Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quarters A

We've had several discussions about Taipei area military housing during the past three years or so.  But there is one house that I don't think I've mentioned previously.  The Commander of USTDC and his family resided in what was called "Quarters A," high above the city.  Jenny Lee asked me about it a few days ago and I started looking around for its location.

Patricia Linder, wife of RADM James Linder, in her book "The Lady and the Tiger," wrote extensively about the place, including many humorous (and also some very serious) events that occurred there during their period of residence from 1977 until early 1980.

LTC Scott Ellinger was kind enough to identify the map coordinates for the former Quarters A (25.133202,121.542799), which I pasted into Google Maps for the images shown below.

This first image shows the location of Quarters A in relation to the HSA compound.  You can see the aircraft symbol at the old airport in this photo, the HSA compound was about two kilometers (by my reckoning) due west of the airport.  Well north of that location, appropriately labeled "A" in this image, is Quarters A.  As always on this blog, you can click on the images to expand them for easier viewing.

Below is a satellite photo of the building as it appears today.  When Pat saw this photo, she immediately recognized it, and said that the white area to the lower left of the house is the pool.  A long porch faces the pool and looks out over Tien Mou.  The house to the left of Quarters A was the South African Embassy with Bill and Renee Praetorious in residence at that time.  She noted that nature is very forgiving because many large trees were destroyed during the typhoon that hit as they were moving into this house.  As you can see, the area seems to have healed nicely since then.

There was also a street view available in Google Maps for this location and here's how it looks from the entrance gate:
Pat told me that the long wall with the little windows visible here is the "insanely slick hall" to the master bed/sitting rooms.  You'll have to read her book to fully appreciate that comment.

Many thanks to Jenny, Scott and Patricia for helping me document this important part of US Taiwan Defense Command history.


Stev said...

VADM Roland Smoot was the Commander of USTDC while I was in Taiwan (1959-60). One of my duties while at USTDC was showing movies for the Admiral, his wife, and any guests they might invite to their house. I had tried to find the house on Google Earth several times, but Taiwan has changed so much and my memory of the house was so foggy that I never succeeded. My thanks to LTC Ellinger for providing the coordinates.

Even after seeing the Google images, I don't remember much about the house itself. I don't think there was a pool when I was there. I do have vivid memories of the view of Taipei from the house. It was spectacular and every time I think about it I wonder why I didn't take some pictures from there.

Across the drive from the Admiral's house was the house of the president of Civil Air Transport. I don't recognize it in the Google images, but the Admiral had me take some pictures of the house as a favor for his neighbor.

Anonymous said...


I just met VADM Smoot's grandson in the airport last week... strange... he will look through his father's things to see what he can dig up from his father.

Scott Ellinger

Stev said...


Again, my thanks for providing the coordinates for the house. I would really like to see any pictures of the house and area around it from that era - especially the view overlooking Taipei. If the grandson finds any, hopefully he will furnish copies to Don for the blog.

老屋傳奇 said...

So at the time, where was your house?
and do you remember who was the president of CAT? remember his name ?

Jenny Lee

老屋傳奇 said...

where is your house at the time ?
Do you remember ehat was the CAT President's name ?

老屋傳奇 said...

did you hear anything from VADM Roland Smoot yet?


Stev said...

I didn't have a house. I lived in Hostel #1 on Grass Mountain. Sorry, I don't remember the CAT president's name.