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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Horizontal Rain And Typhoon Elaine, 1968

All of us have been caught in a rainstorm and have gotten soaked. However, most of us are used to gravity when it comes to rain. It falls down.

In Taiwan, we were introduced to rainstorms in which heavy winds drove the rain sideways.  We had these snappy looking blue raincoats which we thought we wouldn't wear much.

Then came the rainy season of 1968 and we began to appreciate these uniform savers. Maybe the legs on our pants were saturated, but the rest of our uniform was spared.

This was the case with Typhoon Elaine which never threatened Taiwan. Living in Florida for a few years now, we realize that being on the right side of a hurricane or tropical storm is where the heaviest downpours occur most often.

Typhoon Elaine passed to the left of the island and blew itself out on the mainland. However, the sudden and overwhelming monsoon rain caught us unprepared. The bulk of the damage came over a two-day period. The cleanup lasted months.

Pacific Stars and Stripes, October, 1968

The faucet was turned on quickly starting September 30, 1968. It was over the next day. We certainly knew it was raining fiercely, but didn't know the extent of the flooding down in Taipei.

Then, guys starting coming into work, saying they had been picked up by 2 1/2 ton trucks which ascended the narrow back road to Grass Mountain.

We on Grass Mountain stayed on the hill until it was clear that the tunnel containing the telephone lines wouldn't have to be pumped in order for Gold Mountain to stay up and running.

Back at our apartment, my wife and I stuffed rags and paper towels beneath the bottoms of the doors as the wind was forcing the downpour under any gaps.


This caption belongs to the photo in the upper left. Taipei American School took a hard hit and the students, parents and the American community all came together to keep the school functioning.

To see the school in snapshots and film from the 1970s, click HERE.

Map of Elaine from Digital Typhoon

All but the northern Philippines was spared from typhoon winds. Fortunately most of the country was to the left of the eye. The typhoon lasted about a week, from beginning to end.

Since the main road to the Grass Mountain facility was closed due to mudslides, we took the back road to and from work for about a week.

This was my introduction to the "H" Housing BOT area, shown here on either side of the yellow line.

Almost every home you see with a gray roof had books opened face-up in their driveways, drying slowly, using sun and wind.

There were apartment buildings near the end of Jianye Road. Several Stratcom families lived there.

Since I had a car, it was my pleasure to take some of them home from work. The apartments were located near the movie theater and snack bar/bowling alley.


The US military was heavily involved in this recovery effort. This commendation was found in the website, 

The news of this award was not given much, if any, publicity at that time.

This one should expand.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby, Tampa Bay Area, Florida, 2012

This post may be interesting in itself. Its contents couldn't be more timely.

The next posting will be about a tropical storm from 1968 in Taipei.

Map from Tampa Bay Times, June 26, 2012

For my wife and me, this was a refresher course as to how much rain a tropical storm can dump in such a short time.

After less than 24 hours, the storm had deposited about 11 inches of rain at our county airport.

By the next day most of what you'll see in these pictures was absorbed by our sandy soil.

This was our neighbor's front and side yards. Notice the water level on the condenser.

Our neighbor's back yard

Those bushes you see are on our property.

That white chair is propping our patio door open. This we hadn't planned on!

We had our little submersible pump working. Here, the water level is creeping toward the sliding door which leads to our bedroom.

Fortunately, that's as close as it got. Shortly after this picture was taken, the rain let up significantly.

Photo from Tampa Bay Times, June 26, 2012

This picture was taken in a mobile home park community about 10 miles south of us.

These two men are doing everything we are told not to do when there is a flood.

First, the water probably contains raw sewage. Secondly, there may be downed power lines nearby. Finally, we have a lot of poisonous snakes that love high water.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

USASTRATCOM Near Shu Linkou Air Station, 1967-68

The longer this blog continues, the more I'm convinced that there were more Army Signal Corps soldiers stationed throughout Taiwan than I ever imagined. 

We who trained at Fort Gordon, GA were the telephone operators, pole climbers, tape and card pushers, among some of the specialities. 

Do your job and ask no questions unless the need to know arises. That seemed to be the sentiment.

The guys who knew the "big picture" of how communications actually worked in Taiwan were those who trained at Fort Monmouth, NJ. 

They trained as tech controllers and microwave specialists, among the skills. 

Somehow, signals got on and off the island and the Signal Corps was there to do it.  Microwave sites were all over the place. 

Grass Mountain and Seven Star were important links, but nobody yet has written to explain just how all communications were coordinated.

Anyone knowing the complex threads of transmission in Taiwan, please fill us in.

With this post, we have pictures from Mike Aschoff who was a microwave maintenance and repair specialist at a place very near Shu Linkou Air Station. 

He lived initially at the hostel outside the East Compound and was transported to and from work by military drivers. What a commute!.

Mike indicated that the shifts at the center consisted of 3 or 4 workers, but it had to be manned  around the clock.

This is the USASTRATCOM communications center and  tower located very near Shu Linkou. 

Not many soldiers worked there, but it certainly was crucial that it functioned well or we lost our connection. 

Would this place look familiar to the Air Force men who worked at Linkou?

Inside this complex were the machines necessary for microwave signals to be sent and received. 

We did not even think about taking pictures of our teletype equipment even though we may have been given permission. 

As far as I know, nobody took interior shots at Grass Mountain. 

Gary Roske has previously shown interior pictures at Gold Mountain.

From pictures sent from other STRATCOM microwave and tech control specialists, this seems like standard equipment. 

Above, we are looking at Mike's STRATCOM ID badge which was very snazzy  compared to what we bought at the PX.  I believe most Stratcom folks bought them.

The unique part of this picture is the blue badge beneath Mike's.  It belonged to Mike's wife who, after graduating from college, worked for the Chinese Navy. 

Many of us enjoy looking at photos of cars from the 1960s.  This is from the Christmas season of 1967, probably taken from the commissary steps. 

Looking across Chung Shan North Road outside the East Compound is a banner.

It says "HEDSUPPACT TAIPEI." Most of us know it better as the West Compound.

This was Navy terminology. Later it came under the control of USTDC around 1959 according to Kent Mathieu's post on the history of the Air Force in Taiwan.

Check it out by clicking  here and look for HEDSUPPACT on December 7, 1962.

Does anyone know where this is in Taipei?

This photo has to be in Shimending, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

China Post Candids, 1967-68

The China Post was and still is an English language newspaper published in Taiwan.

It can be read daily online at Just scroll down the column on the right.

Mike Aschoff was gracious enough to share some pages from the 1967 and 1968 China Post  candid photos section.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grass Mountain Hostel, Taipei, Taiwan, 1956

Our recent posting about the Taiwan Sugar Corporation and its Yangmingshan building brought several comments.

Kent Mathieu, who runs, sent a link to a posting he had done on September 10, 2008.

An Army Signal Corps soldier, assigned to MAAG in Taipei, sent Kent some pictures he had taken of his stay at the Grass Mountain Hostel in Yangmingshan.

This posting was familiar to me as I had read all of Kent's and Don Wiggins'  ( posts as a prelude to starting the TaipeiSignalArrmy blog in August of 2010.

Since my work station and apartment were both on Grass Mountain, I had taken a great interest in the area during our time there. Now my interest lies even deeper.

So, here are some pictures of Grass Mountain in 1956 from George Marcy. It is fortunate we have them as George and his friend were soon assigned to Kinmen and Matsu, respectively.

The first picture, however, is the CAT plane which brought him to Taipei. The Webmaster at and I have developed a place in our hearts as well as our pages of all things CAT.

So, all pictures are courtesy of George Marcy. The entire posting can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Thanks for the reminder, Kent. Funny, but 2008 seems so long ago when reading your and Don's total body of work.

Imagine how young, naive and trusting we were boarding a plane like this and fully expecting it to land on a dime at its destination.

This photo is of some historical significance as it is the only picture of the entrance to the Grass Mountain Hostel  I've ever seen.

Many men lived there during the 1950s. Is this what you remember?

Look carefully and you'll see a guard shack in the distance as well as a banner in Mandarin. The entrance must be directly to the left by the guard house.

The canopy of trees and the graded road certainly show the hostel's isolation.

I don't know if this was the entrance to the hostel itself, or the entrance to the sulphur bath nearby.

It was Hostel #1 when we were around in the late 1960s, but is Hostel #12 here.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Same Building, Different Decades, Yangmingshan, Taipei, Taiwan

Thanks to LTC Scott Ellinger and fellow Taiwan military bloggers, Don Wiggins and Kent Mathieu, I've received much in the way of pictures and stories that have provided material for postings.

Here, we have a building which has served many purposes and is still functioning as part of a complex of buildings.

Information for part of the history of the sugar industry in Taiwan came from:

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger

Japan began its occupation of Taiwan around 1895. Shortly afterward, in 1900,  the Taiwan Sugar Company was established in Tokyo. It was not a monopoly as several other corporations built sugar factories in Taiwan.

By 1923, there were 44 modern sugar factories, and over 100 converted or old-style factories in Taiwan.  Truthfully, there wasn't much competition.

The southern area was the first and most productive sugar producing region. Specifically, the regions near Kaohsiung and Taichung were fertile and also provided access for shipment of this precious commodity.

As WWII ground on, the land used for producing sugar was turned into rice paddies. This eventually led to the decline of sugar as a major export commodity.

The building above was built by the Taiwan Sugar Company in the Yangmingshan area north of Taipei.

When it was constructed is unknown, but notice the automobile which might put this picture in the 1920s, possibly a decade later.  The sulphur bath building is off to the left.

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger; post 02/21/2012

This 1931 photo of the Taiwan Sugar Company building indicates an outward status quo by the Japanese. It would continue that way until 1945 when WWII ended.

But it wasn't until 1952 that the Japanese relinquished all rights to Taiwanese property. By then, the ROC had become fully entrenched.

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford: USTDC posts 05/12/2008, 02/21/2012

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford: 05/12/2008, 02/21/2012

After WWII, the ROC eventually relocated to Taiwan after the PRC took control of the Chinese mainland.

As a major supporter of the ROC, the U.S..Armed Forces and dependents began to be assigned to Taiwan in large numbers.

The old Sugar Building was converted to barracks for servicemen who lived there from the 1950s until around 1972.

It was also used as a traveler's hostel occasionally. In fact, it was referred to as Hostel #1.

Photo courtesy of Yangmingshan National Park Collection

Photo courtesy of Liangcw-blog

Since 1981, the former Sugar Building/Hostel #1 is part of a multi-building complex known as The Taipei Teachers' In-Service Education Center.

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger

Recently, Army LTC Scott Ellinger took a trip to Yangmingshan and shot the above photo in color and matched it, according to distance and angle, to the first picture in this post.

According to Victor W. Cheng's comment, the earliest the botttom picture could have been taken was in the early 1930s.