Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Patricia Linder

Patricia Linder, wife of the late Rear Admiral James Linder, recently notified me that her website now includes several photographs of her recent trip to Taipei.  As I wrote earlier, she spoke at the opening of the American Footsteps in Taiwan exhibit there.

The website also includes video of her television interview in Taipei, during which she discussed many of her Taiwan experiences during 1977 to 1979 when her husband was the Commander of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.  Her website is at

I've long recommended her book "The Lady and the Tiger" which is available at Amazon for about US$20.00.  Not only did I find it an interesting and entertaining read, but historically significant as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1953 Flooding of MAAG Compound

I decided to take a "sabbatical from sabbatical" because of material sent my way from old friend Sarj Bloom.  These images of flooding after a 1953 typhoon are all in the archives of the ROC Government Information Office and can be found at this link.

What makes these of interest to regular readers of this blog is that they show the west compound (the Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) compound) in 1953.

The first photo appears to have been taken at the entrance to the west compound (facing out and to the northeast).   In the distance, to the left of the picture, you can see the roof of what appears to be the Story House, which is still there today.  I originally thought it might have been taken from the east compound, but I now think the angle of the Story House indicates otherwise.  All opposing views are welcome in the comments section.
I believe the next picture is facing outward from inside the west compound entrance toward Chung Shan North Road.
This picture was taken outside the MAAG compound entrance, where crews appear to be pumping water out of the compound.  Note the building slightly to the left in the distance.  It appears in the next photo as well.

This photo was taken further inside the gate, probably about where the chapel eventually stood to the left.  If you look straight ahead, you'll recognize that same cement sign that has shown up in many photographs of the west compound on this blog.  I believe the building to the left of that sign was the hospital in those days.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reflections and Wanderings and Taking a Breather

I've been writing this blog since 2007 and, like most bloggers, I run out of new material from time to time.  It seems like those dry spells have been happening more frequently in recent months.  I used to worry about it, but then I reminded myself that the whole purpose of this effort was to assemble as much of the history of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command as I could find, since there wasn't much of it available elsewhere.  I feel like I have accomplished most of what I hoped to do and I'm okay with that.

So if you don't see a lot of updates to this blog going forward, don't assume that I've given up on it.  Whenever I come across something interesting, I'll write about it.  For example, I submitted a FOIA request to the Naval Historian's office several months ago and maybe one day they'll get around to responding.  If they ever do so, I'll pass along whatever I receive.

In the meantime, I'll be trying to figure out a way to make all the information contained here a little easier to sort through.  The advantage of having a blog format is that readers have an opportunity to comment on each topic as it is written.  The disadvantage is that there has been a lot of information posted here since 2007 and there's no easy way to find what you're looking for.  I must confess that even I lose track of where things are sometimes.  I'll probably begin by taking a look at the tags for all entries, since there's now a hodgepodge of topics, many of which aren't very useful at all.  I have a couple of other ideas as well which I'll be exploring in the days ahead.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the other outstanding resources available to Taiwan veterans.  The first one I found before I ever started the blog was the website dedicated to the 6987th Security Group at Shu Linkou.  As you scroll down their main page, you'll find well-organized links in various topic areas, all of which contain many photographs.  The site is updated frequently and is a treasure trove of memories.  I'm often amazed at the sheer volume of information they've assembled.

I also heartily recommend the Taipei Air Station blog, which recently has focused on Taipei as it exists today.  It's a great resource for us "old timers" to see how much things have changed.  I always find it interesting (and maybe a little depressing sometimes) as I am reminded of the years that have passed since I was stationed in Taipei and all the changes that have taken place.

The same author maintains the Taipei Air Station website, which was actually the predecessor to his blog.  It also is a goldmine of information and photos.  I should mention that both of his sites cover far more than just Taipei Air Station.  You can find historical information about the Taipei area as well as other U.S. military units that were in Taiwan.  Please note that Kent is organizing another trip for veterans to visit Taiwan for a few days during November 2011.  I'm sure that he'd be pleased to add your name to the list.

Finally, I want to thank each and every one of the more than 63,000 visitors to the USTDC blog for dropping by here every now and then.  I especially want to thank the many folks who have contributed so much here.  I don't want to risk offending anyone by inadvertently omitting a name, but you all know who you are.  This blog would have died long ago if not for you.  It has been a tremendous pleasure corresponding with each and every one of you.  I have made many good friends here and I am most grateful for the opportunity.

May the good people of Taiwan continue to enjoy a lasting peace and the freedom to determine their own destiny.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Canal

Back in 2008, Sarj Bloom submitted several photographs that he took during Typhoon Gloria in 1963.

He just sent me some more information that he's discovered using Google Earth:

While looking for the Canal that ran north and south east of TDC I remembered that one of the photos I took of Typhoon Gloria '63 was taken looking north towards the east of TDC. See location photo from Google Earth.
A friend of mine told me that the Canal is still there it just runs under the new raised highway. Sure enough I even confirmed it with a Google Earth photo of the water under the Highway.
Anyway I got my photo out and then tried to match it the best I could looking North from the new Highway that goes over the Canal.

Both photos are looking north and you can see the mountains that run behind Club 63 and the Grand Hotel. I think I got the approximate position on Google Earth to represent my photo.
I was a few blocks north of Nanjing E. Rd. or what we called Nan King E. Rd. Our intention was to walk to TDC that day but had to turn around because of the canal overflowing the road, as you can see in the 1963 photo if you look up near the trucks. Also you can see the canal on the right is hardly in it's banks.
That had to be a lot of heavy construction to contain that canal and then build a raised highway over it. Most of all, look at all the big buildings that have been constructed since those days. 

Amazing what time can do.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kind Words

Every now and then I receive an email that just makes my day.  This very nice note from Mr Qian S T was one of those.

I am a foreign Chinese and a frequent traveler to Taiwan in the 70s. 
I write to submit my humble thanks to you people for the enormous contribution and personal sacrifice you all made to underwrite and bolster democratic rule for the Chinese race, without which the entire Chinese race would have long since been subjugated under godless tyranny of the Chicoms. My profound gratitude.  

And thanks for the great nostalgic fotos of Taipei in the 60s-70s

Long Live America. Truly you guys live up to your credo:  Land of the Free and Brave.  

Your courage, conviction and sacrifice has changed the face of this Earth for the better.  Without you guys Earth would have developed into a nightmarish vision of one-third USSR, one-third Nazi Reich and one-third Japanese Empire.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Linders Depart Taipei

On April 28, 1979, Rear Admiral and Mrs. Linder departed Taipei following the closure of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.  I believe that the officer to the left of RADM Linder is LCDR  Skip Wright, the admiral's aide at USTDC.

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger