Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sand Pebbles

A few days ago I heard from Dennis Page, who was a Navy E-4 Electronics Tech in J-6 Maintenance at the TDC comm center in 1968-69:

I found out about your blog from an old shipmate who also served there, Ted W. I had not heard from in 38 years and today he calls me on the phone from the other side of the US and he told me about this blog. It was really great to find out what had happened to the old place. There has to be many more stories out there and I hope to be able to contribute some in the future.

For example, some of the short-timers when I got there told stories about how during the filming of the movie, The Sand Pebbles, Steve McQueen and a few of his fellow actors would visit the 63 Club and go motorcycle riding together. I even had tailor Loo, the East Compound tailor make me a set of liberty cuffs identical to the ones McQueen had on his dress blues. I still have them along with many great memories. Thanks.

If anyone was in Taipei during The Sand Pebbles filming, and has a story or two about it, I'm sure we'd all love to hear about it. I think I read somewhere that they used some local Navy personnel as extras in the film. Any truth to that?


George said...

Absolutely true that local military personnel were used as extras for filming of The Sand Pebbles. We heard about sign-ups in 1966 at the Ambassador Hotel and I went and was selected as an extra "Aussie" army man for the filming to take place in Keelung. Funny thing, though on the day of scheduled filming in Keelung , our E-8 chief said "Hey wait a minute you all cannot go" so we flipped a coin and I lost out. Some of my buddies were able to go.
I remeber seeing Steve and wife in the East Compound at the Navy Theater. He looked short!
I was a Navy YN3 stationed in West Compound HSA Admin Office 1965-67. and lived in East Compound barracks. Went many times to TDC for mail delivery.

Michael said...

i was stationed at Linkou Air Station as an Army Intercept Operator (and not surprising-Spanish Linguist) at that time. Several of us went to apply for extra parts but because of our TS/Crypto clearance, OPNS would not let us. We went to the port to see what we could see anyway.

I think the USS Breckenridge was also in port at or near that time. As a young man (15) i went from San Francisco to Japan with my family on the Breckenridge in '58 so i was interested in seeing if any of the crew (what did i know (grin)) was still there. the then Captain was a friend of my father. The captain (66) gave us a tour, non-the-less. My memory fades quickly from there! said...

The truth is yes. Even I was an extra. My dad had a fit at first. The bar fight was a load of laughs. My only lasting memory is that when the film premeared, everything that I did boiled down to a split second shot of my arm. But it was worth it. There were a number of navy, a couple of marines etc. But The truth about Steve McQueen was that he and most of the crew almost got 86'd . I hope that someone out there remembers my name. It would be great to see how the crew is doing. There was one navy petty officer that I remember that always rode his candy apple red Triumph. Sorta lost touch when he went back to Colorado. I can't remember his name but his family has a mountain named after them, and His sjdekick was named Skip. Ring a bell anyone.