Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another View of the TDC Compound

Longtime contributor Les sent this photo, taken in July, 1978. He wrote:
It’s taken from the bridge at the head of Chung Shan North Road, heading toward the Grand Hotel, but looking back southeast along the riverbank. If you look closely, in the center you can make out the red and yellow entrance gate to TDC and just to the right of that a bit of the headquarters building.
Also, if you came back down from the gate area about 50 yards toward Chung Shan North Road, you'd be approximately where the art museum stands today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Security Group

I received a note from Collin Warren, who was at TDC during 1962-1963:

I lived in an apartment on the 3rd floor in a couple block area where I think most single guys lived. I walked to work and I seem to remember going in the back door of the building.

Security Group spaces were on the first floor at end of hall [to the left at the main entrance]. Our door was a walk-in bank vault door with a key pad and only a few people were allowed in these spaces.

At the other end of hall was the office of NSA Pacific. I think I was the Assistant Comm Chief and worked 7-3 Monday through Friday. Every day about 11:30 I would go to lunch at the Army Club by calling the motor pool for a truck and a driver.

I was there from January 1962 to May 1963 and was chosen to be USTDC enlisted man of the month for January, 1963. I am enclosing a photo of VADM Melson giving me a letter of commendation. The photo and story were in the Taipei newspaper. [Click on image to enlarge]

I remember spending a couple of days at the Peitou hot springs. I was only 20 years old in those days, but I certainly enjoyed my stay there.

Momma, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

It's a sad time for those of us who shot roll after roll of Kodachrome, Kodak's color slide film. It's likely that many of the great photographs that have been submitted to this blog were originally shot with Kodachrome.

Kodak announced on June 22nd that they would no longer manufacture the product due to a greatly reduced demand. I understand that there's only one lab in the nation -- somewhere in Kansas, I think -- that still processes it.

Most everyone uses digital cameras today, making it possible for those of us who are photographically challenged to take dozens of shots of a subject to find the one or two that may be worth keeping.

My first decent camera was a Minolta Hi-Matic 7 that I bought at the Kadena Base Exchange on Okinawa in 1963. It was pretty primitive by today's standards, but I used it for years and took many memorable photographs with it, a lot of them on Kodachrome film.

So to commemorate the proud history of Kodachrome and all the scenes that it captured, let's load up the old carousel projector and invite all the neighbors over to watch our vacation slides. Don't forget the popcorn...and none of that instant microwave stuff either.

One other thing: If any of you have old slides of USTDC or the compound area, and you'd like to have them converted to digital images, I'd be happy to do that for you. Just drop me an email and we can sort out the details.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And the Answer Is . . .

The group shown in yesterday's photo was "The Country Gentlemen." Here's what Linda had to say about the group:
This group was comprised of Navy and Air Force. The lead guitarist with the double neck was Gene Garland, RM2 (worked in USTDC J-6); the other guitarist was Jim Harris, SSGT, Air Force; the bass player was named Curly (unsure of service) and the fiddle player and drummer we don't remember their names or services. Also, not pictured was Jim's wife, Nancy, who sang female lead.
This group played at the Linkou Club regularly and were very popular. Everytime they played the club was packed and if you didn't arrive early it was standing room only.
If anyone has more photos of the Linkou, especially interior shots, please send 'em my way. The guys at the Linkou website are also on the lookout for them.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Question Is . . .

Who are these guys?

I've been in "Linkou Club mode" for a couple of days now and Linda Greth just sent me this photo of a group of Navy and Air Force guys whose group used to play at the Linkou. She told me the name of the group and the names of some of its members but just for grins I'll hold that until tomorrow. Comment below if you think you can identify the group or anyone in it. This would have been during the 1965-1969 time frame.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Linkou Hotel Mystery Solved

Yesterday I posted a photo from Thomas and Linda Greth that was taken during the period 1965-1969 and showed what was supposedly The Linkou Club and the Hotel Linkou, but I didn't recognize anything in the photo.

John Quinn commented that it was actually the back side of those facilities. That was confirmed by Roger Lentz who maintains the 6987th Security Group website (Shu Linkou Air Station). He had this to say:

Here’s a 1970 shot of the Linkou Club and the Hotel Linkou next door on the left. The BB Club was next to the Hotel Linkou.

The photo was taken by Steve Swallom and is posted on our 6987th Shulinkou website.

The photo on your blog Monday, June 22, is a “rare” shot taken in the alley behind the Linkou Club and Hotel Linkou. The shot shows the rear of the Linkou Club and “Employees Only” parking area and the Hotel Linkou’s parking area on the far right.

The Linkou Club’s red door and stairs in the photo was the rear (emergency) exit for the club’s upstairs lounge.
I don’t recall walking back there during my tour...I’m sure it’s the first time I’ve ever seen the rear of the Linkou Club.

After looking at this photo, I suddenly remembered that the Hotel Linkou (to the left of the club) is where I stayed when I first arrived in Taipei in 1973. It was only about a ten minute walk to TDC from there. After a fairly short time -- maybe a couple of weeks -- I moved to the hostel, which was about 90 degrees to the left of this photo and just past the entrance to the east compound. I stayed there for the rest of my 15 month tour. Once or twice I considered getting an apartment, but it was cheaper and a lot more convenient to stay where I was.

I think I visited the BC Club once, on a Saturday afternoon with my buddy Larry Sherman. I remember that one of the hostesses walked over and stirred my drink with her finger and I decided that it was time to move on. Like me, Larry was also a bit of a germaphobe and he often joked about that day. I don't know where Larry is today, but I'll bet he still remembers the finger in the drink incident!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Linkou Hotel

I received this photo from Linda Greth a few weeks ago. Linda and her husband, SFC Thomas Greth, were at USTDC from 1965 until 1969. Unfortunately, the photo arrived around the time that we were getting ready to go spoil our grandkids in Pennsylvania and I'm afraid that I just forgot about it -- not that I'm getting old or anything.

I have to say that this does not look at all familiar to me and I don't remember a Linkou Hotel during my time in 1973-1974. If you look closely (click on the photo to expand it), you'll see that the printing on the blades of the windmill say "Linkou Hotel" and the sign on the building says "Shu Lin Kou NCO Club."

Was this the original Linkou Club in downtown Taipei? Does anyone know where it was located in relation to the compounds? Any description of the place or any old memories that you'd like to share would be much appreciated.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sun Moon Lake Photo

Many of you have talked about your visits to Sun Moon Lake, which I understand is still a major tourist attraction in Taiwan. I just found a nice shot of the place at this website (bottom photo). It's a nice size for your desktop background, if you're so inclined.

There are several other nice photos on the same page.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Double Knits

I mentioned earlier that I sometimes wore double knit pants when I was off-duty in Taipei. Hey, it wasn't really my fault. Lots of guys wore double knits in the early seventies, right? Can I see a show of hands?

I also mentioned that I had a bright plaid pair at the time but I didn't mention that they were bell bottoms with wide cuffs (Cue up the calliope).

I never did own a leisure suit, but I'm thinking about getting one now, moving to Florida, and complaining about politicians full time. I think that maybe something in a powder blue, accessorized with white shoes and belt, matched with a polyester shirt with oversize collar would just about do it. Add a thick gold chain or two and I'm ready.

Anyway, all of this jogged my memory regarding double knits at TDC. I don't recall that any of the Army, Marine or Air Force guys wore them, but I do remember that several of the Navy guys wore tailored double knit whites to work. They really looked sharp, but I often wondered how often they had to have them cleaned.

These fashion statements would have been during 1973-74, but I assume they were still doing it a few years before or after as well. Does anyone remember double knit uniforms?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Name the Amahs

I received a note from the daughter in law of Major Harold (Hal) Oliver, who was at USTDC during 1959 - 1960. The Olivers lived in Bank of Taiwan (BOT) housing in Tien Mou and they had two amahs. I know this is a long shot, but she is trying to locate the amahs who worked for the Oliver family.

Does anyone recall Major (Later Lieutenant Colonel) Oliver? Do you remember the ladies who worked for him or have any idea where they are today?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Without Looking Back

A gentleman from Taiwan left a comment here at the blog yesterday. He said he was surprised to see that we who served in Taiwan were so fond of the place. He said, "We Taiwanese used to think you left without looking back at us."

I think most of us who served there were deeply disappointed with the diplomacy shift by the Carter administration. Rear Admiral Linder was the last Commander of the US Taiwan Defense Command and was also the last US military person to depart from Taiwan in 1979. Twenty years later, the admiral spoke at the Taiwan Relations Conference held in Los Angeles, California. The Voice of America reported on the conference, including this comment from Admiral Linder:
We had a lot of discontent [from the people of Taiwan], and the people were very unhappy and presumed that we were going to go away and they were going to be in deep trouble. And we sort of felt the same way.
In retrospect, I suppose none of us should have been surprised. The administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter all cozied up to what we used to call "Red China." But of course the final blow to our strong ties with Taiwan took place during Carter's administration, almost without warning.

Yes we have very fond memories of our time in Taiwan. We looked back with sadness when the US government decided to leave there. Thirty years later, many of us are still looking back.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taiwan Photorama

One of the Taiwan-related links to your right is called Taiwan Photographers. They always have a great collection of contemporary photographs of Taiwan, but I just became aware of one of their contributors by the name of Mark Forman.

Mark's photos -- the ones I've seen anyway -- are often more art than graphic image. Take a look at this slide show and see if you agree. I'd love to follow this guy around for a day just to see how he goes about getting these incredible shots!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hsinchu Photos from the Fifties and Sixties

I know that many of you have enjoyed all of the old photographs posted here in the past.

Good friend Kent, over at the Taipei Air Station blog, has been posting numerous photos that were taken in the areas around Hsinchu four or five decades ago. The image quality is so good in many of them that they might have been taken yesterday. If you click on this link, it will bring up all of the Hsinchu posts and photos at Kent's blog.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taiwan Appearance Standards in 1970

This is from the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald of June 30, 1970. It warned that foreigners who arrived in Taipei wearing hippy-style hair and clothing may be deported.

I didn't know any military guys who wore women's clothing or shoes (ouch!), as far as I can remember, but then I didn't get out that much either.

Peace, y'all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

December, 1978, Demonstrations

I found this article from the December 17, 1978, issue of the Ocala (Florida) Star Banner. It describes the demonstrations at the HSA compound after the announcement that the US was dropping its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and withdrawing its military forces. There's also a fuzzy photo of some of the demonstrators in the article.

Les and Barb previously described what it was like to be a US military member stationed in Taipei during that period. Scary times.

As I've said before, I'm told that many of the young people in Taiwan today don't even know that American military folks were ever stationed there. Titojohn sent me an article the other day about direct passenger flights about to begin between Taiwan and the People's Republic. The Gemo must be spinning in his grave.

Life goes on.