Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mrs. Linder at Quarters A -- Then and Now

As I wrote a few days ago, Patricia Linder, the wife of Rear Admiral James Linder recently returned to Taipei for a few days.  While there, she visited what used to be "Quarters A," the official residence of the USTDC Commander.

Scott just sent me these photos that were taken more than 30 years apart at the front gate to the residence.

Monday, December 27, 2010

West Compound 1958

Here's another clip from 1958 showing the dispensary in the west compound.  Click HERE to watch the short video.  Notice the sign in this photo from the clip.  It was straight ahead from the west compound entrance and near the back of the compound.  It displayed different things over the years, but the sign itself remained, probably until the compounds were destroyed.

That brings up another question that I've had for some time.  Does anyone happen to know when the east and west compounds, along with the USTDC building, were demolished?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Red Cross at MAAG Compound in 1958

Scott Ellinger alerted me to a great commercial website for historical videos. It's at and they offer thousands of old government films. All of the films have samples that you can view at the website.

This afternoon I found one from 1958 of the American Red Cross in Taiwan during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis.   It shows the hospital in the west compound.  A Red Cross Gray Lady comes out of the building.  She goes to the Exchange in the east compound and shops inside, apparently with a shopping list of things for people at the hospital. She pays cash at the counter, gets into a pedicab and returns to the west compound. She enters the hospital, talks to servicemen and delivers items to them. A serviceman lying in bed pays her for the cigarettes.  This is the only image I've seen of the inside of the Exchange.  Of course this was 1958 and it had probably changed some by the time I got there in the 1970s.

Click on the above image to see the video.

Back to the Old Neighborhood

Sarj Bloom recently sent me some photos that show how much his old neighborhood has changed since he lived there in the early 1960s.

This is a photo I took from the same neighborhood that I took the Opera and Story teller photos.  The first photo is of a rice field across the street during Typhoon Amy, before things got too bad to be outside. The other photo is of children and other residents at another time.

I knew it as Min Sin E. Rd. but the spelling has changed so much now.  It was hard for me to finally locate the area on Google Earth. I believe I have it now. It is Minsheng E. Rd.  I have a couple of images from Google Earth and I am pretty sure this is the same building that I lived in for a few months. I lived in the second floor apartment and another sailor lived in the 3rd floor.  The first photo is what I believe was my apartment and the second photo is looking directly across the street from there.

If indeed this is the same building and area you can see the changes that occur in almost 50 years. I'm amazed and I'm sure that some of the blog visitors from Taipei will be amazed also.

Here's a story about that day of the Typhoon. The back part of the apartment had two walls of glass panes that went from ceiling to waist high. There was a section that was about 6 feet long and then another section that went the length of kitchen, bath and water heater area which was a good 12 feet. I often thought that it was odd to have all glass and thought that maybe it was cheaper than using brick.

Anyway, during the storm my wife and I could see the long section of glass panes bowing in and out and we were afraid it would break and throw glass everywhere. We went to the front of the apartment far from the panes of glass and stayed there. Just as we got settled we heard a crash and thought our wall of glass boke. We stole a peek and saw that it wasn't ours but we heard screaming upstairs.

We went upstairs to see if we could help and sure enough their wall had given way and the Navy guy had pieces of glass sticking in his chest and stomach. He and his wife had both been drinking and didn't seem to feel any pain. I asked if I could help and he said they were okay.  I went back down to our apartment and got back in our safe zone. We could still hear the guy and his wife arguing.

We moved to another apartment soon after this.  I had never seen anything like that entire wall going in and out like it was breathing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ground Surveys from Grass Mountain -- 1958

I was recently contacted by retired Air Force Major John J. Molitaris, Jr.  John was part of a ground survey team at the top of Grass Mountain in 1958.  Here's his account of that deployment:
My experience on Grass Mountain occurred as a member of the 1370 Photo Mapping Group, home based at Palm Beach AFB, Florida.  The basic mission was to upgrade previous ground surveys conducted with tripods and sextants.
The group consisted of four (4) squadrons: (1) 1371 Sqdn – RB-50 (4-engine bomber) Operations, (2) 1372 Sqdn – Logistics Support, (3) 1373 Sqdn – Data Analysis, and (4) 1374 Sqdn – Radar Ground Stations.  I was a member of the 1374th which deployed remote ground station teams consisting an E-5/E-6 Electronic Tech Chief (3073), E-3/E-4 Electronic Tech Deputy Chief (3053), E3 thru E-5 Ground Radio Operator, and an E-3 thru E-5 Ground Power Operator/Maintenance man.  Each team member was cross trained in the other disciplines to maintain operational status in the event of illness or medical evacuation.  Survey missions involved two ground stations with a RB-50 flying between them at several altitudes.  Surveys were accomplished with the Short Range Navigation (SHORAN) radar.  Site deployments usually lasted three to six months.  I was the E-4 Electronic Tech when I deployed to the Grass Mountain site in March 1958 for three months.

Grusome-11 was housed in the wooden Formosa Government fire watcher hut located on top of Grass Mountain.  The site required portable AC/DC power generators, UHF/HF radio sets, 55 gallon barrels of drinkable water and aviation gasoline, 5 in 1 field rations and folding cots.  The only road ran beyond the Grass Mountain Hostel to an elevation of 2,500 feet (approximate).  Laborers were paid to sling all the site items on bamboo poles another 2,500 feet up a narrow trail.  The fifty (50) foot Receive/Transmit antenna mast was quite visible on clear days.

Our contingent was certainly a curiosity to the local citizens and especially the university students who hiked up to the site often.  We were able to exchange cultural facts about US and Formosa because the students spoke English reasonably well.  I still remember going outside in the mornings to see we were above the clouds and listening to the Formosa Army artillery practice echoing through the mountain ranges.

I remember the Grass Mountain Hostel well.  It was the great R & R escape from a cold hut, 5 in 1 rations, AND bathing in a dish washing tub with the cold wind blowing in around the windows.  5 in 1 rations beat out C-rations but couldn’t touch the filet mignon with eggs breakfast at the Hostel.  Those dual temperature hot sulfer tubs were the greatest once you learned how to use them.  It was embarrassing the first time when I stayed too long and my 195 pounds had to be rescued by 2-3 staff.  The only downside occurred when I and my Argus camera wandered down the road towards the mountain residence of Chiang Kai-shek.  The sudden appearance of an air-cooled 30 caliber machine gun was a heart stopper.  Grass Mountain was one of the top deployments of my enlisted service.

Unfortunately the slides I took on Grass Mountain were misplaced or lost.
John J. Molitaris, Jr.
Major, USAF (Ret.)   

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Taiwan Visit of USS Wasp in 1954

On 10 January 1954, Taiwan's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek spent more than four hours on board the USS Wasp watching simulated air war maneuvers in Formosan waters.

USS Wasp (CV-18) in 1954
 The following are Kwei family photos of that event.  Note that Vice Admiral Alfred M. Pride was Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet and became the First Commander of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.

Chiang Kai-shek is wearing the overcoat.  To his right is VADM Pride and to VADM Pride's right is GEN Kwei Yung-ching.  GEN Kwei was the Chief of the General Staff, highest ranking general below Chiang Kai-shek.
Ambassador Rankin and VADM Pride

VADM Pride and Taiwan VADM Soong

Major General Chase (MAAG Chief) and VADM Pride

Chiang Ching-kuo reviewing U.S. Marine guards aboard the USS Wasp

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FASD Hostel Opening

Today's video, courtesy of Wang Chun, shows the opening of the FASD Hostel on August 26, 1963.  I believe that this was the older of the two hostels that were there during my assignment in 1973-74.  I lived in the newer one, which was located behind this building.

The quality of these old film clips isn't good, and this one has no sound track, but I think it's important that they be available to the public for historical purposes.

Mr. Wang wrote:
Taipei FASD Hostel was built and operated by Combined Logistics Command, CLC (聯勤總部).
The Chinese general in this clip is Lai Min Tong(賴名湯). He was the commanding general of CLC then. And in the subsequent decade he became commander of Chinese Air Force and finally climed up to the top of the whole military structure. It's something like Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff in US. In Chinese, we call it 「參謀總長」.
As for the American general in this clip, I think it is Maj Gen Kenneth O. Sanborn.
After American military withdrew out of Taiwan, CLC converted FASD Hostel to a civil hostel and opened to the public. In early 1980's, I've joined a wedding banquet in former FASD Hostel restaurant which was called ''Rainbow Hall''(彩虹廳).

Monday, December 20, 2010

VADM Baumberger Addresses Taipei Rotary Club

Wang Chun has provided numerous audio and video files to this blog over the past couple of years or so.

Today's video is from July 4th, 1972.  Vice Admiral Walter H. Baumberger, USTDC Commander from August 1970 through September 1972, addresses the Taipei Rotary Club.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Footsteps in Taiwan Videos

Kent Mathieu, owner of the Taipei Air Station blog, has posted two ten-minute videos of his walk-through at the American Footsteps in Taiwan exhibition in Taipei.  You can view them HERE.

Chiang Ching-kuo

Photo courtesy of Sarj Bloom

Sarj sent me this photograph a few days ago.  He wasn't positive how he came into possession of it but he says the individual on the left is Chiang Ching-kuo, son of  Chiang Kai-shek.  The man on the right appears to be a police officer.  Does anyone have any idea who he is or where this photo was taken?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

American Footsteps in Taiwan Images

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Ellinger just sent me several great pictures of the American Footsteps in Taiwan exhibition that opened in Taipei on December 17th.  You can read about the event on the AIT website and there is a Chinese account on Yahoo News.

Patricia Linder was one of the speakers at the opening ceremony, traveling from her home here in the States for the occasion.  Her husband was Rear Admiral James Linder, the last Commander of USTDC.  I have long recommended her book "The Lady and the Tiger," an account of her experiences during their assignment in Taiwan.

Many of you will see some familiar photographs and memorabilia on display.
The USTDC emblem that was mounted on the building
Mrs Linder and President Ma
Mrs Linder addresses the audience

 The exhibition will continue through January 24th.  If you live in Taiwan, especially anywhere near Taipei, you'll certainly want to drop by the National Central Library and view this amazing collection of historical items and information.

Friday, December 17, 2010

RADM Linder Presides Over Final Retreat Ceremony

On April 26, 1979, the U.S. flag was lowered for the last time in front of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.  Rear Admiral James Linder, USTDC Commander, presided over this ceremony, just as he'd already done at other U.S. military units in Taiwan.  Marine SSG D. J. Gemmecke lowered the colors.

Shortly after the ceremony, Admiral and Mrs. Linder departed the country.
Photo courtesy of LTC Scott Ellinger
The building to the left of the flagpole was (as I recall) a Chinese military barracks.  When we raised our flag each morning, two soldiers carried their flag from that building over to the ROC flagpole that was located to the right, directly across the parking lot from the pole in this photograph.

When everyone was in place, one member of each team (the junior in rank) stepped up on his platform and hooked up his flag.  The BMC (Chief Boatswain's Mate) stood next to the bell at the TDC main entrance.  He had a radio tuned to a local station that played a series of beeps at precisely 8:00 AM.  He'd then ring the bell eight times and both flags were quickly raised.  The person who raised the flag would then step off the platform, stand beside his partner and join him in the salute.  At that point, the BMC blew his whistle three times and both teams lowered their salutes and marched back to their respective buildings.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

American Footsteps in Taiwan Exhibition

The "American Footsteps in Taiwan" exhibition will open at the National Central Library in Taipei on Friday, December 17th and continue through Monday, January 24th.  President Ma Ying-jeou will make opening remarks, as will Mr. William A. Stanton, Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).   Mrs. Patricia Linder, wife of Rear Admiral James Linder, will also speak at the opening ceremony on Friday.  Admiral Linder was the last Commander of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.

The exhibit contains information and artifacts of the American presence in Taiwan from 1950 until 1979.  Several Taiwan veterans, including readers of this blog, have provided a number of items that are on display.  LTC Scott Ellinger has worked very hard on the military cooperation section of the exhibit and has expressed his gratitude to all those who helped make it possible.

As I receive more information, videos or photographs, I'll pass them along.  A copy of the pamphlet from the exhibition appears below.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Assignment Taiwan -- 1965

This "Big Picture" documentary, produced by the U.S. Army in 1965, gives an overview of the cooperation between the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) and the Taiwan military.  The film runs about 28 minutes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Families and Memories

As regular readers know, Sarj Bloom was a photographer at USTDC during the early 1960s and has provided many great photographs and memories to this blog during the past two or three years.

He recently sent me these photos and comments and agreed to let me share them with you:

This is photo of my wife and me on the day we left Taiwan during late September or early October, 1963. We were standing outside the Omega Hotel that was located on the circle that lead to downtown. We were to leave right after this photo to catch our Ship the "General Mann" in Keelung to travel back to the States.

My wife and I are on the right and my mother-in-law, who just passed at the age of 101 last week, is on the left with her husband who passed in 1972.  In the back is her aunt and uncle and a nephew that I also knew very well. 

Maybe someone will remember the Omega Hotel. It was built around a garden and was Japanese style with tatamis, paper doors, etc.  I really like that style.

Last week Apo (Chinese for grandma) passed away at the age of 101. She was the mother of my first wife, whom I married in Taiwan in November, 1962.  She was also the grandmother of my 12 grandchildren and attended every family gathering graduation and other events.

She was born September 30, 1909. She lived in mainland China and during the Communist takeover, she and her family fled to Taiwan.  She eventually came to the States where she lived with her daughters in Maryland. She got lost so many times in the malls that we made her carry a note telling who to call.  She was generous and sometimes gave things to the kids that didn't belong to her.  We all loved her and her servant's heart. She lived as we are all called to live, thinking of others instead of ourselves.
This is a wonderful family photo of her taken with her brothers and sisters when she was a young lady.  She is in the back row on the right.  Most likely, this photo was taken in Canton Provence. 

I took this photo of her at my grandson's high school graduation in Maryland around eight years ago.

I  feel so blessed, as do my children and grandchildren, to have such a wonderful family made up of two cultures.  I don't think of it as two races. We have overcome language barriers and the younger generations now all speak English.  Even now we have one of the grandsons that can understand Hakka, an almost forgotten language of Southeast Asia.  Grandma and her children spoke this most of the time, though they could still speak Mandarin.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

List of Military Assistance Advisory Group Chiefs

Scott Ellinger has assembled the complete list of MAAG Chiefs from 1951 to 1979.  At the end of the list are photographs of all of them.

There was a brief period in 1958 when USTDC and MAAG were combined, but it was ultimately determined that this structure was neither as efficient nor as effective as two separate entities.  The Communist Chinese artillery attacks on Quemoy and Matsu during August of that year were largely responsible for the return to the former command structure.

蔡斯 MG William C. Chase: May 1951 - Jun 1955
史邁斯 MG George W. Smythe: Jun 1955 - Sep 1956
鮑恩 MG Frank S. Bowen: Sep 1956 - Jul 1958
杜安 MG L. L. Doan: Jul 1958 - Aug 1960
戴倫 MG Chester A. Dahlen: Aug 1960 - Aug 1962
桑鵬 Maj Gen Kenneth O. Sanborn: Aug 1962 - Aug 1965 
江森 MG Dwight B. Johnson: Aug 1965 - Jun 1967
戚烈拉 MG Richard G. Ciccolella: Jun 1967 - Mar 1970
泰勒 MG Livingston N. Taylor: Mar 1970 - Dec 1971
巴恩斯 MG John W. Barnes: Dec 1971 - Dec 1973
那水德 MG Slade Nash: Dec 1973 - Jun 1976
馮納准將 BG Leslie R. Forney Jr.: Jun 1976 - Sep 1977
崔仕克上校 CAPT Ace F. Trask: Dec 1977 - Jul 1978
湯普遜上校 Col Hadley N. Thompson: Jun 1978 - Feb 1979

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TDC Chief of Staff Videos

Wang Chun has provided a lot of very interesting material for the blog in the past, and he just sent me two great videos showing Brigadier General William C. Burrows' arrival and departure from Taiwan (1972 and 1974) and a video of Brigadier General Clarence J. Douglas' departure from Taiwan in August, 1972.  Both of these generals served as the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command Chief of Staff.

Because I had no other photographs of either General Burrows or General Douglas, I added these videos to the blog entry for USTDC Chiefs of Staff.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

And to my friends in Taiwan and elsewhere around the world,  感恩節快樂

T - Turkeys, tablespreads, being together,
H - Happiness and homes to protect us from all weather,
A - Aunts and uncles, a reunion in Fall,
N - Nieces and nephews, family members all!
K - Kind-hearted kin coming over for dinner,
S - Surely you'll have fun, but you won't get thinner!
G - Gourds and pumpkins, mouths open wide.
I - Indians and Pilgrims we remember with pride.
V - Very special times-there could even be snow.
I - Imagine what it was like at Plymouth long ago.
N - Never forget how the settlers led the way,
G - Giving thanks and blessing this special day.
       - Author Unknown

I hope that you can enjoy Thanksgiving in the warm company of family and friends.  Despite all of life's ups and downs, we all have much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Photos of Admirals

Sarj Bloom, who was one of the USTDC photographers, has provided many great photos for the blog during the past couple of years or so.  He recently sent me these three, which were probably taken during May of 1962.

Major General Sanborn, USTDC Chief of Staff (left) and Vice Admiral Melson, USTDC Commander (second from right).  I don't know who the ROC officers are.

Vice Admiral and Mrs. Smoot departing Taiwan

 (l to r) Vice Admiral Smoot, probably the Chief of MAAG Taiwan, and Vice Admiral Melson

Saturday, November 13, 2010

USTDC Chiefs of Staff

I recently posted the complete list of all the admirals who served as USTDC Commander.   Historically, the Air Force assigned a brigadier general as Chief of Staff to each of the USTDC Commanders.  However, the very first Chief of Staff under the first USTDC Commander was Navy Rear Admiral Charles Cochran Kirkpatrick.   RADM Frank W. Fenno had been Commander of the Formosa Liaison Center in 1955 until it was renamed USTDC .

1955 - 1956

1956 - 1957