USASTRATCOM

This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Did You Ever Rub The Buddha's Belly? Taipei, Taiwan, 1966-72

Outside the East Compound in downtown Taipei, a turn to the south would reveal a row of shops whose merchants sold various local products such as jewelry, carvings, pottery and metal merchandise. 

This picture was taken across the street from the beginning of the shopping district which ran almost the entire length of Chung Shan North Road to the Min Quan Road intersection.


 Photo by G. Frederic, circa 1965-66; courtesy of dawgflight.com  

Before the onslaught of Americans, this area was a quaint and simple section of the area as it appeared around 1966.


The reason this photo was taken was to show the guy on R and R with his escort in the far distance.  Any other shops and people in the frame are strictly accidental. 



 Photo by Carpenter; courtesy of dawgflight.com   

Walking south on Chung Shan are two Airmen crossing what would later become a widened Min Tsu Road East.  The foot traffic has picked up because of the year (1970-71). 


Photo by Donald Patrick, 1967; courtesy of taipeiairstation.blogspot.com

Blow this photo up and there, across Chung Shan North Road, Section 3, you will be able to see the Buddha standing in front of George Tailor and Handicraft.  

The Buddha statue made his daily appearance in the afternoon on bright and sunny days.  

Photo by Larry Tinker; courtesy of linkounavytaiwan.wordpress.com

Ron Rasmussen and Larry Tinker are about to rub the belly of the nearly 5 foot tall favorite symbol of the culture.  

Daily, hundreds of folks rubbed his belly for good luck and a good time.

Photo by R. Lentz; courtesy of dawgflight.com

Looking so happy, as usual, the Buddha was easily positioned for the crowds to enjoy.


Photo by Peter Schow in 1973; courtesy of taipeiairstation.blogspot.com

If you look closely, the entire area has changed as the Americans began to depart from Taiwan en masse as our involvement in the Vietnam War was declining.  

The key to this picture is that "K Shoes" with its DuPont Corfam shoes seems to be replaced by a store selling Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars.


Photo from buddhagardenstatues.com    

Have you ever spent an afternoon looking for a duplicate to a Buddha statue?  I did and this is as close as could be found to Taipei's.  

It is meant for placement in any outdoor or indoor area. 


Photo from lotussculpture.com

Here is a teak Buddha which is as close as I could get to our unique downtown statue. 

Photo from eBay.com  

If you can find a shop that sells them, this t-shirt is something many of us would gladly wear with a feeling of nostalgia. 
 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WW1-- Camp Gordon, Chamblee, GA

If you look at the pictures in the right column of this blog, you'll notice that I was at Ft. Gordon for both Basic and AIT Signal School training. I really liked the place. Now I'm back, sort of.

There are two important facts which took me weeks to realize about Camp Gordon in WW1. First is the location. Second is the base hospital.

Camp Gordon was actually built in 1917, in fewer than 6 months, on about 2 thousand acres in Chamblee, GA, which is located in DeKalb County. 


Map from Atlanta Metro County Maps   

Notice how close DeKalb County is to Atlanta. Where is Chamblee?

It's purpose was to train thousands of patriotic Georgians in the basics of infantry combat.  

A Veteran's Admin. hospital was eventually built in Atlanta before WW11, so, the cities of Atlanta and Chamblee are used interchangeably when referring to the Camp in WW1. Confusing. 

Today, Chamblee is surrounded by the city of Atlanta, but is still an independent community.
  
Camps, as compared to forts, are generally thought of as temporary Army establishments which will be of no use once an objective has been achieved such as the end of a war. 

Most of the pictures for this post are postcards which were mostly found on eBay.  All are public domain, but some of the pictures will be identified individually.


Photo from eBay.com  

The picture is blurry, but the city of Chamblee is stated as the home of Camp Gordon during WW1.  

It wasn't very big, but its purpose was narrow--to train infantrymen for battle. 

Check out the preparation of soldiers-to-be by clicking HERE

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Camp Gordon was named after Major General John Brown Gordon of the Confederate Army. 

John Gordon would later become a member of the United States Senate and the Governor of Georgia.

Photos from georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu and atlantahistorycenter.com

Not all barracks and other cantonment buildings were constructed exactly the same from fort to fort and camp to camp.  

Once the blueprints had been approved, the entire Camp Gordon was built by local contractors using local materials.  

Here, again, is the word cantonment which referred to any building constructed within the border of any military establishment.  

Now, we'll add that cantonment also meant temporary.



Photo from eBay.com  

This is a well preserved picture of the mess hall. What, no Louisiana Hot Sauce?



Photos from eBay.com and georgiainfo.galiileo.usg.edu

Postcards were a big deal during 1917-18.  Some of the cards you see were actually painted or printed on linen, initially.

Other cards were watercolors on black and white photos, made to look like the real thing. 

Regardless, wouldn't mothers be comforted knowing their sons had such fine uniforms and modern accommodations.


Photos from cardcow.com and eBay.com
  
So, here's what several million dollars bought in 1917.



Photo from eBay.com  

The number of buildings constructed was in the hundreds; the number of soldiers trained was in the thousands.

Photos from eBay.com  

The picture at the lower right shows up in many WW1 photo collections. 

The idea of an armored 3-wheeled motorcycle must have seemed ahead of its time, and dangerous.

-
Photo from playle.com

The attractive top card gives information about a cantonment barracks.  

The bottom card shows a more realistic and less idealistic view of a barracks.


Photo from eBay.com

Imagine how these young guys felt. The South was mainly agrarian, with few areas being industrialized.

So, from the farms and other rural areas the volunteers and draftees arrived to a way of life very foreign to them.

For some it was initially a great adventure which would be over shortly. 

The movie Gallipoli showed the change in attitudes among young Australians as they encountered the Turks. Click right HERE


Photo from eBay.tv  

The card with the airplane shows how relatively small Camp Gordon was. 

The main reason it was chosen was its proximity to railroad tracks and Atlanta.


Photo from globalgayz.com

Welcome to Army life.

Photo from libraryhistorybuff.blogspot.com  

Tolstoy's War and Peace was probably not on the shelves of this library.

Photo from atlantatimemachine.com 

There was Base Hospital # 43 inside Camp Gordon in 1917-18. It was spartan as to heat, water, and food.

It was a cantonment hospital. Wounded soldiers and those with venereal diseases were brought there for treatment.


Photo from georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu    

So, this is part of the basic training received by the soldiers at Camp Gordon.  

Little did they know that the bayonets would be necessary.


Photo from georgianinfo.galileo.usg.edu   


There was some artillery training at the camp, but for most of the trainees, it was learning Army life and training with a rifle.



Photo from wherehonorisdue.wordpress.com  

Yes, you are seeing African-American troops gathered at Camp Gordon.  Free men for over 50 years, young African-American men were subject to the draft. 


Photo from wherehonorisdue.wordpress.com   


Imagine how these guys felt having been ordered to report to the Army and then segregated because of their color.


Photo from wherehonorisdue.wordpress.com    


Although drafted, African-Americans were not allowed to participate in combat.  

They were sent to Camp Jackson, South Carolina for basic training and then assigned to non-combat duties.



Photo from wherehonorisdue.wordpress.com   


Many of our African-American troops were close enough to the front that severe injuries were often incurred.  



Photo from georgia.galileo.usg.edu       

One of the Divisions created at Camp Gordon during WWI was the All-American 82nd Infantry.  

Disbanded after the war, it was re-created during WWII as the 82nd Airborne Division. 


 



Photo from hndb.org   

After the war was over, Camp Gordon released thousands of soldiers from active duty until 1919. The need for the camp was over.


Photo from hndb.org.    

Once the camp was considered unnecessary, it was subject to salvage and disbanded by 1921.

The memorial to it is presently located at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport, the site of old Camp Gordon.


Photo from hndb.org   

Presently, the marker is near another plaque. During WW11, a Naval Air Station was built on this site.



 Today, the Dekalb Peachtree Airport stands in the middle of what once was Camp Gordon.
Photo from georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu 

A stab at nostalgia here as two generations overlap. 

A Civil War cavalry officer overlooks the troops at Camp Gordon preparing for an overseas war.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

WW1 Allies, Divisions, Ranks, Insignias, Devices, Maps, Charts, Heroes

These black and white pages are all public domain and are free materials from Ancestry.com

Page from 1917 US Army Manual

There is a new word that appears frequently. For now, cantonment refers to any building inside a US Military  installation.

Page from 1917 US Army Manual  

From General to Private, we have a listing of ranks. The enlisted stripes and rockers has certainly changed.



Page from 1917 US Army Manual


Page from 1917 US Army Manual


Page from WW1 US Army Signal Corps Manual 

Ranks of the Signal Corps Soldiers.


Devices page from US Army 1917 Manual


Devices page from 1917 US Army Manual


Page from 1917 US Army Manual

Notice how many Divisions had draftees as a major source of manpower.


Chart from freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com  

For those of us interested in WW1 Military Divisions, here is a pretty comprehensive  collection.


Chart from freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com  

Revived WW1  and new WW11 Divisions are shown; some of which remain today.


Chart from freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com


All of these countries were Allies? Never knew.
Pie chart from en.Wikipedia.org

The U.S. entered the war about halfway through 1917 and fought until the Armistice on November 11, 1918.
Pie chart from en.Wikipedia.org



Poster from authentichistory.com


Chart from nuttyhistory.com


Map from en.wikipedia.org


Picture from en.wikipedia.org

This is the famous sharpshooter, SGT Alvin C. York.

His fame grew even more legendary when Gary Cooper starred as Sergeant York in a movie.

Photo from mexicoarmando.com  

Not taken as a joke, this picture only emphasizes the brutal nature of poisonous gases used in this war. 

From teargas to chlorine to mustard gases, no one was spared, not even the livestock.  

Gas masks were standard equipment, but since time was so important, many horses and mules died more quickly than the troops.


 Photo from freepages.genealoggy.rootsweb.ancestry.com

You can imagine how many horses, mules and other animals were killed and injured during the war.

Yes, this is a veterinary ambulance.


Photo from pinterest.com 



For the most part, troop transports were not allowed to have windshields.

Photo from en.wikipedia.org


From Columbus, Ohio, the American fighter pilot who shot down 26 planes, Eddie Rickenbacker was our Ace pilot. 

The Allies needed a hero to take some publicity away from the German hero.



Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Yes, this is THE RED BARONManfred von Richthofen began as a fighter pilot in 1915 and had 80 planes shot down until his death in 1918.

He is still considered the greatest war pilot ever. His legend grew even greater, strangely, as the foe of Snoopy in the Charles Schultz comic strip Peanuts.

There was even a hit son called Snoopy vs. The Red Baron.  To hear it, CLICK HERE 


Photo from pinterest.com




Photo of National WWl Museum, Kansas City, MO


Photo of National WWl Memorial, Washington, D.C.




              Photo of National WWI Memorial, Washington, D.C.