Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, April 2, 2010

Requium for a Command

I recently heard from Dick Worsena, who was at USTDC from September 1977 until the final withdrawal of American military forces from Taiwan in early 1979.  Here is his account of that period:

My name is Richard "Dick" Worsena. I was the last Navy Supply Corps Officer assigned to USTDC. I went there as a new Commander to be the Logistics Section Head under Air Force Colonel Bruce Ferrier (J1/J4).  I reported in September 1977 for a two year tour which got shortened by our leaving the island in April 1979. RADM James Linder had just reported as the COMUSTDC.

When the MAAG closed in 1978, the Personnel Officer, an Army lieutenant colonel went to run the Club since he had been a hotel management graduate from Cornell. Ferrier had me then double-hat as the dreaded Personnel Officer and the Navy Logistics head. I had an Army major, Bob Fox, now a retired Colonel, and an Air Force captain that ran the J4 area full time.

It seems to me the USTDC Chief of Staff, the Air Force brigadier general, was replaced by an Air Force colonel, since we were downsizing in rank. We were required to do a couple of all island personnel decreases and my Logistics group was directed to coordinate the plan back to CINCPAC.

Finally in December 1978 we got the word that we were all to leave by April 1979. I happened to be playing golf that Saturday morning when I was called back to TDC. It was an interesting weekend. Fortunately, we had developed a withdrawal plan and so had a head start in planning our departure in a short period of time.

I was one of the 23 military officers under the command of the USTDC Chief of Staff, the Air Force colonel, to be sent to Hawaii to finish the withdrawal and turnover of assets for the best price possible to the Taiwan military. The Mutual Defense Treaty remained in effect until December 31, 1979. We were set up as a separate group at CINCPAC and called the Provisional Plans Office (PPO), code J78.

My next tour was to be as the Supply Officer of the Destroyer Tender Bryce Canyon (AD-36) homeported at Pearl Harbor. Since I was not to report until April 1980, I was tasked as the sole survivor of J78 to prepare the last Command History. Working with the CINCPAC Command Historian I completed that assignment and found I did not know the whole picture of what had happened since December 1978. The document was classified.

Many thanks to Dick Worsena for providing his first-hand account of the final months of the US Taiwan Defense Command.

As I've written previously, the CINCPAC Command History for 1978 has been declassified and can be found at the Nautilus.org website.  It's a very lengthy document, but it's clear that Commander Worsena, RADM Linder, and all those working at USTDC were kept very busy during that period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Neighbor from the street behind us!