not a cohesive unit. NSA/CSS office was dominated and run by civilians. The number one man was a GS 15 or 16 civilian followed by a LT Cmdr Navy man. Then came approximately six GS 13 and 14 civilians with a civilian female secretary followed by a Navy Chief and last on the pecking order were three enlisted (1 Air Force and 2 Army guys). The military guys were there working for the NSA and the civilians. All the civilians were with the NSA. The Army guys came from the Army Security Agency (ASA). I cannot remember where the Navy guys or the Air Force guy came from but I do know it was some security unit in their respective service.

7 comments:

Keith said...

I have 2 such NSA/CSS paperweights. I was Navy there from 1973-1975. Navy types from from the then Naval Security Group. My unit was in Taipei was with the Taiwan Support Team and we worked out of the MAAG Compound.

Dennis said...

Keith, Do you recall how you acquired the 2 paperwights you have? I was in Taipei Jul 73 to Nov 74. I was 21 in the Army enlsited working at the NSA/CSS office in the Taiwan Defense Command. I don't recall anyone from the Naval Security Group at MAAG ever coming to our office. Where you in the East or West MAAG Compound? Do you recall being in the NSA/CSS office? Did you know Chief Jerry Jett? Thanks, Dennis McNelis

Keith said...

I worked in a little back room of the Army Technical Group "ATG" spooks. We Naval Security Group guys (there were about 10-12 of us) ran the FLEXSCOP equipment and Air Force Security Service ran the Comm Center. Together, we comprised the "Taiwan Support Team". We worked for a civilian, Jim Guggenheim. We took turns making daily courier/mail runs across town to the NSA/CSS office and yes, I then knew Jerry Jett (I'd since forgotten his name). It was probably in his office where I picked up the paperweights. I guess we were in the East MAAG compound (I don't really remember an East or West compound there), but I remember we had to cross an alley to go to the club for lunch on those days we chose to do so. Keith

Don said...

Keith, the east compound was where TDC, the commissary, the exchange and several other facilities were located. The west compound was where the bowling alley, the gas station, PMO, chapel and other facilities were. Actually I don't recall ever hearing them referred to as "East" and "West," but I've called them that here at the blog just as a geographical reference.

Don

Keith said...

Hi, Don. Yes, the West Compound had the Package Store, Barber Shop, Gas Station, etc., and the East Compound had the Exchange, Commissary, etc. USTDC was also located in the East Compound. Although I worked for NSA/CSS located at USTDC, I actually worked at the MAAG Compound, clear across town (not all that far from Taipei Air Station). I thought the question was whether I worked in the East or West MAAG Compound. I didn't recall an "East" or "West" MAAG Compound. Keith Brandt

Dennis said...

Keith:

You and I must have know each other. I would answer the door at the NSA/CSS office at TDC when you or the others would come over from the location across town right near TAS. I was at NSA/CSS TDC from July 73 to Nov 74. I beleive Jim Guggenheim lived in the same building I did in Shi Lin right near the Grand Hotel. Do you recall an Army guy named Dan Jenkins? He also worked in the location where you where located and also did the courier runs. How aobut Mike Landry? Beleive he was a Navy spook.

Dennis McNelis

Keith said...

Hi, Dennis. Who knows, we probably did meet. It can be a small world. I'm terrible with names - especially after 30+ years, so I don't remember the names you mentioned. I'm fairly positive that I didn't know or work with Mike Landry. Our shop was only Navy and Air Force, so I never did come in contact with any Army types. We were never allowed out of our little compartmented area, even having to come and go via a back door entrance at the ATG site. As far as I know, Jim Guggenheim was the only one in our group who had any contact with the "ATG" spooks. We Navy guys had the job of "processing" materials contained in brown "burn bags" passed to us by the "ATG" group, who had obtained the materials from their various sources.

Sorry I'm not much help with names. Other than Jerry Jett, a couple of Navy guys I worked with were Gene Stonis and Jerry Walters. I think Gene lives in Colorado and Jerry is in Pensacola. The only Air Force name I remember is Hank Garrison. Keith