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, August 20, 2015

In 1970, SFC. Vincent L. Rossi was killed in South Vietnam

Bad news, they say, travels fast.  That may be true in most cases, but in the case of SFC. Rossi, it took 45 years for this blog to receive the news of his death. 

Sixteen of us arrived in Taipei in June of 1968.  Our duty station was at the Punched Paper Tape Relay Station on Grass Mountain, north of Taipei.  

Shortly after we began our duties, an E-7, Sergeant First Class Vincent L. Rossi, Sr., his wife and children arrived in Taipei.  SFC Rossi had no idea what he was in for.  Assigned as his responsibilities, our antics kept him off-guard and provided him with many headaches. 

Westover Memorial Park Richmond County Augusta, Georgia

Through Rossi's guidance, we were all functioning at a higher level.  A farewell salute to a good man.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Vietnam War Era, Fort Gordon, Augusta, GA

Now that we are up to the Vietnam War Era, I am 22 years old. Whoa!  I was certainly 22 back in 1968, but now am staring 70 right in the eye.  

That would make Vietnam Era vets in their 50s, 60s, 70s and some 80s.  Korean vets are in their 80s mostly and WW2 vets are in their 90s if not the century mark.  

Kent Mathieu, who runs the taipeiairstation blog, has talked with me and others about how old our viewership is getting.  Fortunately, we have wives and dependents of servicemen who served in Taiwan which gives us a much younger audience.  

In the years to come, some folks will blog about Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. The beat goes on.

This is my second letter from the government ordering me and millions of others to report for active duty in the military.

Previously, we received the letter from President LBJ inviting us to take mental and physical exams in preparation for induction. 

It was here in Ft. Jackson, SC that the friendly sergeants smiled as they welcomed us into the Army.  

For the next week, we all remembered some things and forgot others because of sleep deprivation.  

We took tests, received gear, became inoculated, got a 50 cent haircut, 2 pairs of glasses for us hard-to-see guys, and an introduction to KP.  I became a back sink specialist. 

Finally, our names were called and the split into two groups for basic training.  The first group stayed at Ft. Jackson and the second group piled into buses and took the ride down to Ft. Gordon.

Only seven more weeks to go in basic training with an immediate Christmas leave assigned which cleaned out Fort Gordon of as many of the soldiers and civilians as possible. 

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises Inc     

The photo above was scanned from my yearbook and pictures gate one, McKenna Gate. Below is stock photo of that same gate 50 years later.  

Map from    

In 1956, Camp Gordon became Fort Gordon, and the major areas of the fort remained pretty much the same by the time the Vietnam Era began around 1960-62.

This map with the colored sections is divided into areas that I am sure of.  Although Fort Gordon became a big signal school center, I honestly don't remember the location of the buildings.  

The red section is the basic training area, with the 25 meter firing range to the left. Dozens upon dozens of barracks full of basic trainees lived here.  

The  orange area is the training area for the Officers' Signal Corps.  

The purple section is the MP area including what was highlighted during the Korean War. It also includes Brems Barracks, not shown on the map above.  

The green circle is the hospital which was built in 1941 and was still being used 30 years later.

To the best of my knowledge, this is how the areas from the 1956 map would look when transposed onto a present-day photo of Fort Gordon. 

I need much input from soldiers who were there during this period who know for sure the locations of the buildings where they received their training. 

Photo from    

This is a good indication of what was going on at the Fort in 1962.  The MP and Signal Schools were established and the 3rd Army basic training area was also up and running.  

For certain this was a basic combat training area.  The 25 meter range was within walking distance of our Company.  

The other ranges and bivouac areas are further west.   

Also, west of here was Camp Crocket and the series of popular lakes.     

This is our old basic training area.  In the yearbook, I jotted down the corner of 15th Street and 6th (Barnes) Avenue.

Today it looks as though there are two settling ponds for some use where two of the four barracks once stood.  


If you can follow the thin red line from 15th Street down through the green area and up to the gray area, you will see the footpath that went steeply down, then across an open area. It then climbed up the hill on the other side to the back of the enlisted men's club.  

We only knew about this because once we got into basic training for real, several guys went AOL every day and then would show up at the barracks at night to stay warm and get some food from guys who had relieved the Army of excess chow.

This went on until the guys either came back on their own to face the consequences, or else came back with an MP escort to make sure justice would be served. 

19th Street was the center of entertainment for the various MOS hopefuls in Signal School who saw movies every night at the theater which is indicated here by red number one.  

The yellow number two was the enlisted men's club and had previously been the library for the post.  

The blue three was the sports arena which was basically a basketball court.  

The orange four building was the chapel where most of us received a forceful suggestion to behave as we were being instructed.  

The green area with pine trees on 3 sides of it was an ice cream stand which we all called the Dairy Queen.  

It wasn't actually a DQ, but it had great ice cream cones and was a must when ducking duty or just enjoying yourself. 

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises Inc    

This could have been our company.  The two barracks at the top right of the picture are facing two more barracks across the grounds.  

The single story building next to the barracks is the combination day room, rifle room, and offices.  

The building to the left of the day room was the mess hall where we all got the chance to prepare and serve three meals each day, GI the floors after each meal and prepare for the next day's breakfast.  

I have never knowingly eaten real bacon since my back sink days of scrubbing grease from the bacon pans.

To the left of the mess hall was the bedding and linens building where our laundry was picked up and returned.  

Every piece of laundry was identified by first letter of your last name and the last four digits of your i.d. number. 
 Photo from Albert Love Enterprises Inc    

Lined up perfectly are tents and equipment in preparation for bivouac which meant spending a week in the field, getting lost in the forests and trying not to get wet or sick.  

However, the main purpose of this picture is to show the two huge buildings in the background.  The first is the process-in  process-out building and the second was a coal burning building for storage of large equipment and machinery.

The entire basic training area was heated by individual furnaces and hot water heaters which burned coal as well.  Soot was everywhere including up your nose and in your ears.

Photo from

The highlight of my bivouac week was my time digging a 1x1x1 cathole latrine with the entrenching tool at the right.  

Instead of using the bivouac latrines in the middle picture, many did not want to use the ones that had toilet seats screwed into plywood.  

In the evening there was plenty of lime to make my place as sanitary as possible. It was time to myself out in the field with nobody missing my presence.
Photo from    

We covered up a huge pit which had been used as a dump for everything with sand, and marched back from the bivouac area to our barracks.

Basic training was now just about over.  Soon we would get our orders for AIT, finish all testing and hand in our M-14 rifles. 

To save you the trouble of finding your host among this sea of humanity, he is the one standing next to the red arrow.  

I think the group picture was more of a big deal with the Air Force at Lackland AFB and for the Navy at Great Lakes Training.  

The hometown newspapers liked these pictures.  


 This was our yearbook as produced by Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.  

All attempts were made to contact this company since they have the rights to the pictures used in this book, but we had no luck finding them. 

Since they are receiving credit for the rights to the pictures, there should be no problem because we are not making any money on this publication.   

Basic Combat Infantry Training during the Vietnam War is shown partially by clicking HERE.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

Having been built 1941, the main headquarters building still looked good with the huge flag flying in front of it. 

Photo  from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.  

This picture really doesn't due credit to theater number one.  It was bigger than it looks and had current movies running almost every night.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

From this picture, it is easy to see the purpose of the left side of the building.  The remaining side had many small rooms for reading, listening to records and playing chess and cards.  

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

Before we arrived, this building was the post library.  It was strictly an enlisted men's club the time we were there.  

On a previous picture, this building was number two.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc. 
Looking the worst for wear, this sports arena was number three on 19th Street.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

Most of us got an orientation in this chapel which was number four on 19th Street.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

This new library was at the east side of the fort entrance.
Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.   

I believe this bowling alley is still being used today for the same purpose.

Photo from Albert Love Enterprises, Inc.  

The PX was fairly new when we got there in 1968.  It contained just about anything you would want other than food.

Until an MP soldier who trained here says otherwise, this is the area of the fort which was occupied by the MP school and turned out tens of thousands of MPs over the decades.  

Included in this updated picture is the Brems Barracks area all by itself off to the left.  

Photo from    
This U-shaped area of MP training was known as Brems Barracks.  There were over 60 buildings of one-story concrete block construction with Quonset roofs.

This is sort of cheating, but the Brems Barracks are pointed out in this picture.

This is really taking liberties as the Brems Barracks area is shown on a Google map today.

Photo from   

The memorial plaque dedicating the barracks is shown here.

Photo from  

Not sure if this is a combat basic training area or MP basic training or both. We had guys in the red basic training area who were then transferred to MP school. Help please.

Photo from   

This is something personal to the MPs at Fort Gordon.

Photo from  

The memorial sign itself appears to be in the Brems Barracks area.

Photo from    

MP officers were trained at Ft. Gordon as shown here in a 1964-65 photo.

Photo from    

Training in the MP section of Ft. Gordon during the Vietnam Era.

Photo from  

MP training in 1972 with bayonets fixed.

Photo source unknown   

These pictures of the MP "riot city" were downloaded about 5 years ago and now the MP in training who took them no longer has a webpage.  

Although this was not part of our training, we would ride back and forth in the buses from signal school and see the MPs practicing crowd control.
Photo source unknown   

Here is the backside of Main Street which held up pretty well to the onslaught of rioters.

Photo source unknown   

If this is Friday, it must be graduation!  Classes from signal school and MP school graduated in rotation which meant a group got their diplomas after 8 or more weeks of training.

The graduation was held at the main theater on the post which can be seen to the right.  This theater was also used for training and each night showed a movie.  

The day we graduated the theater was packed and the post band played Watermelon Man which was well received by us who were just happy to graduate.

Photo from    

During the peak of the Vietnam War, Signal Officer training took place at Ft. Gordon. 

Here is the area described on the plaque above which was home to Signal Officer training from 1965-68.
Photo from   

This page congratulates the officers-to-be.

Photo from   

This publication of the Fort Gordon Rambler gives recognition to the officer training center.  

From this diploma, you can see that the officer training school moved to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the next few years.

This diploma is in line with the moving of the signal corps to Fort Gordon since 1975 as the MP school moved to Ft. McClellan, Alabama.

On the last day of basic training, we cleaned our rifles until buses arrived to take us to the airport or the Greyhound station for AIT.

Many of us stayed at Ft. Gordon for signal school or MP school.  Those of us who were to attend 72B signal school were given the short ride from15th Street and 6th Avenue to our new barracks on 23rd Street and 5th Avenue.  

This would be our home for the next 8 weeks. 

The gray block of buildings you see between 23rd and 25th Streets was nothing but an empty field back in 1968.  Today it is a center of training and remembrance for the Signal Corps.  

All Signal Corps training was moved from Ft. Monmouth, NJ to Ft. Gordon beginning in the 1970s and continuing until 2010.

Photo from     

In almost any decade from WW2 on, pole city as we called it was always a very obvious indication that you were in the signal corps training area.

Page from    

Before the entire signal corps moved to Fort Gordon, the USASESS signal corps school had 18 different MOS positions being taught to 8500 personnel.  

The longer training programs for technical control soldiers and those involved in microwave relay continued to be taught at Ft. Monmouth until a gradual relocation of the entire signal school training starting in the 1970s.  

Photo source unknown   

This picture was taken in the signal corps barracks area.  When officers training moved in 1968, our group of 72B trainees inherited their natural gas heated barracks. 

By fortune, this map of Fort Gordon shows how it looked at the end of the Vietnam War.  All buildings and areas are accounted for, but not all can be found on the map.

Patches from  

The three roads on the map above have been named for the three divisions that originated at Camp Gordon in WW2.  

From L to R:  4th Infantry Division (Ivy), the 10th Armored Division, and the 26th Infantry Division.

Photo from    

The numbers on all of these signs can be found on the map below.  At least most of them can.