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, December 18, 2012

Going To Grass Mountain, 1957-58, Taipei Taiwan

The transmitter site where Tom Jones worked was directly connected to the Sugar Building by cable. A receiver site on Grass Mountain was also in the mix in 1957. This post contains some unique photos of the Yangmingshan area.

In addition, we have some communications basics on signal transmission in the 1950s and later. Taiwan came a long way in a short time to become current with available technology. The Signal Corps led the way. 

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Winding its way northward is Chung Shan North Road  from downtown Taipei to Grass Mountain and other areas.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

This picture wasn't going to be included, but the Taiwanese who commented on it seemed fascinated.

They argued among themselves as to whether this picture was taken in Shilin near Chiang Kai-shek's residence, or whether it just had something to do with Double Ten Day.

Again, we're leaning on Kent Mathieu of, who visited President Chiang's Shilin residence in 2010. View Kent's beautiful posting by clicking HERE.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Although beautiful in the distance, the two lane paved road to Grass Mountain could be hazardous. Not only were guard rails missing, but overhead road lights were non-existent when Tom took this picture.

Shortly after we arrived in 1968, Taiwanese laborers hand-dug a trench all the way from Taipei up the mountain to President Chiang's summer residence. Electrical lines were buried after being connected to vapor lights.
Photo by Gary Wilson; Courtesy of

This photo has been used before in another post, but it shows exactly how the road to Grass Mountain was so treacherous at times.

With corkscrew turns and no lights illuminating the road, an overcrowded bus was a prime candidate for an accident. 

Here is a cut and paste picture of the Grass Mountain work site in 1969.  Whether it was the receiver site that Tom used is not known. 

In fact, it is not known to me when the Grass Mountain, Gold Mountain JOSS, and Seven Star facilities were constructed. 
Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger

When the Army began its long-term commitment to Taiwan during the Korean War and afterward, facilities such as the Seven Star Microwave site were being constructed in several places in Taiwan. 

Since this was an Army undertaking, it was under the authority and control of MAAG-Taiwan..  As can be seen, the front of Seven Star in this picture indicates it was a "Scatter Station." To see what that means, click HERE.

From what I've read, STARCOM Army communications was a network of interconnected teletype sites around the world. The Seven Star Scatter Station shown in the picture above was not yet part of a satellite network in the 1950s  when Tom Jones' detachment was in Taiwan. Please correct me as I'm guessing, as usual.

The escalation of the Vietnam War resulted in the mass addition of satellite send/receive stations under the USASTRATCOM banner. STARCOM was not able to keep up with the volume of messages being sent around the world via the scatter system..  

If you folks in your 60s and older ever watched The Big Picture military television show, you might be familiar with the segment we are showing. Thanks go to Army LTC Scott Ellinger who provided it. The section about Taiwan begins around minute 21. To view, just click HERE. For those of you who understand communications, this short spot about Taiwan will make sense. 

Look at the lower left part of this picture and you can see Scott Ellinger's black and white photo directly above. This picture was taken in 1969, when Seven Star was part of USASTRATCOM. This is the header photo for this blog.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

With water flowing down a ditch, this picture was taken long before anyone had an idea of straightening the road to President Chiang's summer residence.

The scene should look familiar to all of the hundreds of guys who made their way north to the hostel.
Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Our blog has many pictures of this building and the many uses it has had over the last two centuries. 

When Tom Jones and his detachment went up the road to see it, the hostel shown was officially known as Hostel #3.  Military men were living there.

Hostels #1and #2 were outside the East Compound in Taipei.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Tom assures us that somewhere in the background is the hostel and its surroundings.

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Initially, my thoughts were that this might be a hotel in Pei Tou (Beitou) since the open sulphur spring has a decent sized building in the background. 

Our blog auditor provided a literal translation and the building is not a hotel nor is it in Beitou.  It was probably near the hostel and it says "Chiang Kai-shek Long Life Hall." 

Photo courtesy of Tom Jones

Anyone who lived in the hostel on Grass Mountain knew that the village of Beitou was not too far away.  It looks pretty lush doesn't it?

This picture shows the beautiful Hushan Road which ran from near the hostel to the village of Beitou.  It was still an attractive road in 1968 as it had many turns with stunning views. 

Today, the road has been straightened and is still attractive, but somewhere much of the ambiance has been lost.


  1. Reader Victor, Non-AuditorDecember 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    The CKS Long Life Hall is nearby the Chung Shan Hall(Sun Yat-Sen Hall中山樓) on Yangmingshan. Please see the fourth picture in the following website.

  2. Victor,

    And here I am trying to hide your anonymous position in the blog and you downplay your importance. Could you send me the website above in an e-mail.