My "TDC story" happened in the Spring of 1962. I was a USAF E-4, stationed at Taipei Air Station in the ATF13(P) Intel shop -- the Indications Center -- behind the combination locked door, just down the walkway from General Sanborn's office.
I put in my papers to marry a Chinese National and immediately found myself working in the Motor Pool, which I expected. I also knew that my wife would not be allowed to shop at the PX or commissary according to the TDC regulations. But being a natural-born troublemaker, I did some research and caused some embarrassment for a few high-ranking folks!
I discovered that the all-services regulations absolutely forbade the denial of dependent privileges to any legal dependent of military personnel. It was all extremely clear in the regs. But the TDC regulation was equally clear in denying all PX and commissary privileges to Chinese Nationals married to U.S. servicemen in Taiwan.
So I wrote a to-the-point letter, with copies of all pertinent regulations, and sent it to about a dozen U.S. Senators and Representatives. The "system" for such letters includes a pretty strict time limit for the Congressman to get the letter over to the Pentagon for response...and the Pentagon folks responded quickly...with a statement that the TDC regulation was written "due to an international agreement" between the U.S. and Chinese governments.
Then the Congressmen quickly forwarded the Pentagon responses to me in Taiwan. All except for one: Senator John Tower from Texas. He asked the Pentagon to provide him with a copy of the international agreement. Guess what? There was no such international agreement!"
While all this was going on, I was getting "short," but still using my intelligence training, making contacts at every possible level. My buddy in the TAS Base Commander's office had a buddy in TDC who handled the actual distribution of copies of TDC regulations and changes. They told me that a new regulation was being printed, which ended the denial of PX and Commissary privileges for Chinese Nationals marrying U.S. military personnel!"
Now for the real kicker: The new regulation had already been printed, and was being held, to be distributed after our departure from Taiwan! I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of the new regulation...which I "filed" with the "old" regulation and copies of all the Congressional correspondence!
So...I can take credit for correcting a nasty situation for all U. S. military personnel who married a Chinese National in Taiwan after the Spring of 1962.
And to all of you: You're more than welcome!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The Phantom Regulation
I received a note from Gene Hyden, who was at Taipei Air Station during 1960-1962. His story, however, directly involves USTDC -- and not in a very good way. Here's his story: