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.

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, militarytimes.com. 

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

This one should expand.

2 comments:

  1. The flooding in Taipei caused by Typhoon Elaine.
    http://www.cnavista.com.tw/shop/Stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Store_Id=103&Shopper_Id=74173121&page_id=23&Cat_id=%BB%E4%AD%B7%20%A4%D1%A8a%20%A4%F4%A8a%20%A8a%B1%A1%20%B9D%B8%F4%20%A8a%AE%60%B7l%A5%A2%20%A8%AE%BD%F8&IndexNo=19681001000100

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whatever you say, Victor. You have lost me. John

    ReplyDelete