Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Memories

I heard from Tom Graves today, who arrived at USTDC in 1964. Here's a portion of his comments:

Yesterday I was going through some old boxes and found a special folder marked USTDC. My first assignment in the Navy was at the USTDC headquarters in Taipei. I arrived in Taipei in April 1964 and departed in June 1966. The Commanding Officer was Rear Admiral Gentner. I was assigned to the J-3 Section (Operations). When necessary I was the admiral's writer and was in charge of all documents within the department. Navy Captain Shaw was in charge of the department along with representatives of the other military branches (Commander Morgan (Navy), Lt.Col. VanHusen (Army) , Lt.Col._______(Air Force) Lt.Col._____(Marines). There were two other enlisted men in the department--Staff Sargeant Bird (USAF) and Sp4 Maier (USA). When Captain Shaw was reassigned he was replaced by Captain Beale (USN). I remember to this day, the original shock I experienced leaving the Taipei airport and going over dirt roads to the USTDC compound to a hostel where I would live for over two years. Being right out of yeoman school, first assignment, new customs, foreign language (name tag in Chinese), strange food, half way around the world...was a bit much. Over time it all became just another day at the office and an experience I will never forget. I was fortunate as I had great officers and enlisted people who respected each other regardless of rank. Working with our counterparts (the Taiwanese) and doing mock military exercises were exciting, even though I never got to see the water. Overall, if I could do it all again I would be on my way tomorrow.
As always, I welcome any comments that anyone has to offer here. Just send me whatever you have (text, pictures, whatever) and I'll get them posted. I established this blog so that the history of TDC and the activities of the people who worked there would not fade away and I need your help to make that happen.

Don

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Still Getting Around Taipei

Here are the rest of the most recent pictures from Dennis McNelis (1973-1974), with his comments. If motorcyclists put their lives on the line in Taipei traffic, imagine what the bicyclists must have endured. But they were everywhere and they weren't just for getting around either; they were often piled high with cargo.




Intersection of Min Quan E and Zhong Shan N.





Intersection of Min Quan E and Zhong Shan N. Look in the background and to the left and you will see one of the entrances to the tunnel that went under this intersection. It is the cement box that almost looks like a pill box.






I do not recall where this pic was shot.
[...but I really like this one because it sort of captures the "feel" of all those little side streets. --Don]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Still Getting Around Taipei

More of Dennis McNelis's photos from 1973-1974 Taipei:

Picture taken just after the park, heading onto Bei An road on the East Side of the Grand Hotel and just before the 63 Club (China Seas). If you look real hard, you can see the 63 Club (China Seas) in the background. According to MSN Maps, Bei An would be the road that the 63 Club (China Seas) was on. I don't ever remember using the name of the road to tell anyone where the 63 Club was. All you had to do was say the words "63 Club" and everyone knew, even the taxi drivers.




Believe this photo was shot somewhere in the area off of what MSN Maps show as 7th Ave. This would be one of the Shuang Cheng or Shin Sheng Streets that ran off of 7th Ave. 7th Ave ran south from the back gate of the East Compound. I don't remember it being called 7th Ave but that is what MSN Maps has it as and Google Earth has it in Chinese which I can't read.
[I'd like to add that those "tri-pickups" could carry a very large and heavy load. I remember seeing farmers hauling hogs to market on them. Don]




Same location as the above - one of the Shuang Cheng or Shin sheng Streets off of 7th Ave.

[Also, this small motorcycle was probably the most common type in Taipei, as I recall. Don]





I'll post the remainder of the pictures that Dennis sent in a day or so.

Thanks again, Dennis!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More Taipei "Getting Around" Pictures

More pictures from Dennis, including the comments:

This is the bridge that ran north from the MAAG Compounds along Zhong Shan Rd N over the river to the Grand Hotel and the 63 Club (China Seas). I read somewhere that this bridge is no longer used but still in place.




This is in the Shih-Lin area just west of the Grand Hotel. It might be at the intersection of Hougang St, 5th Ave and Chengde Sec 4 Rd 80 Ln or 58 Ln. The area is so built up it is hard to tell (I am using MSN Maps for street names and Google Earth for locations then crossing referencing both. Google Earth road names are in Chinese).






Just after crossing the bridge on Zhong Shan N Rd heading north toward the 63 Club (China Seas) and before the Grand Hotel was this little park area on the East Side.






I'll post more pictures in a day or so. Many thanks to Dennis and all the others who have taken the time to share some of these great memories. Keep 'em coming!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Getting Around In Taipei (Updated)

Dennis came back with more information on each of his photos and I'm adding those in brackets after my previous remarks.

Dennis McNelis was assigned to ASA in the TDC building during 1973-1974. Unlike some of us, Dennis took quite a few pictures during his tour and I've posted a number of them previously. He just sent me a few more, showing how most folks traveled around in those days, and I'll be posting the rest in the days ahead.

Next to walking, taxis were the main mode of transportation for some of us. They were inexpensive and available most anywhere in town. I may be wrong, but I believe that just to the right is the bridge that crossed the river on the way to the Grand Hotel and the China Seas enlisted club (Club 63).

[This pic should be known by all of us. It is right across from the Zoo on Zhong Shan N Rd heading north from the Compounds just before the bridge that crosses the river toward the Grand Hotel and 63 Club (China Seas). To the left would be the road that led to the entrance of the TDC and to the right would be heading north. This is looking West.]

More taxis here, along with motorcycles and bicycles. Dennis mentioned that he owned a motorcycle that he drove all around the city. (Yikes!) I wonder if bicycles still venture out onto the streets of Taipei?

[This is on Min Quan Road East on The East side of Zhong Shan Road N.]



Another cab here. I think this is in Tien Mou where many military families resided.

[This is in the Shih-Lin area just west of the Grand Hotel. It might be at the intersection of Hougang St, 5th Ave and Chengde Sec 4 Rd 80 Ln or 58 Ln. The area is so built up it is hard to tell (I am using MSN Maps for street names and Google Earth for locations then crossing referencing both. Google Earth road names are in Chinese).]

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Return to Taipei

Kent Mathieu and Bill Kling are organizing a trip back to Taipei, tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2009. They're in the process now of scouting out the best transportation and hotel deals and will be posting that info at the new blog site that's been set up for the trip: http://americangisreturningtotaiwanin2009.blogspot.com/.

If you were stationed there and if you've ever thought about heading back to see how much the place has changed, this may be your best chance.

Taiwan Furniture, Etc.

Jim Sartor sent these photos of some things that he purchased during his time in Taipei. His remarks are next to each one. I wrote previously about the coffee table and end tables that I bought while I was there. One thing I didn't mention was that many of those coffee tables, like mine, could be broken down into three pieces. Each piece was exactly the maximum size allowed for the APO -- the military mail system -- so that even people who were in Taipei on R&R could buy a set and ship them home.




This is a marble bowl, marble eggs and marble fruit that you could buy on Chung Chan North road for about 10NT each.







This is one of the carved bookcases and carved screens that were made by Singer Lee in Shih Lin. They're still perfect after over 35 years.








Believe it or not, this is really a sewing machine cabinet. The top flips to one side, the sewing machine lifts up and the left front panel slides out to become a chair for sewing. Clever huh?