Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Taiwan Blog Award 2011

Many thanks to all the readers of this blog who took the time to cast votes in Taiwanderful's 2011 Taiwan Best Blog Awards competition.  For the second year in a row, the USTDC blog won the popular vote in its category and, for the first time, also won the "Peer Judged" category that's voted on by other Taiwan bloggers.

I made fewer blog entries this year, mostly because my wife and I had a very busy year, including our move to a new place.  Things are beginning to return to what passes for normal around here and I'll try to do better in 2012.

This blog has always focused on the personal experiences of those who served in and around USTDC from 1955 to 1979.  I felt it was important to record those memories so that today's youngsters might have a better understanding of who we were and what we did.  I could sure use your help in accomplishing that goal. Though your family members may sometimes tire of hearing your old "war stories" about your time in the Taipei area, I promise that I will not.  Please take a few minutes to jot down those memories and e-mail them to me to share with other readers.  The e-mail address is near the top and bottom of the column to your right.  Be sure to let me know if I may publish your name along with your comments.  If you have any photos of those days, please attach them to your message as well.

I want to wish a very happy new year to my readers here in the States, those in Taiwan, and all those around the world.  I am deeply grateful for each and every one of you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Still Searching for Connie's Dad

The last post I made here was a couple of months ago when I wrote about Connie, the daughter of a Taiwanese lady and an American serviceman, and of her search for her birth father.  She is fairly sure that her dad was in the Navy.

I withheld a little information in that first post that I'm releasing here today.  I'm hopeful that these additional clues might help.

  • Connie was born in Kaohsiung in January, 1967.
  • Her mother's name was Sally.
As I said in my earlier post, I have photographs of Sally and the American serviceman but I won't publish those.  Everything I know about this case is contained in these two posts.  If you or anyone you know has any idea who this guy might be, I'll be happy to discuss it privately.  Just e-mail me at the address shown in the column to your right.

As I said earlier, I have no intention of invading anyone's privacy but if there's any chance that this gentleman would like to reach out to his daughter after all these years, I'm certainly willing to help.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Know Connie?

Connie is the daughter of an American serviceman and a woman from Taiwan. Here is her story:
"I was doing some research and found your USTDC website.   I was hoping that you may be able to shed some light as to how I can go about finding my biological father who was stationed in Taiwan from 1966-67 (?).   I am trying anything I can to get some answers.  Would you know of any way that I can [find the names of people] deployed in Taiwan during that time?
It is extremely difficult since I do not have his name, nor do I know if he was in the Navy or Air force, but I am guessing Navy. The only thing I have is a photograph of him.  He knew of my existence and he was the one that gave me my name, but that's all I know about him. 
This story just breaks my heart.  My own father died when I was a child and I know how hard that was.  How much harder it must be to not even know your own father's name nor much of anything else about him. I've read about American servicemen who returned to the States with the intention of returning to Taiwan, but circumstances made that impossible. I recall at least one case where an individual did return but, despite his best effort, he was unable to locate his Taiwan family ever again. Perhaps her father was like one of those.

I'm not posting this story to create problems for anyone, but rather in the hope that Connie's dad has always wondered about her and would like to make contact with her while there is still time. Many years have passed since she was born and I think that reaching out to her is something that I personally would want to do, though I know that some might not feel that way.

These photographs show Connie as a child. I also have photos of her mother and father but will not post them here for privacy reasons.  I can tell you that they lived well south of Taipei.  If you think you may be her dad, and if you would like to open a dialogue with her, please send me an email and we can discuss it further.

Friday, September 30, 2011

1960s "Taiwan Report" Download Available

If you would like to have the complete "Taiwan Report" from the 1960s that I posted here a few days ago, you can download a PDF file by clicking HERE.   You will need Adobe Reader to open the file.  If you don't already have Adobe Reader, or a similar program, you can download a free copy HERE (You may want to un-check the McAfee box on the download page, unless you want to have your PC scanned.)

The Taiwan Report file is really big (close to 70 MB) and may take several minutes to download, depending on your connection. Maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to produce a more compact version.

*** UPDATE ***

I also uploaded the full 111 page "Taiwan Report" from 1973, published about ten years after the one mentioned above.  It is also about 70 MB and you can download it at THIS LINK.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

R&R in Taipei

Thanks to Bill T. for sending me this 1967 news article:

At dawn and around dusk every day for weeks, two big Pan-American World Airways planes have been arriving at Taipei Airport, bringing war weary United States Servicemen from Vietnam.

After a quick passage through Chinese customs and immigration, the Americans board military buses and speed to Taipei.  In the city, at a military reception area called the Sea Dragon Club, they get a brief talk on local customs, exchange some United States dollars for local currency and disperse to hotels of their choice.

Thereafter they are on their own in this city of 1.5 million for five days of rest and recreation.  R and R, as it has come to be called, at a destination of his choice outside of Vietnam has become a perquisite of every American military man in Vietnam once during his tour there.

When Americans in groups from Vietnam complete their five days they assemble again at the Sea Dragon Club for the trip back to the war.

From a small beginning two years ago, the program has grown to a total of some 5,000 Americans every month, a figure that reflects not only the American military build-up in Vietnam but also the growing popularity of Taipei as a leave city.

It now ranks third, just behind Bangkok and Honolulu, as a center for Americans in Vietnam.  They like it because it has good hotel and recreation facilities, the people are friendly, the climate is cool, the shopping is reasonably good and the post exchanges offer most of the facilities a soldier wishes for.

The Americans from Vietnam do much of their buying at post exchanges, but it is estimated each man spends an average of an additional $185, a figure that gives Nationalist China a monthly income of about one million dollars from the military visitors at the present rate of arrivals.

The program here is part of the American presence on Taiwan, which grows steadily despite the tapering off of United States military aid to Nationalist China and the decline in American military advisers and aid specialists.

Because of the war, there is also a major logistical operation at the Ching Chuan Kang air base, some 200 miles south of here.  C.C.K., as the base is called, has become the biggest permanent United States military installation on Taiwan, with more than 4,000 men.

Transport planes and storage facilities provide air logistical support to United States military units throughout the Western Pacific area.

There are no United States combat units on Taiwan, but the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group, and the Taiwan Defense Command, a United States planning and housekeeping agency, account for about 9,000 Americans.

Some 13,000 American military men and their dependents and civilian Americans and their dependents in United States Government and private employment, account for an American community that has grown to roughly 27,000.

Most are concentrated in Taipei, and the outlook here is for still further growth.  Housing is being prepared for approximately 250 wives and other dependents of civilians engaged in the economic aid and rehabilitation program in Vietnam.

Taiwan is regarded as a friendly haven in which families barred from living in Vietnam can locate near enough to permit occasional reunions.

Already the Taipei American School, with an enrollment of more than 2,000, is the largest of its kind overseas and seems destined to grow.  Four other schools here and at cities farther south take in more than a thousand additional American youngsters.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taiwan Report - 1960s (Chapter 12)

This is the final chapter of the Taiwan Report from the 1960s period.  It's titled "Miscellaneous" and it covers a variety of topics that were not addressed previously.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taiwan Report - 1960s (Chapter 11)

Chapter 11 discusses the household help ("servants," as they're called here) that many of us hired during our time in Taiwan.  These included amahs (housekeepers), cooks, yardboys, houseboys, drivers or some combination of these.  Prices were reasonable and I think most of us were pleased with the work they did.

As I've mentioned several times previously, I lived in the FASD hostel that was located right next to the east compound so my needs were pretty simple.  I just needed someone to keep things spruced up and to keep an eye on the place when I was away.  There were several men who worked as houseboys there and each had his own set of rooms to maintain.  My guy made the bed, shined my shoes, dusted, swept, mopped and just generally tidied the place up every day.  He also replaced my drinking water jug when it was empty and did my laundry, but I paid extra for those things.

One morning while at work, I realized that I'd neglected to pick up a fairly substantial amount of money that was on the table in my room.  I hurried back during my lunch hour and found my room neat and clean as usual, and the pile of cash was sorted according to denomination and neatly stacked on the table.  I never worried about the safety of my possessions after that.

My next door neighbor at the hostel was an Air Force master sergeant who was very fastidious about his room.  I think he only hired a houseboy because it was sort of expected of us.  Anyway, he used to sort his bottles and cans of deodorant, soap, shampoo, aftershave, etc. on his vanity, with the tallest container to the left and the shortest to the right.  When he returned home from work he found them reversed, with the shortest to the left and the tallest to the right.  He and his houseboy played this game for several days before he finally made it clear how he wanted them arranged.  I thought it was hilarious and I have no doubt that wherever he is today, he still arranges his containers by height, left to right.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Taiwan Report - 1960s (Chapter 10)

Chapter ten discusses purchasing and preparing food, as well as tips on eating at local restaurants during the 1960s.  It also talks about the importance of drinking only water that had been properly treated.  When I was there in the 1970s, we drank only bottled water.  I did brush my teeth with tap water but never had a problem while I was there.

Food poisoning was not uncommon, even among those who had been stationed in Taiwan for extended periods.  I wrote earlier about a visit to Snake Alley with my friends Pete and his wife Peggy and several other folks.  Peggy was the only one in the group to eat  boiled squid in one of the restaurants and she paid a pretty severe price for a couple of days or so.

But for the most part, just using a little common sense allowed you to enjoy most anything without suffering any serious consequences.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blog Problem

I was able to find and insert some code that eliminated the dreaded light box image viewing, so now you can just click on any image to see a larger version just as you've been able to in the past.  If you click on the image once, you'll see a slightly larger version.  If you then click on that version, you'll see an even larger version.  I hope that this resolves the problem permanently.

Thanks for your patience.



I'm going to be out of town for a couple of days and will resume posting the 1960s era Taiwan Report when I return.  In the meantime, feel free to add comments to the USTDC Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Taiwan Report - 1960s (Chapter 8)

BOT Housing Preservation Effort

Jenny Lee wrote:

Dear All USTDC fellows:

Tomorrow, there will be a second time of Yangminshan USTDC housing historical factor review.  Please try your best to assist us to achieve the goal of "appointing" these houses as a "Whole and Original" National Historical Eco Village.  Please do post a message [on Youtube] after you view the film and pass the link to  friends.