Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Monday, November 30, 2009

R&R Bag?

I saw this bag on eBay this morning. It appears that it was something that the Linkou Hotel gave out to R&R troops who stayed there. The R&R flights had ended by the time I arrived in 1973 and even though I stayed at the Linkou when I first arrived, I don't recall anything like this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Club 63 Revisited

Here are a few more of Kent's photos from a few weeks ago. These were taken at The American Club in China, where the Club 63 (aka "China Seas Club") was formerly located. Kent says the place has been completely remodeled, which I'd expect since we left there about 30 years ago.

You can see the Grand Hotel in the background.

Kent confirmed that the stag bar building that used to be across the parking lot from the club when I was there is now gone.

This lounge inside the club looks similar to one that was there in 1973-74, but I doubt if it's the same.

I'm looking forward to seeing more photos and comments from Kent and the others who were part of the "American GIs Returning to Taiwan" group. I'll post links to them as soon as they're available.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Bridge Less Complicated

Regular contributor Stev Pitchford provided these photos from September 1959, showing the Chung Shan North Road bridge that many of us remember. It was replaced by the busy interchange shown in my last post. I understand that all of the old spans have been removed and I assume that the footings are gone also.

As I said earlier, I often walked across this bridge. It was common for food vendors to park their carts at either end, and the first time I ever tasted dried squid was from one of those carts. That was also the last time I ever tasted dried squid. Apologies to all those who enjoy this delicacy, but it just didn't appeal to my western sense of taste.

Now a plate of delicious "pot stickers," on the other hand . . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Bridge Too Complicated

More pictures from Kent, this time showing the bridges that now span the river on the way to the old Club 63, Tien Mou and other areas to the north of USTDC.

When I was there in 1973-74 it was just a single bridge, built by the Japanese as I recall. I often crossed it on foot, looking down at the water and whatever happened to be floating by at the time.

This is a Google Earth view showing more or less what it looks like from the air.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Compound Today

Old friend Kent, owner of the Taipei Air Station website and blog, returned from Taipei a few weeks ago and was kind enough to send me some snapshots of his trip.

Just when I'd finally gotten used to the idea that the old Headquarters Support Activity (HSA) west compound (where the BX, commissary, theater, library and USTDC were located) was replaced by a park, I now see that the park is being destroyed to accommodate an upcoming flora exposition.

Great! Now I'm doubly out of date.

Here are a few shots of the former east compound:

As you continue north on Chung Shan North Road, just before the bridge, you come to the turn that took you to the main entrance of the US Taiwan Defense Command headquarters building. Many of you will remember the Storybook House on the corner.

Just past the storybook house is now the modern art museum, located just to the west of the former TDC compound. The USTDC location is now a taxi rest area. I find that very depressing for some reason.

But even though most everything that I knew is now gone, I guess I'm at least a little bit comforted by this shot of a passenger aircraft coming in on final approach to the airport. I estimate that this photo was probably taken a few yards south of where the hostels were located. I've often written here about the passenger jets rattling my windows in the hostel as they flew overhead and it's good to see that this is one thing that has not changed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taiwan Mementos Follow-Up

I was asked if there was some way to contact LTC Ellinger to find out if he was interested in certain Taiwan-related items before actually sending them to him. He has set up an email account for these inquiries: This would also be a good way to send digitized photographs as well, as long as you include a note explaining the "who, what, when and where" for each photo.

As I said in my last post, I'd very much like to have copies of photos that are at all USTDC related, as well as photos of any items that you ship, along with your okay to post them here on the blog. Email them to me at: USTD[at] Also please do the same for the Taipei Air Station website (email, the Taipei Air Station blog (same as the Taipei Air Station website) and the Shu Linkou vets website (email The Linkou website focuses mainly on the individuals and activities in and around the former Air Station on the hill, while the Taipei Air Station sites cover most anything that is Taiwan related.

I explained to a good friend recently that my kids have no interest in my Taiwan stuff (except maybe for the furniture I gave them) and the grandkids have even less. I'd just hate to see those things get thrown out or end up on eBay after I'm gone, so this is a chance for me to send them back home again for "permanent" display. I know that my situation may be quite different from that of many others, but if you're in a similar situation, this would be a way to preserve some of the stuff you've kept in the bottom of a drawer or the back of a closet for many years.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taiwan Mementos

I received the following request from Lieutenant Colonel Scott Ellinger:

History is not to be forgotten. All who were once stationed in Taiwan please look through your old boxes, scrap books, and photo albums.

I am LTC Scott J. Ellinger, currently stationed in Taiwan at the American Institute in Taiwan – Taipei. I work in the Technical Section (Technical Section is the term used for the US MAAG after 1979) as the Army Programs Manager.

Our office wants to line our hallway with items from yesteryear in honor of those who once served in Taiwan, and to maintain a history of assigned units. We want to collect old memorabilia from persons who were stationed in Taiwan with any unit (USTDC, MAAG, Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine units and DoD civilians assigned to any of these units). So far, we have chosen 10 photos (blown up to 12x18) to line the hallway (these photos were downloaded from the USTDC and Taipei Air Station BLOGs). We would like more photos to fill up the white spaces on the walls.

Secondly, the collected memorabilia items will be put into an enclosed glass casing for their permanent home.

Lastly, if anyone has write ups (or wants to do a write up) of unit histories with unit photos, please send them. A historical file is to be created.

For those who are willing contribute to this endeavor, please notify Don Wiggins.

As years go by, I often think about the mementos from my military days that I've stored away in a box somewhere. Chances are good that most of those things will mean very little to my kids and grandkids and it's likely that they'll eventually disappear.

LTC Ellinger is offering a home for photos and objects from those days that will provide a record of our service in Taiwan. I already told him that I'll be sending him the "Gemo Medal" that I received while at USTDC.

I encourage you to take a look at what you have and if there's anything that you would like to see on permanent display at AIT in Taipei, just drop me an email and I'll send you LTC Ellinger's mailing address. Note: Overseas postage is NOT necessary.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Taiwan Report -- 1963-64 Version

A few days ago, someone had the winning bid on eBay for a 1963-64 edition of Taiwan Report, the brochure that was sent to American military folks being assigned to Taipei.

If the winner would be interested in sharing that brochure with the rest of us, I'd be pleased to post it here, as I did with the 1973 edition that Les Duffin was kind enough to scan and send.

If you're out there and if you're so inclined, just drop me a note at the email address at the top right of this page.

I'd also like to hear from all who have stories or photos that they'd like to share with other readers of this blog. I've been writing here for approximately twice as long as I actually spent at USTDC. Needless to say, I ran out of new things to write about some time ago. In fact, most of what's here has come from many of you. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your help in filling in so many historical blanks about the place.

Even if I didn't write another word, I guess I'd be satisfied with just leaving the blog as it is today for as many years as the good folks at Blogger will allow it. My objective from the beginning was to record at least some history of USTDC, especially from the standpoint of those who served there, and make it available to the general public. I think that in many ways that objective has been reached or exceeded.

But at the same time, I'm sure that there are still many untold stories floating around out there. How about taking a few minutes to send me yours?