Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Sunday, April 5, 2009

USTDC Building History

Taipeimarc sent me this 1945 map of the area around what later became the Headquarters Support Activity (HSA) East and West Compounds. Though I can't figure out the exact boundaries of either compound, there is some interesting stuff here.

The East Compound was mostly rice paddies in 1945 but the map shows a building at the approximate spot where USTDC was located. Below that map is a page from the 1977 phone directory that shows the shape of the TDC building (#19 near the top of the map). Allowing for the fact that I don't think the phone directory drawings are exactly right, it might be possible that the original structure was built by the Japanese. If that's the case, there would have been a number of modifications to the building after 1945.

I've also added an aerial photo that was taken somewhere around 1960 below that shows the shape of the building at that time. I think it's fairly close to the way it was when I arrived in 1973.

If the structure shown on the first map isn't the original USTDC building, then it must have been torn down by the Americans because I don't see any other structures near that location that would fit.

What do y'all think?


Bill said...

Interestingly enought, behind TDC (as in your 1960 photo), shows a basefield which predates the one I remember from early 70's (note there is no build up bleachers....also right behind TDC there were tennis courts when I arrived, but in this picture it is either a motor pool or equipment storage yard.

Don said...

Good eye, Bill; I didn't even notice that ball field. I'm pretty certain that it wasn't there in 73-74. I remember that Larry Markham, one of our TDC civilians, tried to teach me to play tennis and I think the court was about where it's shown on the phone book illustration.

I played quite a lot of handball before Taipei but couldn't find any other players there. It seems to me that there was a concrete handball/racquetball court there in the East Compound but I don't see it on the map.

George said...

The Basketball and Tennis courts were already there in January 1965 replacing the equipment storage yard. The ball park in the 1960 photo was there also in 1965 and must have been there in 73-74. Take another look, it may have had additional bleachers added by 73, but it is the same ball field as in the 1960 photo. At least that is what I see when comparing the photo to the map, but I was already gone on January 1, 1967.

Don said...

Kent advises: "One thing remains certain - the railroad tracks on the west side of HSA have not moved, although today they are the MRT tracks"

Anonymous said...

Yep, the ball field was still there when we left in '72. My wife even played in a ladies slow pitch softball league back there.

Jim Sartor

Bill said...

I was looking for the back entrance to TDC from by the tennis courts. I remember going through there to see a tailor for uniforms. Not sure of his name I am thinking Mr Lu.

Anonymous said...

Bill: You're right. The shop was
called Tailor Lu and you could pick out the material and have them make you a short sleeved shirt for two dollars and a long sleeved one for two fifty.

We used to order ten or twelve new shirts at a time.

Try that now!!!!

Jim Sartor

Don said...

The only back entrance I remember was the back door to my office, which was the Army and Air Force Personnel shop (1973-74). It was a steel door and could only be opened from the inside. Whenever someone wanted to come in that way, they'd bang on the door.

As you came in, there was a coffee urn and an office supply storage area and to the right was our office.

To get to my office from the main entrance, you'd turn right at the BMC's desk, go down the hall and take a left. I've mentioned before that I think there was a short ramp we had to walk down and then my office was on the right back there somewhere.

I may be wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but I think there was a classified incinerator behind that part of the building. It seems to me that it malfunctioned one time and blew white ash all over the trees and ground behind the building. It looked like a snowstorm back there. In the aerial photo of the building, there is what appears to be a smokestack in that general area.

I believe I used to go out that way to get to the print shop also.

Anonymous said...

Don: They must have changed things after I left then. When I was there we had a rear entrance with a Chinese guard on it.

It sounds like you occupied the old spaces J22 (where I worked) used to have. We moved over to the new Comm building when it opened.

Yes, there was an incinerator back there but it was closed down while I was there and converted to a pulping system instead. We used to haul 60 or so burn bags out every week and process them back there.

Jim Sartor

Bill said...

If you enlarge the map above the picture for the HSA EAST Compound it is easy to see where the tennis courts, TDC, softball fields were located.
Not sure of the map date, but sure it was this way in still in the late 1970's...

Stev said...

I don't specifically remember a back door to the TDC building, but I didn't spend a lot of time in the building. I usually had lunch at a restaurant near what is shown as the FASD Facility (No. 10) on the East Compound map. To get there, I just walked from the Photo Lab around and behind the TDC building into the East Compound.

When I was there (1959-60), the incinerator was a horizontally mounted round wire basket with a big handle on it. We would put whatever we were burning in it, light it, then crank the handle till it was gone. It was located near the back of the Photo Lab.

Les D. said...

There was a rear entrance/exit to the TDC building during my time there (1976-78). It was guarded by a Chinese MP and you emerged roughly between the Stratcom building and the softball field. It was an easy route to the East Compound, the NEX cafeteria, BX, etc.