Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TDC Floorplan

I often look at this photo and try to remember what the inside of the building looked like. The photo was probably taken sometime around 1960, and there were a few external changes over the years. For example, I don't remember that quonset hut to the right of the main building, nor the small building next to it when I was at TDC in 1973-74. I know the quonset was once the photo lab but I don't know what the other building was. The long canopy over the entrance was replaced with a permanent overhang, which you can see at the top of this blog.

I know that when I went in the main entrance, the J1's office was immediately to my left. Straight ahead was the Chief's office (BMC Gagne when I was there). It was almost like a ticket window kind of thing. Inside was a counter with a phone and a squawk box that was connected to the flag office. There was a small room behind the Chief's office that had a standard GI bunk for those pulling the watch at night.

If you turned left at the chief's office, there was a long hallway. I rarely went down that hallway, except when I had the watch and had to lower and lock the metal door at the end. I think the downstairs head was down that way but I'm not sure about that.

If you turned right at the chief's office, I believe the comm center was down there on the right. To get to my office (J12), you turned left toward the end of that hallway.

Just to the right of the chief's office was the stairway up to the second floor. My memory says that there were two or three steps up to the first landing, then several steps up to the right to the second landing and then two or three steps to the right again to the second floor.

I've always thought that to get to the flag office you turned left at the top of the stairs, where you had to go through the XO's office to get to either the general's or admiral's offices. But after looking at the photo, I'm wondering if those offices were over the main entrance.

I don't remember much else about the second floor of the building, except that the J-2 acquisition (?) shop was up there somewhere.

Okay, I've probably got most of this all wrong, so here's your chance to straighten me out. If you remember where the offices were located and who was in them, maybe you could draw a floorplan, scan it, and send it in. I know that some of the offices moved around over the years. I think my office was once a classified area. There was a steel door to the outside in the back that could only be opened from the inside.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rest and Recreation (R&R) - Part 3

This segment concludes the R&R series. The military men visit other areas as they conclude their "Holiday From Hell" in Taiwan and return to Vietnam.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rest and Recreation (R&R) - Part 2

Today continues the "Holiday From Hell" video about the R&R troops that came to Taipei from Vietnam.

In today's segment, the men arrive in Taipei and receive their instructions on where to go, what to do (and not do) and how to behave. They then head for their hotels and begin to enjoy their time away from Vietnam.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rest and Recreation (R&R) - Part 1

Some time ago I found this article from the Veterans Affairs Commission Executive Yuan, R. O. C., regarding the US Military Recreation Center in Taipei. There were several R&R centers, including Japan, Hong Kong, Hawaii and of course Taiwan. The center in Taipei was closed during 1972 as American troops were leaving Vietnam.

I recently found a documentary on YouTube about the R&R flights out of Vietnam. The film, titled "Holiday From Hell," is in three parts. Today I'm posting part one, which provides some background for the flights and it includes brief interviews with a few American and allied forces prior to their departure for Taipei.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chinese New Year 1966

I found this British Pathe' film footage from 1966. The scenes were apparently never used in any of their newsreels and there is no sound, but it contains footage of a number of private and public Chinese new year celebrations that I thought you might find interesting.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Trash Trucks in Taipei

I changed up some of the Taiwan blog links listed in the right hand column here, dropping those that were more focused on present day Taiwan politics. I spend enough time grumbling about my own government and decided that reading the daily criticisms of Taiwan's government by Americans who happen to live there was not particularly helpful.

One of the new blogs is called New Hampshire Bushman, which was rated as one of the best (English) Taiwan blogs last year. In a recent piece, the author (MJ Klein) included a short video of a Taiwan trash truck. Does anyone remember if they had these musical wonders when we were there?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hsin Sheng Theater

I received some comments and photographs from Les D. regarding the recent discussion here about the Hsin Sheng Theater:

Since that film clip of Taipei in the 60s caused a few comments about the Hsin Sheng Theater, I thought I’d dig through my old slides and see if I could find some photos of it.

The first three shots were taken sometime between 1962 and 1966, probably closer to the earlier date than the latter. They proceed south along hagglers’ row. Notice the pedicab in the one shot, and the general lack of traffic. The Hsin Sheng Theater is the building on the left in the third photo, surrounded by bamboo scaffolding.

[The next two] are pics of the theater, though the train in the last was obviously my focus.

The last pair of photos were taken between 1971 and 1978. The first one shows hagglers’ row from the opposite direction and with much more traffic. The second one was taken after the overhead walkway was built across the railroad tracks and shows the theater in the right center.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Newsreel from 1959

I just came across a Universal Studios newsreel from 1959, the kind they used to show in theaters just before the feature film was shown. It presents a very positive view of Taiwan after ten years of rule under Chiang Kai Shek.

Though it really has nothing directly to do with USTDC, I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing the people and their activities from 50 years ago. The film has a running time of 1:19.

You can view it at this link.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Naval Hospital Images

About a year ago I posted a photograph from the 1970s of the main parking lot at the Naval Hospital in Taipei.

Victor recently sent me these images of the hospital that he believes are from around 1979, shortly after the U.S. withdrawal. In the first one he circled the hospital complex itself (to the right, in green).

In the second, he circled in red the hospital parking lot that was shown in my post from last year. Just below that is the baseball field, circled in blue. The large yellow square encloses the Veterans General Hospital complex.

You can see what that area looks like today on Google Maps. Just click on this link and you'll find that some tennis courts and parts of some buildings are approximately where the hospital parking lot used to be. You can also use Street View to see the neighborhood at street level. The tennis court fences are on the right side and are covered so you can't see the courts themselves.

Like most everything else in Taipei, very little looks as it did when I was there.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Typhoon Amy Article

I've written a few times about typhoons that have hit Taiwan. If you enter the word "typhoon" in the search box at the upper left of this page, you should find all of those pieces.

Sarj Bloom recently sent this article from the Pacific Stars and Stripes, dated sometime in September 1962 with some photos that were taken during typhoon Amy. Some of these images were posted here previously.

You can see a short British Pathe' news film from 1962 about typhoon Amy at this link.

As bad as Amy was, twelve months later, in September 1963, came typhoon Gloria, which was the strongest typhoon to hit Taiwan at that time. However, there have been other, even stronger storms in the years since, with this year's typhoon Morakot being the deadliest in Taiwan's history.