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.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

And While You're At It, Clark, Get Yourself Somethin' REALLY Nice

If you have never seen "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" then this article below might  lead you to think that I'm a terrible cynic. This couldn't be further from the truth. I'm just a sometimes cynic.

So, please watch this clip where Cousin Eddie, Clark Griswold's penniless brother-in-law, responds when Clark volunteers to buy presents for Eddie's family. Just click HERE.

Regardless, we are a very compassionate society. Most of us realize there are people out there leading lives they never dreamed could end up so hopeless and desperate, if only for a short period of time. They need help and we are there to help them. Americans are a giving people.

At this time of year folks give food to many worthy organizations in hopes that families in need can have an excellently prepared dinner. TV stations show the preparers and recipients at a church, auditorium or some other facility. Everyone seems content and proud.especially the TV anchors.

Children especially don't know what hit them as their families are emotionally and financially clobbered by a disease, injury or other catastrophe resulting in an understandable state of confusion.. For them we provide gifts and other comforts.

Yes, we end up feeling good about ourselves and our wonderful spirit of giving. So, to show Eddie again, maybe we can provide for others throughout the year.That's the main point of this post. Again, just click THIS

So, here is the newspaper story as it appeared one day recently. Each day there is a new story published on the front page for a couple of weeks until the 25th of December.

Mansfield News Journal  December 14, 2013

Does anyone else find this unusual that these requests seem a little too specific?  Your comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is This The End Of The King's Hotel, King's Club And 77 Club Buildings In Taipei?

When I took the first two pictures shown on this post, it was near the end of August, 1969.  It was simply some shots of places we had stayed and clubs where servicemen hung out.

Kent Mathieu, fellow blogger and good friend, has again supplied me with pictures of the first two buildings as they look today.

I was surprised three years ago when this part of the Golden Intersection was still standing. You will see that the buildings continue to deteriorate and may soon become a victim of the wrecking ball.

Thanks to Kent who will certainly keep us updated as to the future of this area. 

If ever there was a landmark that everyone knew, it was the King's Hotel at the southwest corner of Chung Shan North Road and Min Chuan Roads.  

In the distance, stands the newly completed Central Hotel with the rotating restaurant at the top, shaped like a flying saucer.

There were four other hotels that would open up in about one year or less.  Goodbye to the King's Hotel and hello to a bridal palace.   

Directly west of the King's Hotel is a large building which contained the King's Club, 77 Club and an iron worker's shop.

Close to this area was the Pink Bar and Monte Carlo Club.  Foot traffic in this area was heavy.  

Taken in 2013 by Kent Mathieu, the King's Hotel is now The Best Store where all facets of bridal decor can be purchased.

This building, plus others in the area, are all wedding related.  Surprisingly, the old OK Bar and the Suzie Wong Bar sites are included in the bridal complex.  Kind of ironic, isn't it?  

Looking back and forth from this picture to the old King's Club picture and the other picture, this business with the black Chinese characters on the white background was the King's Club in 1968-1971 at least.  

Guys from the Linkou Navy would know for sure.

This is a shot Kent took from the sidewalk looking directly
to the top of the 77 Club building.

The yellow building at the far right of this picture housed the Pink Bar.

Kent took this from the alley at the end of the building containing all the clubs and iron works.  

This is looking directly east from the corner of the alley toward the intersection and the Shanghai Savings Bank on the southeast corner which was once the Majestic Hotel. 

Finally, from the same area as the above picture, Kent took this shot diagonally across the intersection to the Starbucks on the northeast corner of the intersection.  

This building was the Northwest Orient Airlines office in 1969.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Long Overdue Post For A USASTRATCOM Alum

Months ago, Charles Gove sent  us some pictures of his days in Taiwan. Charles saw much more of the island than many of us since he was stationed at Taichung from 1963-64 and then was under the USASTRATCOM command in Taipei where he worked at Seven Star microwave relay from 1964-65.  

Recently, Chuck sent updates to the picture captions, but that is secondary to the fact that he took the time to scan and send these pictures to us.  For that, we thank you, Chuck!  All photos shown belong to Charles Gove who gave us permission to publish them.  

This is the enlisted men's club in Taichung.  What the Club 36 stands for was not explained. It might be a simple reversal of the Club 63 numbers in Taipei. 

Clubs for officers and enlisted men seemed to have appeared shortly after servicemen arrived in an area.  There was even one on Matsui when Tom Jones was there in 1958.  

This is a neat banner from MAAG recognizing Charles for his service in Taichung.    

Many servicemen bought motorcycles while in Taiwan and many of them shipped them back home.  Above, Chuck is shown on his 1954 Triumph Spitfire with a screaming 650cc engine.  

He bought from an ASA member who used the money to buy a new BSA.  

Just like many other enlisted personnel, Chuck "volunteered" at an officers' club baseball game. 

 I am sure they fully appreciated his time and effort.  

The two guys on the right were leaving Taiwan.  The guy in the middle is Ron who worked at the USACC site just south of the Grass Mountain Hostel.  

This is the inside of the microwave site at Ming Chin.  Microwaves were sent to a site just north of Taichung and south to Chiayi. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ranks Of WWII Vets Continues To Decline

As the decades have passed, the number of survivors from WWII continues to dwindle. Reunions are fewer and fewer as most of these men and women are in their 90s.  

Tampa Bay Times August 27, 2013

 This obituary was submitted some months ago and is best viewed by magnifying the image.  If you take the time, you may find it as moving as I did.  

Tampa Bay Times  August 23, 20013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quemoy And Matsu, 1968-1969

When we first got our orders to report to Taiwan, many of my classmates at USASESS, Ft. Gordon, GA, had never heard of the name "Taiwan."  Some thought we were going to Thailand and others really didn't care since it was not VietNam.  

By the time the sixteen of us arrived in June of 1968, we all knew where we were going.  However, not everyone was familiar with the Nationalist Islands near the Chinese mainland.  One of us volunteered for a 12 month tour in Quemoy (Kinmen).  

Since he was married, he thought he could get back to the United States and home faster than the rest of us.  His daily duties included sending and receiving one message.  The rest of the day was not tightly scheduled.  Fortunately, he enjoyed golf and played on the nine hold course that the island provided. 

There were stories of the massive fortification of the island and a large movie theater blasted out of solid rock.  These were stories we heard, but could not verify.  

Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1969

Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1969

Previous postings on this blog followed the duty in 1957-58 of Tom Jones, who was with the Army Signal Corps.  Part of his duty was to connect the island of Matsu within and with other Nationalist possessions. 

To read and view Tom's adventures in Matsu, just click HERE.  Kent Mathieu has done a wonderful job of showing how rugged Tom and his friends had it back then.  

Perhaps our blog historian will be able to pinpoint the exact date of this incident.  The important thing to remember is that even though things seemed peaceful on the surface, there were plenty of encounters occurring  that were kept from everyone. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Up In The Morning And Off To School

Most of us looked forward to summers as a break from what we thought was a long school year.  You will see from the newspaper story below that this young kid was not only back in school, but was the only American in the classroom.  

Imagine yourself at his age in a classroom of 54 Chinese and a Chinese teacher who spoke no English.  His assignment for his time there should have been to name his classmates!  Seriously, think how this expanded his world of experiences.


Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1969

Sunday, June 23, 2013

One Less Comet In Orbit

Based on the fact that everybody has to be somewhere, a man named Marshall Lytle died recently in the county directly south of us. That, in itself, means nothing to almost everyone living in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).

However, during our lifetimes, some of us are part of an event that plugs us into a niche in world history, no matter how small of a part we played. Marshall was part of a group that made history, and lived to know it.

Marshall is shown in this stock photo at the far left, wearing glasses.

He was a stand-up bass player who was a member of a group that recorded "THE NATIONAL ANTHEM OF ROCK AND ROLL"------yes, that song is Rock Around The Clock.

Sitting in front is Bill Haley and the band was known as Bill Haley and His Comets.

Although recorded in 1954, the song became a number 1 hit in 1955 as it appeared in the movie The Blackboard Jungle.

It seems as though Bill was not very generous when it came to sharing the wealth with the band. The members stayed together for awhile, but the association with Bill was coming to an end.

Because of the little loop or spit curl of hair on the front of his head, many music insiders referred to him as "Bill Haley And His Comma."

The group's first big hit, recorded in 1954, was Shake, Rattle and Roll.

Marshall grew a mustache in an attempt to make himself look more distinguished.

Before Marshall and a few members left "The Comets" they recorded one huge hit in 1956 which is still part of our lexicon today. The song was See Ya Later Alligator. 

Somewhere along the line, Marshal was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. It's an Internet creation whose members were those who crossed over into rock music from their country music roots.

This was a decently popular record in the USA, but this Guy Mitchell song acknowledges the existence of that form of music...Rock A Billy

For us few fans of Guy Mitchell, how about this?

A few of the men who were former "Comets" reunited in the late 1980s and began touring for approximately 20 years.

Marshall Lytle is sitting second from the left in this 2005 photo.

Mr. Lytle must certainly have had assistance writing this book, but it was August of 2009.

Most reviews are positive including one by Hedley Lamarr!

It can be bought on Amazon for as little as $8.50 for a used paperback.

Three marriages, and 3 divorces--A well-balanced life.

Tampa Bay Times May 29, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

1965 Taipei Phone Book Section 1

These 2 sections of the 1965 Taipei Telephone Directory are being posted separately. Army Lieutenant Colonel Scott Ellinger found it for sale on E-Bay and scanned all 34 pages and sent them to this blog.

LTC Ellinger has been a contributor to this blog since its inception. He will be retiring shortly and we would like to acknowledge him for all of his time and effort on behalf of TSA. Without him, it's safe to say, the longevity of this blog would have been much shorter.

He personally found where we worked on Grass Mountain as well as discovering our old apartment as it appears today. One of his PowerPoint pages will be shown when we move outside Taipei City proper.

This 1965 phone book indicates that there were many more American Servicepeople and their families living in Taiwan than many of us thought. Of particular interest should be the number of families living in Tien Mou, PeiTou, Shihliin and Shantzohou (Grass Mountain).

1965 was the year in which President Johnson began the massive call up of troops for the Vietnam War.  For thousands of young men who were US citizens and at least 18 years old, a letter from your local Selective Service Draft Board might soon be in your mailbox inviting you to join the Armed Forces. "Greeting"

Being a sophomore in college that year, I'd used up 4 Student Deferments (2-S). Graduation was 1967, and being over 2 yeas away, many young guys my age were certain the war would be over.

Of course, it wasn't and that's how many of us became guests of the ROC for 15 months. The future phone books were much larger.

*Note: If any of you would like 3 razor-sharp pdf files of LTC Ellinger's phone book, just send me an e-mail. and I'll send you three.

If any of you know of the locations or points of interest of areas we don't cover in this posting and the next, please let us know.

CAT Airlines was always gracious enough to advertise in many publications.

The page number of Taipei as well as the suburbs are shown on this page

Overseas connections

Overseas connections continued . .

The next 15 telephone book pages are devoted to the intricacies of Taipei and its many sections and subsections as well as residential numbers.

The remainder of Taipei and its suburbs is continued on the next post.

1965 Taipei Phone Book Section 2

Starting with an advertisement from a local company, we continue with the 1965 Taipei Phone Book.

Does anyone need an ice cream scoop?

This is a modern map of Taipei County as well as much of Taoyuan County which is home to the new TPE International Airport, also know as Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

The airport we knew from our time in Taipei is now called Songshan Airport, located downtown.

Underlined just north of Taipei are the areas in this phone book. Shilin, Tianmu, Beitou and the general Yangmingshan area which will be covered. The Shantzehou housing area is located in the village which houses the Chinese Culture University.

Peitou is first suburb in the phone book for us. To take the 2 cent tour from Taipei to Beitou, click HERE. It has certainly had more than a face lift.

Included in the Peitou section of the phone book are more than a few phone numbers from Wellington Heights.

Our good friend, Kent Mathieu, who runs the Taipei Air Station blog, rediscovered Wellington Heights in 2011, and took some attractive pictures of the place in 2012. To connect with his posting, click HERE.

Original PowerPoint picture courtesy of LTC Scott Ellinger via Don Wiggins blog at USTDC,com

This 1969 declassified photo was examined thoroughly by LTC Ellinger. He circled not only the 4 sections of Shantzehou, but also Tien Mou housing and the Navy Hospital.

Since our blog covered the remaining 3 areas of this BOT (Bank Of Taiwan)  housing, just click on the indicated area. For Section H Housing, click HERE.

To view what remains of the Section C housing, click HERE.  Finally, we still have Section F Housing, much of which is vacant or demolished.

Check here to see it as well as plans for the future in the last map..

So far, we have come across 3 different ways to spell "Shantzehou." What was of interest on the previous page were the phone numbers for the bowling alley and movie theater in 1965. They have both been leveled, but many of us remember them well.

On the other (west) side of the road was the Grass Mountain Community Center and Teen Club.  The Teen Club address is listed as Triumph Avenue. To see how it appears today, click HERE.

Section E Housing was taken down and now houses a training facility for the Bank of Taiwan.

Tien Mou also has listed the phone numbers for its bowling alley, movie theater, swimming pool and recreation center.

Besides the usual street names and numbers, some folks lived in Happiness Village. Too cool!

This ends the pages devoted to Tien Mou. To me, my shrink wrapped attempt at displaying the pages of the phone book was lame, to be kind to myself.

REMEMBER: Send me an e-mail, and I'll send you the sharper version of this phone book in 3 pdf sections in 3 separate e-mails.

Here's one last item shown on this page. Those of us who lived and worked on Grass Mountain often referred to it as Yangmingshan. That would include directions to cab drivers around midnight in Taipei.

This area shown above under "Yangmingshan" indicates that the many apartment buildings and private houses that we saw daily in 1968 had not yet been built in 1965. The area must have gotten very busy very quickly to house so many people who called Yangmingshan home.