To get my brain rebalanced, I've started sorting through the Commander In Chief US Pacific Command (CINCPAC) Command Histories that I mentioned in a previous piece. There's a ton of information in these things, but they're quite lengthy and sorting through all of them in search of Taipei material is going to take some time.
I thought that today I'd write a little bit about the 1975 history, since that was the year after I left USTDC, and I'll continue this theme in the days ahead.
After President Nixon's visit to mainland China in 1972, plans were made for drawdowns of U.S. Forces and the closing of U.S. bases on Taiwan. In the "Shanghai Communique" issued by the President and Premier Chou En-Lai, the United States reaffirmed its interest "in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves" and the "ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. Forces and military installations from Taiwan." Despite my tendency to blame President Carter for our departure in 1979, it's certainly clear that the die was cast several years earlier.
Also during 1975 there was a study to determine the feasibility of merging USTDC and MAAG, an idea that had been first discussed back in 1958. CINCPAC favored the merger but ultimately the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided not to submit the plan to the Secretary of Defense because of a pending trip by President Ford to the PRC. Apparently nobody wanted to rock the boat until all the dust settled. Sorry, I just had a sudden metaphor attack.
Tainan Air Base had been phased down to caretaker status by the end of 1974 and the following April the JCS advised that the Office of the Secretary of Defense had requested views regarding the military requirement for continued P-3 and related operations that ccontinued out of Tainan, along with reasonable alternatives to Tainan basing. As a result, all P-3 operations were terminated as of 9 June. However, in August JCS received information that indicated there were still some support personnel for P-3 operations at Tainan -- a situation that also concerned the U.S. State Department. JCS directed that, unless there were really unusual circumstances to warrant the reopening of the whole P-3 issue, all P-3 support personnel should be redeployed as quickly as possible.
In May, 1975, the second F-4 fighter squadron was withdrawn from CCK (Ching Chuan Kang Air Base), with the final squadron of 18 F-4Cs departing for Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, between 27 and 30 May. By June, CCK had also been placed in caretaker status.
As of 31 July, the assigned strength of activities in Taiwan was 2,977, as follows:
- American Embassy: 28
- Joint Commands: 283
- Army: 519
- Navy: 450
- Air Force: 1,684
- Other Defense Department: 13
- Taipei: 1,500
- Shu Linkou: 814
- Tai Chung - Ching Chuan Kang: 517
- Tainan: 120
- Kaohsiung/Tsoying: 68
- Five other locations: 25