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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grass Mountain Hostel, Taipei,Taiwan

When the Japanese occupied Taiwan from 1895-1945, they built many resorts for their leisure. And they built the hostel in Yangmingshan to last. 

During the American presence it was called the Grass Mountain Hostel. Either way, imagine the many thousands who have used it over the centuries.

The whole complex now has nothing to do with being a place to live and sleep for travelers and service people.

According to the literature, since 1981, it has been known as the Taipei Teachers' In-Service Education Center. It's considered to be in the Beitou (Pei Tou) District of Taipei although it's just off YangMing Road.

There are many people who, through their pictures and individual efforts, have made this post possible. My contribution was to assemble these people's bodies of work and put them in some semblance of order.

The first person to thank is fellow blogger, Don Wiggins of ustdc.blogspot. If he hadn't posted references to the hostel in May 12, 2008 and July 18, 2008, that would have been it. Stev Pitchford is the first person to post photos in 2008.

His permission to use them was crucial. Then, Victor W. Cheng is to thank for contacting Miss Liangcw to gain permission to use her photos from her blog. Of course, a big thanks goes to Miss Liang for taking and posting her pictures. And then, there's Andy Savin, my friend.

With that, then, here is the Grass Mountain Hostel as it was then and now. 
To give some reference to the site, I chose DaHeng Road where our apartment was. About .25 miles north of it, the district and road name change. It's still a steep climb.
To the left is the turnoff which takes you on the back road to Pei Tou. Many GIs were familiar with this route where hotels and hot springs awaited. For those interested, it's now called YangTou Road.

Continuing through the village, we are almost there.
Here is the entrance to the education center.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

This statue stands just outside the entrance.

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford

This October, 1959 picture posted May 12, 2008 on ustdc.blogspot shows the hostel as many of us remember it.

Quite alone by itself, it housed many Stratcom Army personnel in 1968-69. The sulphur bath is to the left.
Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

Taken from a similar angle as the previous picture, the main entrance to the education center is shown in October, 2007. The landscaping is not the only thing that changed.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

The entrance was not this inviting in 1968.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

Moss often adds character.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

The windows, eaves, soffit and fascia are well preserved.

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford

Here is the hostel in 1959 from another angle.
This photo is from the Yangmingshan National Park collection.  Hopefully this reference link will do. I tried to e-mail them to get permission to use this picture, but was unable to submit my request.

Since It is so similar to the previous picture the hope is that YMSNP will approve of its use on this blog. Otherwise, this picture will come down.

Photo by L. Andrew Savin Jr., August of 1969

Your host of this blog is shown here at the Grass Mountain Hostel's sulphur bath. About two minutes after Andy took this photo, I was under a shower, trying to remove as much of the sulphur smell as possible.

The presence of sulphur in Yangmingshan was so pervasive that it would make the chrome bumpers of our car rust.

With a large parking lot in front  it, the old hostel can be plainly seen. Surrounded by large complex, the building is just part of of a sizable teacher education center. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Yangmingshan Apartment, Taipei, Taiwan, 1968-69

There was fresh air, lower heat and humidity, cool winters and views that were sometimes astounding.

Having an apartment within the Grass Mountain community was a treat. There weren't that many of them available.

We latched onto a broker who showed us ours and the deal was approved by the housing authority in the West Compound.

We moved into the place in August of 1968, and left in August of 1969.

Sometimes a good picture is accidentally taken. Given that our camera was a fixed-lense Kodak, this picture still looks good. Here you see the DaHeng Road community in Yangmingshan.

Taken from the main road going to the Grass Mountain work site, this photo is one of my favorites. Our apartment building is the one that is the third one from the far left end.

With the help of Google Earth, this is the best picture that could be gotten from the new road. The DaHeng Road community is still visible.

Most of the good views were in the 1960s, when the roads were shaky and the peril was greater.

Guess which apartment was ours?

LTC Scott Ellinger took the time to shoot this photo in 2011. Our old apartment is the black one on the third floor with the closed-in balcony.

LTC Ellinger also used a little photo magic to place then and now pictures side-by-side.

Here is the view from our balcony at the end of DaHeng Road, looking toward the main road.

Back in 1968-69, many military families lived here as well as diplomats and the staff from AFNT after it relocated to Yangmingshan. 

A gate protects DaHeng Road today. 
Our old apartment is not in view. 

Mr. Chen again provides an excellent photo of the DaHeng Road community. The apartment would be to the left of this picture.

There weren't too many multi-story buildings here during our tour of duty.

It took some doing when first trying to find the place. Our lease read "Ta Heng Road." Fooling around with the spelling finally got this view.

Frankly we were surprised that the apartments were still standing. The electrical, water, plumbing and sewage methods were pretty basic.

The Landis Resort is just north of the entrance to DaHeng.

Initially, the incorrect apartment building was circled.

We then found some other pictures which confirmed the exact building.

There is a huge drop-off behind the apartment complex. A large ceramic pipe was used to gather all the water and sewage coming from the complex and deposit it over and down the hill.

The light green house across from us had a huge circular concrete drive with a fountain in the middle and a well-manicured golf hole.

To give you some perspective of where we lived  relative to the Yangmingshan community, look about .5 miles north to the former Grass Mountain Hostel.

Just .3 miles south of us is the main entrance to the Chinese Culture University.

Back in 1968, it was the Chinese Culture College, and it was a relatively small commuter school. The buses ran on time.

Again, there is a straight line from DaHeng Road to the Grass Mountain work site. The line is .7 miles long.

To drive this distance would be about 1.5 miles

Monday, September 6, 2010

SCM Kleinschmidt At Grass Mountain Taipei, Taiwan

Joining some military related groups sometimes opens doors. My thanks to the Yahoo group, Commcenter-1 which had some photos of equipment which looked really familiar. 

We actually used much of this equipment at Grass Mountain DCS Major Tape Relay in Taipei, Taiwan in 1968-69.

Lip service is paid to Mr. Boudot, who invented the original code in the 1790s. However, when comparing this code card with other codes, it's letter punches are identical to the simplified code New Zealander Donald Murray invented in 1901. Thanks to phulamer for including this card in his Phu Lam collection.

This 1968 Kleinschmidt catalog page displays much of the teletype equipment SCM/Kleinschmidt offered. Thanks to D. Nelson for this one.

Photo from D. Nelson of Nha Trang tape relay or possibly Phu Lam

This is a great picture of a transmitter bank. At 100 wpm, these read stations were an always-busy part of any tape relay. 

Not sure of the year, but it looks as though it could have been the late 60s in South Vietnam.
Photo from phulamer

Now, this is a major tape relay send bank at Phu Lam South Vietnam in 1969. Notice the message "trees" in which torn tape messages to be sent were inserted. Atop each "tree" was a routing indicator which had a card printed with the exact location the message would be sent.

Most messages were "Routine", while others were "Priority." Then came "Immediate", and finally the "stop everything and send this"  "Flash" message. 

Messages were placed on the tree in order of sending importance from low to high. Flash messages were logged in and sent as fast as possible.

Just to give you a comparison, our RUAG send relay bank in Taipei, Taiwan had about 8 transmitters with a couple of spares. We never sent or received any message which was designated any higher than "SECRET."

Photo from phulamer

On the right are torn tape receive banks at Phu Lam. Incoming messages were read by the specialist to determine the destination. 

Then, the soldier then would look for the NNNN at the end of the message. 

This meant to tear it off, log it in, and turn around and place it in the send tree. This became second nature after awhile.

The main thing was not to put the message on the wrong tree and not to run out of tape. At the back of this picture is a station where tapes could be corrected.

This picture of Asmara shows a tape relay center laid out almost exactly as ours in Taipei, Taiwan. This is Asmara tape relay in Africa. On the far right are the receive banks.

In the middle are the send banks. On the far left are the monitor reels which made a copy of all messages sent. In the foreground is an area which may have been used to correct rejected messages.

In all these photos, I check the floors since ours in Taipei, Taiwan were white with flecks. Every night they were scrubbed, waxed and polished. Thanks to D. Nelson for this one.  
Photo from Fynisdbiddle

This final tape relay photo collage was taken at Taegu South Korea. It shows most of what one would find at a major tape relay center.

Photo from duncanancy

For those out there who know the equipment and nomenclature, here is a bunch of it from the AWA Museum in Bloomfield, New York.

Photo from duncanancy

More equipment from AWA Museum, Bloomfield, NY

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teletype Art Grass Mountain Taipei, Taiwan

An e-mail from my first Stratcom contact opened up memories that had been buried. Teletype art usually began to arrive around the end-of-year holidays.

Since our Univac 1004 had been installed long before December of 1968, we were able to receive this art quickly. Sending or printing it was another story.

Our machines only had a top speed of 100 wpm, and some of these mailings took seemingly forever to print or send on to our Air Force locations.

Here are a few one-page samples. You may want to stand back from your monitor to get a better look at them. Thanks go to which has over 260 documents in its collection. Some go way beyond wishing someone a happy holiday. 

This would be the typical Christmas greeting which usually had the point of origin. Seldom were they signed.

Abe Lincoln may not be looking too crisp. Clicking on this one shows that his profile is composed from all the words in his Gettysburg Address. Very creative and unique, don't you agree?

Stan Laurel

Oliver Hardy


Alfred E. Neuman-- --What, me worry?

Brigette Bardot

Thanks go out to Gary Roske from Tech Control on this one. Unfortunately, the bottom two-thirds had to be deleted. Can't get by those censors!