Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, February 28, 2008

USTDC Chiefs of Staff

Several months ago, I listed what I determined to be all of the Air Force brigadier generals who served as USTDC Chief of Staff. I assembled that information from the Air Force's biography website of present and former senior officers.

I recently heard from an individual who believes that one of the individuals that I have listed for the period 1962-1965 may not be the correct name. I've been unable to find any other Air Force General who may have been there during that time.

If anyone was in Taipei during that period, I would be most grateful if you could take a quick look at my USTDC Chief of Staff listing and let me know if you spot any errors.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taipei Area Sports Car Club (TASCC)

First of all, I apologize for the long dry spell here. I've been preoccupied with a family medical situation and just haven't been able to focus on much else until now. Thanks for your patience.

I received a note from Jim Sartor regarding the Taipei Area Sports Car Club:
Going thru some old pix of Taipei and remembered that in 71 or so a group of us got together and started the Taipei Area Sports Car Club. We used to run road rallies in and around Taipei and the outskirts and on many Sundays, ran slaloms on a dirt lot just outside Shu Linkou.
We had a ton of fun with our toys. I REALLY remember one dark night, while on a rally outside of Taipei, I hit one of those stray turkeys at about 80 miles an hour. Tore the front spoiler off my 240Z and made turkey hash out of the turkey. Took me 2 days to get the turkey off the bottom of my car!!!
Wondered if anyone else remembers TASCC?
When I was there in 1973-74, John Cranford -- one of my office mates -- was a member of this group. He also drove a 240Z (dark brown or maroon, I think). One Sunday he talked me into riding with him to a slalom event. I have a short 8MM film clip somewhere of the event, but about all it shows is the mountain of dust created by the tight turns of the participants' cars.

But my clearest memory of that day is the terror I experienced as he gleefully disregarded every traffic law in Taiwan on our way to and from the event. Somehow he managed not to kill anyone, including me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Travels From Taipei

Like a lot of military people, Bill Kling was able to visit a number of other countries while stationed in Taiwan. Military flights sometimes have empty seats available to military personnel and many of those assigned to USTDC and elsewhere in Taiwan took advantage of that program.

Here's what Bill had to say:

I was fortunate in that my wife was in Taiwan with me during both of my tours, 73-75 & 77-79 and we used the opportunity to travel to several countries in Asia while I was stationed at USACC Taiwan. I wanted to see other countries, but as all good military people do I was looking for other possible tours and to visit friends I had made in other locations. I should explain that being in the Army and working in communications afforded some good assignments, and since I often talked to my counterparts in Okinawa, Philippines, Korea, Guam, Hawaii, and Thailand traveling around the area is something I had to do.

I was able to use SPACE-A travel from Sung Shan Air Base during my 73-75 tour which saved an awful lot of money. On my first trip we went to Clark Air Base in The Philippines. I had a friend who was assigned to an outfit called DCA-SWP, a tri-service unit, so although I was in the Army it gave me the opportunity to serve on an Air Force base. We went to PI for four days, stayed at my friend’s house, and spent a total $150, which included trinkets and some little gifts.

We had never traveled SPACE-A before, but the guys at Sung Shan taught me how to use the system. The way I remember it worked was you had to be signed out on leave before you could get on the priority list to get a seat on a plane. Since the Air Base was very close to where my headquarters were located, I would go to the Air Base and see what the chances of me getting a flight were before going on leave. If there was a good opportunity, I would go back to the compound sign out on leave and hustle back to the Air Base. On my first trip this saved me quite a few days of leave as there were no flights for me when I wanted to go, but I just came back 4 or 5 days in a row until I could get a flight. As military people do, I made some friends at the Air Base and I helped those guys make telephone calls home to the good old USA. It is amazing how we all learned to help each other.

Without boring you with too many travel stories, one more I would like to share is my solo trip to Saigon in April 1975. As we all know the US evacuated out of Vietnam on April 30, 1975. Well, there were many military people throughout Asia that had Vietnam friends or family in Saigon that wanted to get our before the North Vietnamese took over. Word spread that if you completed documents that would sponsor someone and presented them to the US Embassy in Saigon, the US Military would fly them out to either Guam or PI. I and a friend from Okinawa ended up volunteering to take approximately 50 sponsor packets to Saigon and help get their people out in early April 1975. I got a SPACE-A flight to Okinawa and then we took a commercial flight into Saigon. Of course we never told our commanders where our destination was as they would never allow our leave. Needless to say it was not a smart thing to do, but we were able to get out almost 40 people on that trip that lasted 12 days. We got a flight from Saigon to PI, and then I got a flight back to Taipei and then to Okinawa. It is really satisfying to think our crazy act saved some wonderful people. I am still in contact with many of the military people and families we were able to help.

A Little Administrative Business

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However, if you register when you post, then you can opt to automatically receive an email notification from whenever anyone else comments on that same post.

Because I own the blog, I'm notified when anyone writes a comment, no matter how old my original posting is. That's very helpful to me because a significant number of comments are made on things that I wrote several weeks or months ago.

Nobody, including me, ever sees your actual email address when you're a registered user.

One other thing: At the top of this blog is a search box. If you're looking for postings on any subject, just type in a key word or phrase and you'll be shown all postings that meet your search criteria. Also, every posting that I've made has one or more labels associated with it. You'll find a complete list of all those labels in the right-hand column, along with the number of postings.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Taipei Trip

I've mentioned Kent Mathieu's Taipei Air Station website several times before, but he has now started a Taipei Air Station blog that you should also take a look at it. Actually the content of both sites covers a lot more than just Taipei Air Station.

At the TAS blog site, Kent has suggested the possibility of arranging a group trip back to Taipei, possibly during the Fall of 2008. If you've ever considered making that trip, then be sure to check out the info on his blog and then let him know what you think.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tien Mou -- More Photos

Dennis McNelis sent the Tien Mou photo from a couple of posts earlier, and he just provided these two as well, taken in the same neighborhood. I'm including his comments beside each photo.

Exact same location facing the opposite direction.

And yes the Mongolian BBQ is very near. Anyone hungry? I know I am. I used to frequent the Tien Mou Mongolian BBQ often. I loved it. I particularly liked the breads that were served with the BBQ. I remember stuffing the breads with the meat and vegetables. I suspect these pics where all taken right in front of the Mongolian BBQ

Heads Up (or Down)

I don't wish to be indelicate here, but I suppose no account of USTDC would be complete without mentioning the heads (navy & marines), latrines (army & air force) or restrooms (civilians) in the USTDC building. I seem to remember several other terms sometimes used but this is, after all, a family friendly blog so I won't mention any of them here.

I only recall two such facilities for males, one upstairs (2nd deck for navy & marines) which you accessed via the stairway (ladder for navy & marines), and one downstairs (1st deck for navy & marines). I can't say whether there were similar facilities for women working in the building, but I assume there must have been at least one somewhere.

About all I really recall about the two mens rooms is that the one downstairs didn't flush very well and the one upstairs took several flushes to work at all. I was more familiar with the downstairs facility because I worked on the first floor. Besides, the admiral and general worked upstairs and it didn't seem right to make them wait while I flushed the john a dozen times or more.

I have now written far more than I ever thought possible about the toilets of TDC and I promise not to write any more...unless I think of something really interesting, of course.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fine Arts Museum and Art Park

The Headquarters Support Activity east compound, where USTDC used to stand, is now home to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Art Park. All former structures, such as the Exchange, Commissary, theater, library, etc., were demolished several years ago.

I found another video over on YouTube that shows part of that area as it appears today. It runs eight minutes or so, and you may find it about as fascinating as watching paint dry, but it will remove any doubt in your mind that the place looks anything like it did back in the day.

Life goes on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tien Mou - 1973

After viewing the You-Tube clips of Tien Mou, Dennis McNelis sent me this photo of Tien Mou back in 1973. Just a tad different, eh?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tien Mou and Taipei American School

Kent Mathieu alerted me to this video of a scooter ride through Tien Mou including the new Taipei American School.

I also spotted this short video of the old Taipei American School.


And if that first scoot ride wasn't unnerving enough for you, here's the return trip video.