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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last Guy Out, Please Turn Off The Lights

There were always some special soldiers you would meet during your time in Taiwan. For me there were many. Unfortunately, for us, Bill Kling hadn't arrived yet.

We didn't know much about Taiwan's history before we arrived. In fact, most of us just felt fortunate in being assigned to Taipei.

That being said, the prevailing sentiment seemed to be that we would seriously do our job, never purposely let anyone down, and head for CONUS as soon as our tour was over.

Of course, others would follow. We were in Taiwan during the peak of the Vietnam War. What would happen to the place in the following years was not a big concern to most of us, I imagine.

It was a big concern for men like Bill Kling and thousands of others who experienced the mothballing of tons and tons of equipment and the gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces and equipment from Taiwan. By then, Stratcom was on the way out and USACC took over the mission.

In addition, American service people had to deal with the October 25,1971 United Nations recognition of Communist China (PRC) as the representative to the United Nations. The United States officially recognized the PRC on January 1, 1979. Relations with Taiwan became strained.

Many of Bill's thoughts on his experiences in Southeast Asia during the 1970's can be read on Don Wiggins'

Specifically, you might want to read the posts on February 17, 2008; March 4, 2008; February 17, 2009; February 20, 2010 and March 18, 2010. You'll be surprised at what went on in Taiwan.

As part of his tour, Bill spent time on the Grass Mountain facility as well as much of downtown Taipei. He sent a very interesting e-mail in September of 2010 after this blog got started.

With Bill's permission, we will be including some of his thoughts on his experiences. He is being too modest on what he accomplished.

I also worked in Tech Control in Phu Lam (South Vietnam).  As a tech controller who worked at Grass Mountain from 1973-75 and again from January 1977-March 1979, your blog taught me some things, reminded me of others, and gave me a good reference to compare "then and now" type pictures. 

Also, while there, I had to prepare a daily report and send it to DCA PAC daily by making a tape.  I never realized that once tape was a big deal.  By the way, on my first day I was sent around the site by trick chief to find a Chad Counter!

First of all, I got there in May of 1973 and never knew there was a tape relay on the Grass Mountain site.  A friend, Nolan Briggs, got on site in March 1972 and said it had just been taken out before he arrived. I was trying to figure where the equipment was and the only place I picture was opposite the DC section (TTY orderwires) back against the wall?

I wonder if you knew Joe Peredo, Ed Templeman, or Tom Lassek... all controllers there during the early 1970s. 

During my time there, the doors to your barracks were locked.  There was no day room, nor was there a barber.  Single guys lived in the hostel outside the (East) Compound where the PX was located. 

The Mess (on Grass Mountain) was run by a guy named Wong with a waiter named Jones. It seems we all ate breakfast of noodles, fried rice and apple pie. We didn't like anything else. Unless you were on shift you didn't eat there.

Guys came to work by either driving or taking the shuttle from Stratcom HQ in the (East) Compound with a few stops in Tien Mou on the way up the hill.

We worked 4 days on and 3 days off until Vietnam was over in mid-1975.  We then worked 5 on and 2 off, with, of course, CQ duty thrown in once in awhile. 

Thinking back, there may have been a hostel on Grass Mountain (not at the site), but I don't think many guys stayed there as it was so far to downtown Taipei.  I had some married friends who lived in BOT housing on Grass Mountain. 

I didn't know there was a water purification station there.  I went to Tien Mou by the bowling alley, or the compound by TDC to get water. 

...forgot the basketball courts/tennis courts were there.....don't think we had any equipment....remember we used to get golf clubs from Special Services and go to Shu Linkou to play. 

Many of us took University of Maryland courses in Taipei either in the compound or at Taipei American School.  Actually I got my degree that way.

The radio station, AFNT, was on Grass Mountain.  We used to go down to the snack bar and then the radio station to hang out.  I don't think that was very far from your apartment. 

We had sports teams such as softball, bowling, etc. 

I also came to Taipei in January 1971 from Vietnam on R & R.  My last trip in 2003, I got to go past the (Grass Mountain) site, but was not allowed in.  Also visited what was left of Shu Linkou, TME, and MAAG HQ. 

The 63 Club is now the American a tour....much different from the one I remember.  I saw the new Taipei American is on the property in Tien Mou where I lived in BOT housing near the snack bar. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again to Victor Cheng for his corrections. My ego is strong enough to withstand all of my mistakes.John