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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teletype Repair on Grass Mountain, Taipei, Taiwan, 1968-69

"What seems to be the problem?"  I can still hear Eric say that every time he would show up to repair the teletype machinery.  The question was always the same.

Since my job was at the Taipei Terminal  (RUAGST), my position was closest to Eric as he entered the tape relay room. It was amusing, but not funny enough to laugh.

His eternal question may not have been heard by all since the place was so noisy from all the machines running all the time around the clock.

There was another part of his entrance. While Eric asked his question, he stood there with a screwdriver in his hand with the blade pointing straight up toward the ceiling. In other words, Eric had arrived.

That's my only attempt at humor when it came to teletype repair and the guys who, just like the tape relay shifts, had at least one guy on duty at all times. They kept us running and helped us avoid a severe backup.

We all got to know these guys as they had been trained to repair teletype machines, reporforators, printers, monitor machinery, sending and receiving machines, just to give you an idea of their importance.

Personally, I knew them all as sooner or later when this heavy-duty machinery went down. During the day shift we all went about our business as tape traffic was at its heaviest and officers and NCOs were lurking.

When the Univac computer went on-line and we broke into 4 shifts, some of us got to know them well. It was just small talk as they adjusted, replaced, repaired or removed the gray beasts.

Recently, the one man I knew the best contacted the blog. Bill Paden was a guy you could always count on. I'd seen him working under pressure as the NCOIC and other NCOs stood over him as he worked.

So, Bill has sent some pictures as well as some stories. I had comments from a couple of his cohorts, but Bill contacted me, which, I'm finding after 2 1/2 years, is rare. The only downside is that Bill had a large collection of pictures which were destroyed by a fire.

So, we salute Bill, Sam, John, Sammy, Eric and others who were there for "The Tape Apes."

Most of us prefer color pictures, but this black and white one finds young men learning their craft at Teletype Repair School---during WWII!

A young Sergeant named Arthur Burtis (Shown at Left) was at the Air Service Command located near Myrtle Beach, SC.

The teletype they are repairing was very similar to the ones used later during the  Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Photo by Jack Delano, 1938

This picture was just too cool to pass up. This young lady is shown preparing a teletype message to be sent on its way in 1938. She was working for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

It didn't run through Santa Fe, NM, but it is a snappy name for a railroad. The two clocks show Pacific and Mountain times. Note how similar the machine appears to those we used 30 years later.

If any of you are Judy Garland fans, (And how could you not be?)  you will remember the 1946 movie The Harvey Girls where she sings this Academy Award winning  song. She had so much talent and so many troubles. Daughter: Liza Minnelli.

Photo from Tung Mahamek, 1968

Here we are during the Vietnam War with a repairman stationed in Thailand. Those men from WWII shown above could probably have assisted in repairing these Kleinschmidts 20 years later.

Teletype communications were slow and arduous, but the various machines took a beating and still performed reliably but in a decreasing role until the 1980s.

They were replaced eventually by computers, but the fax machine initially put many of these machines in boxes.

Photo by Stephen Robinson, 1972

This sure looks like Vietnam, possibly Phu Lam. The number of machines in the background is an indication.

This guy certainly appears to have everything under control, with shelves full of teletype machines, ready to be put back on line.

Photo by

I've had this picture stored for over 2 years. The man shown here seems to have all of the most up-to-date equipment to finely tune these machines.

The number of parts in teletypes was phenomenal. Many times lack of parts halted repair.

Can you say "Oscilloscope?"

Photo by
Photo by
If this is a military photo, I'd be surprised. Stunts were always being pulled, but the chances of her being military are slight.

My first thought was WAC (Women's Army Corps) but I don't believe this was a proper summer uniform. Nor does  her desk have a privacy shield. She's probably a company employee.

We attended Signal School with WACs. Two lifers who were both SFC (E7) had a 15 month tour in Taiwan. They were all business as they may have been with Army Security.

Pictured here is a group of teletype repairmen with various ranks. The MOS was 31J, and the training center for them was Fort Gordon, GA at the USASESS.  

Standing in the middle, with his Garrison Cap cocked a little forward and a bit to the right, is PFC William Paden. Check your Urban Dictionary for the cap's nickname.

Photo from    

This is the entrance to Hostel number 1, just outside and north of the East Compound.  Bill and hundreds of others lived in here during their time in Taipei.  The price was right and many guys saved money for life back home.  

Back of this building was another hostel built at a later time.  Many of the men who lived here adjusted to the sound of the jets coming in for a landing at the nearby airport.  Then again, some couldn't stand the noise and moved to apartments.  

Bill lived in the hostel just outside the East Compound on Zhongshan (Chung Shan)  North Road in Taipei.

Somehow he could put up with the ground-shaking sound of jets coming in for a landing, almost directly over the hostel.

Taipei International Airport was right downtown, just a short distance east of the compounds and hostel.

Could that suit have been made at Mr. Loo's?

Here's Bill again at his hostel room. His stereo component system was hooked up including his Wharfedale speakers.

it was daylight and Bill played "Magic Carpet Ride" to show how little they vibrated. Not everyone in the hostel appreciated him making his point.

Ready for work in his fatigues, Bill shows off his new Sp4 (E4) patches after his promotion. The extra pay was welcomed as living in Taiwan was inexpensive and provided opportunities for saving and, of course, spending.

The bank we all used was American Express, located in the West Compound. Checking accounts that maintained a certain balance, paid an interest rate of 5%. The rate for savings accounts was 10%.

These next few photos were taken one day at the Grand Hotel, located above and behind Club 63. The glossy red paint is similar to that used on the Confucian Temple which is very near the hotel.

Until newer hotels were built in the 1960s and 1970s, this was THE hotel for tourists. The intricate paintings and tile roofs were unmatched.

Meeting rooms were available, and guest rooms were adequate. The view from atop the hill looking south showed downtown Taipei and the finely manicured grounds of the hotel.
Photo courtesy of

This is how the Grand Hotel looked when Bill took his tour.

Photo courtesy of Chris Snyder, 1973

In order to keep pace with the newer hotels being built, the group who ran the Grand Hotel added this huge addition.

With the addition, this is a present-day photo of the Grand Hotel

Here's Bill smiling after a long day of posing. My abilities and equipment aren't sufficient enough to restore this one. So, sepia tone was used.

In the background is the Keelung River.

Nobody until now has sent a picture of themselves as they look now.  Bill looks great!  Given a few minutes on a city street, I am sure I would approach him and say, "Aren't you Bill Paden?"  Most of us don't look as good as he. 


  1. Yes, the suit was made at Mr. Loo's! WOW!
    So many memories.

    1. Hi My name is Arthur Coughlin. I worked at Grass Mountain, 1966-1967. Also had suits made at Mr. Loo's.
      Of course they don't fit anymore. I found my way up to the site the last time I was there 2009. It hasn't changed much, took a photo from a park just above the site, they now have closed the park. I visited most the sites where everything was located, most gone. Visited Club 63 and was given a tour from a waitress that was there in 67.

  2. Art,
    Thanks for commenting. Please check out the entire blog and recommended sites at the bottom of this page. If you have any pictures, we would like publish them after they are scanned. My e-mail address is at the bottom right of the home page. John

  3. Hi guys! I recently purchased a beer stein from club 63 on ebay. I was wondering if someone could tell me if its the real deal and, if so, if you wanted a picture for this blog?

  4. Dragon--It's the real deal. please send a jpg of it to our e-mail address under "about me" at the upper right of this page.

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  7. Thanks, John.....All I remember is how glad we were to see the guys from TTY Repair show up and perform their magic on our teletype and tape relay equipment. Behind-the-scenes heroes, they were.

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  9. Hi, I was raised for three years in Happiness Village. My dad was a LTC at the time. We had two women that helped to take created of me and well, essentially raised me. It would wa mu heart to be able to find them again. I suspect they would be in their 70s now.

  10. Maybe with a search and a little luck, you just might find them. Thanks for the comments.