Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GRC-US Authorities on Taiwan - 1974

I recently received a very helpful document from old friend Les Duffin.  Here's what he had to say about it:

"Among the phone books gathering dust in a box in my basement was this interesting document I'd long since forgotten.  It's basically a protocol list produced by TDC showing key U.S. and Chinese officials as of October 1974.  The U.S. authorities beginning on page 11 include sections for the embassy, TDC, MAAG, 327th Air Division and other units."

I really appreciate Les taking the time to scan and forward this document.  There are a lot of names I recognize but a few unfamiliar ones who apparently arrived after I left in August of 1974.

Click on THIS LINK to download the GRC-US Authorities on Taiwan document.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Historic Preservation of BOT Housing

Kent Mathieu (Taipei Air Station Blog), John Crum (Taipei Signal Army Blog) and I are trying to help a group of folks in the Taipei area who are in the process of preserving and restoring a number of the old Bank of Taiwan (BOT) housing units that were home to many American military families from the 1950s through the 1970s.  Kent has summarized the request by the preservationists and explains how many of you may be able to help them in this effort.

Their idea was to repair and restore these old homes to a semblance of their original condition, maintaining the landscape, foliage and openness of the area.  The area would become a protected “Historical Village” where visitors could see the homes as they looked during the period the US Military resided in them.

These homes are unique.  They were designed and constructed with the idea in mind of replicating a typical home found in  US sub-divisions in the 1950s.  Since our departure in 1979, many of these homes have fallen into disrepair.  Some of them have already been brought back to life.

The courts in Taipei have asked for certain information showing who lived in these homes.  It has been 33 years since these homes were occupied; many folks from Taiwan have forgotten who lived in them.  Can you please help us?   If you resided in any of the homes maintained by the Bank of Taiwan (BOT,)  please send us your information as shown in the document below.  Please E-mail your information to:

The compiled listing will be furnished to the court to confirm that US personnel did live in these homes through the years.  This is a very important, key document, in the effort to save these homes from being destroyed.  Please take a few moments to send your information to Kent.  Everyone associated with the project appreciates your help.  Kent will update as this project proceeds.

You can see what information the courts have asked for, as seen below, in this document.

The Subject line of this Document (In Chinese) reads as follows – Loosely translated:  Data Records from the Taipei City Government, Cultural Department, regarding American Military and Families etc..........

The Headings of the Columns on the Form – loosely translated:
  • House Number
  • Resident Name and Information
  • Residing (Yes) or (No)
  • Length of Stay
  • Remarks
Please forward your information as shown below:

F203      Martin, Jack  Col USA  MAAG  Yes   1965-1968        No remarks

Please help us with this, if we can furnish enough information, some of the homes will probably be saved.  Our presence in Taiwan will be remembered by those citizens of Taiwan who have no idea we were ever there.  I get mail off and on from college students at NTU who discovered that some of the buildings at the National Taiwan University once housed the US Military.  They had no idea!  

Let us hear from you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

BOT Housing Question

I've written several pieces about the Bank of Taiwan housing that was constructed to house American military families.  If you're interested in reading any of those, just enter "BOT housing" in the search box in the right-hand column.

I know that the Bank of Taiwan was the ROC agency chosen to build and run the housing areas, but I'm wondering who paid for all that construction.  Did the BOT pay for the construction or were United States funds used?  If you have personal knowledge of this subject, or any written documentation, I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Taipei Map ca. 1959

Stev Pitchford sent me a copy of the maps of Taipei and Taiwan that he was given upon his arrival at USTDC in 1959.  As always, you can click on either image to view it in its full size.

I've noticed on this and other maps that there were several foreign embassies shown in the area of the compounds.   I was unaware of any of them when I was there during 1973-74, not that I would have had any direct dealings with them anyway.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Roster of Taiwan Veterans

Old friend Kent, over at the Taipei Air Station blog, is assembling a listing of all Taiwan veterans.  The listing contains names, locations, year(s) of assignment and current e-mail addresses.  He has already added a few names from the guestbook at his website.

If you'd like to be included, just drop Kent a note at with the above information.  The listing will be updated weekly and will be posted at this link.

At last, there will be one central location for looking up old friends you made during your tour in Taiwan.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Special Forces in Taiwan

Taiwan Scott sent me this photo, along with a page from the 1972 American newspaper in which the photo appeared.

"GREEN BERETS IN TAIWAN -- U.S. Army Special Forces "A Team" poses in front of a Chinese temple in a village in southern Taiwan recently.  The Okinawa-based Green Berets came to Taiwan for a joint Chinese-U.S. disaster relief exercise in a remote mountain valley on the island.  Green Beret veterans from Vietnam have built bridges and laid water lines in cooperation with Nationalist Chinese troops."

******  ADDED ON 3/2/2012  ******

This photo was probably taken on the same day as the above photo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Army Master Sergeant Peter M. Ayling

It seems that I'm losing a lot of old friends these days, some of whom I haven't seen in decades.  I recently learned of another one, an old friend from the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.

I knew Pete Ayling at USTDC and I wrote a couple of pieces about him back in 2007, one HERE and another one HERE.  Pete was definitely one of the good guys.  He worked with another friend of mine, Air Force Master Sergeant Larry Sherman, up in J-2.

We all experience life but Pete seemed to devour it.  I don't think I ever saw him saunter anywhere; it just wasn't his style.  I thought I was a pretty fair racquetball player when I arrived in town but I quickly learned that he was a whole lot better.  He was an expert at placing the ball wherever I didn't happen to be at the time and his "dink" shots to the corners were impossible to return.

I remember that Pete and his family didn't live in the American housing areas, choosing instead to experience the culture of Taiwan.  Most of his kids' friends were Chinese and he used to joke that his youngest daughter sometimes refused to speak English.  I can still picture him grinning as he said that and I know he was very proud of his family.

Pete always "knew a guy."  If you were looking for furniture, jade jewelry or anything else in Taipei, he always knew where you should go for the best quality and lowest price and would probably offer to drive you there at breakneck speed in his Volkswagen bus.

I'm not surprised to learn that he had a good life and I'm saddened that he's no longer with us.  Here's his obituary from 2009:

Retired Army Master Sgt. Peter M. Ayling
Sept. 2, 1935 - Feb. 6, 2009
Retired Army Master Sgt. Peter M. Ayling, 73, of Sierra Vista, Ariz., passed away Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. He had been a resident of Sierra Vista for 27 years.
Pete was born Sept. 2, 1935, to George and Anna (Doughtery) Ayling in Philadelphia, Pa.  A decorated U.S. Army veteran, with two tours of duty in Vietnam, he retired as a master sergeant in 1982 from Fort Huachuca.  Pete continued to serve his country after his military career with a 20-year career in civil service, working with foreign military students.  He traveled much of the globe throughout his life and has friends worldwide.  Pete enjoyed sports and was an avid racquetball player with countless tournament wins in the U.S. and overseas. He was actively involved with the local community to include coaching Little League and refereeing youth soccer.
Pete is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Margaret Ayling; three daughters, Robin, Kimberly and Paige; one son, Pete; one granddaughter, Ashley; one great-granddaughter, Julissa; four sisters, Ann, Evelyn, Claire, Ginny; and four brothers, Clifford, Philip, Nelson and Alan.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Lorraine and June.
A graveside service with military honors will be Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009, at 2 p.m. at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1300 Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Peter and Margaret's name to the American Cancer Society Memorials, c/o Dorothy Kervahn, 1936 Windsor Drive, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-4876.