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, December 31, 2011

Taipei Military Exchange

Just to show you how isolated we tape pushers were, we knew we had a microwave transmitter/receiver at the Grass Mountain site in 1968-69. We also knew of the Seven Star Microwave site north of us--hard to miss if you went to McCauley Beach.

Little did we know that there were microwave sites all over the island that Stratcom was operating. Marvin Faulkner sent photos of the Tsoying site, and now we move back to Taipei as the Vietnam War was winding down.

Sp.5, Chris Snyder, was assigned to Taipei from 1972-74. He and his wife lived in a place called Gin Town. It was located  just to the left after crossing over the bridge by the Taipei Zoo. Rent was cheap and the location was very close to what remained of the FSA  American East and West Compounds and the Club 63 (China Seas Club by then).

AFNT was still on Grass Mountain, but most communications equipment and tech personnel were located inside the downtown MAAG compound. The compound had been there for quite some time, but with other sites being mothballed, it became the center for Taipei communications along with USTDC.

Chris trained at Ft. Monmouth and his MOS was 26V20. The MAAG Compound also housed the military telephone exchange, microwave, and tech control along with other equipment.

Things changed quickly in Taipei. Chris had never heard of the Sugar Building and, Major Betty's didn't ring a bell. Maybe she was demoted and reassigned.
Map courtesy of

Here is a Taipei map with the south MAAG compound circled in green. Although a hike from East and West compounds, it is actually quite close to Taipei Air Station.

Expand this excellent shot of the MAAG Compound building with the microwave tower to the left. The dish was pointed toward Grass Mountain. Only four people worked the day shift and two at night. 

The military telephone exchange was staffed by ROC locals 24/7. The STRATCOM sign can be seen at the base of the tower.

Looking from a different angle, you can see how compact the building was considering all that was in it. Since Chris was here from 1972-74, you can see how the end of the Vietnam War was also the end of a large military presence in Taipei.

Here is Chris with Mr. Lo, one of the nationals who worked for Stratcom. You can see the letters for Stratcom behind them. Hoops anyone?

Inside the compound is a spirited volletball game between the TME microwavers and the MPs. The outcome is unknown, but the MPs are the tall guys.

Inside, we see some of the microwave equipment. The clock has a large Z for zulu time. Similar equipment can be seen on this blog's 10/21/2010 Gold Mountain posting.

This photo was described as a battery backup for the TME site.

This photo shows a temporary microwave setup to give ability to remove old Collins microwave and replace with a new Motorola.

There is an inside joke here. Chris said the winner was SFC Oshiro, the Site Chief.

A promotion to SP.5 (E-5) is being enjoyed both by Chris and his wife, Fae. By now all the ranks and unit patches were camouflaged.

 His group may have been the last Stratcom presence in Taipei.  Very shortly after Chris' tour was over, the USACC was in charge of communications.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Funeral In Kaohsiung

You never knew what unique experiences you were going to encounter during your tour of duty in Taiwan.

A former soldier, who has contributed to this blog before, sent some shots he took of a Kaohsiung funeral.

Apparently, the more well-off financially you were at death, the more fancy your funeral would be.

There are also other shots from around the Kaohsiung and Tsoying area.

All pictures were taken and presented for posting by M. Faulkner. 

The funeral procession as seen from a room at the First Hotel in Kaohsiung.

Wreaths stand outside a building. Whether they are to be transported or whether this is their destination isn't known.

This appears to be near the water.

Looking across a lake, you can see some pagodas.

This is some sort of youth athletic event.

Nothing beats a bicycle if you're a kid.

Construction going on here 

A Kaohsiung neighborhood after a storm

A cement factory

Monday, October 24, 2011

360 Degree Presents, Taipei, Taiwan, 1969

Not until we arrived back home, did we realize just how many gifts we had bought for friends and relatives. As the years passed, many of these gifts found their way back to us.

Some we still have, but many items such as lamps and carved figures have long since been discarded.

There were two jewelry boxes bought for our fathers. This one cracked as the teak wood dried out.

Most wooden gifts were bought in the area south of the East Compound where many merchants had galleries of things for sale.

When it came to jewelry, there were so many places to choose from that we eventually decided that buying at the PX would probably insure quality as well as a reasonable price.

We didn't want to mess this up as earrings were bought for our mothers and grandmothers.

One grandmother actually took her set to a jeweler to have it appraised.

After we arrived home, she told us the appraised value and that we shouldn't have spent that much money on her!  

What if we had bought them on Haggler's Row? I don't believe she would have called us cheap.

Eventually, all the pairs of earrings ended up back with us.

These two wall hangings were for another grandmother.

She received many comments and compliments on the variety of jade and other stones.

The black lacquer frames have faded with time.

So, today, you can see one of the jewelry boxes. All the pairs of earrings sent are in it. 

The wall hangings are in our bedroom and the scale of the objects can be easily seen.

Funny how so many gifts, given, made their way back to us.

Update:  After this posting, my wife found this old boy at the end of a closet shelf in a box titled "cups and saucers." 

Update 2012:  Well, we just seem to keep finding these remembrances. My wife bought this apron at the Officers Wives' Shop in the West Compound in 1969.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Always Read The Fine Print

We never fully read our lease. I'm sure our landlord did. We just paid the rent on time, took good care of the place, and vacated on time.

The next renters happened to be a young Air Force couple. He didn't think that working at Shu Linkou Air Station was going to be a problem living so far away.

Apparently a bus collected airmen from the Yangmingshan area and made its way to Linkou.

One last thing---did you guys who were living in Tien Mou or downtown Taipei without the Army's knowledge or blessing still pay your monthly fees to the Grass Mountain barrracks' houseboy?

The Chinese copy we had was in among other files. It was used in a business law class for over 2 decades as a teaching tool.  Reading the details of a contract was the point.

Until this came back to the housing office in the West Compound, we stayed at the King's Hotel.

This was as far as we got when reading the lease.

And so on . . .

Ad Nauseum . . .

I would have signed 50 copies that day. Until our furniture arrived we slept on the floor and listened to the radio.

A cab ride up the mountain to our apartment using the meter was about $1.50 my memory says.

Until found in our scrapbook, the Chinese copy of the lease we thought was gone. Then it popped up among some files.

Any expired contracts are usually not kept around. Fortunately, this one was.

It would have helped if this had been attached.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Apartment, Then And Now, Taipei, Taiwan

Thanks to LTC Scott Ellinger, pictures of our old apartment show what a real change took place in our complex over a 40+ year time period.

The area was fairly new back then, but each place was apparently converted into an individually owned apartment.

Photo courtesy of  09/15/2010

This declassified 1969 satellite photo shows the DaHeng Road area circled in blue.

Our old apartment on the third floor as it appeared when we moved in during the late summer of 1968.

Photo courtesy of LTC Scott Ellinger

Today, our old place is the apartment on floor three.

The apartment on the first floor would flood at its side door entrance. The owner obviously added a front entrance.

Photo courtesy of LTC Scott Ellinger

At the bottom right is a 1974 satellite picture of our road and apartment location. A current Google Earth photo shows the same area as it appears today.

Left photo courtesy of LTC Scott Ellinger

We all seem to like then and now pictures of buildings and places in Taiwan which are still standing. This is 1968 versus 2011.

Monday, September 26, 2011

1961 Taiwan Telephone Book

LTC Scott Ellinger again has provided some very interesting material. It is the 1961 Taiwan military telephone book, and it is extensive.

NOTE: Drop me an e-mail and you'll be sent the 2 PDF Adobe files containing the 111 page book.

This Taipei map isn't to scale, but it shows locations that may not have been on later maps.

Some of the pages were scanned just to identify the locations covered.

MAAG, USTDC and every branch of the U.S. military and every location on the island where a telephone was located is included.

From the kitchen to the commanding officer, you will find a number where they could be reached.

It's impressive how, in 15 years, the U.S. presence in Taiwan had grown and just how thorough the landline connections were throughout the island.

. . . From here to there . . .

Some are universal military abbreviations, and some are unique to Taiwan.