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.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grass Mountain, Taipei, Taiwan, 1969

Taken in August 1969, these pictures show the Grass Mountain facility from several different views.  Three of these have been added in September, 2011.

Gary Roske, who worked Tech Control at Grass and Gold Mountains contributed them. They are in the 1969-70 time frame.

The first picture is the classroom and office building along with what I think is the sewage plant in the background.

About 1/2 mile up a steep, narrow road, the site was carved from the side of a mountain.  Looking at the background, you can appreciate the beauty of the area. 

The equipment we had was state of the art.  Built like a fortress, the main building housed the punched paper tape relay, tech control and NARC (Non-Automatic Relay Center), and teletype repair. 

There were offices throughout the place, but most of us only saw a few rooms based on the need to know.

So, in early June of 1968, 16 of us became USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion members.  We had a home for the next 15 months, at least. 

*Since this was first posted, Dan Tsuhako, who was with Carrier Microwave in Taipei from 1967-1970,  identified this building as the power plant. So, now the question is what happened to the sewage?



The classroom building is plainly visible at the right. There were offices in the building as well. 

Servicemen on TDY from Southeast Asia honed their skills in the classroom. They stayed in hotels in Taipei and were transported to and from work by the Army bus.  

There was a General Court Martial held in the main classroom. Three STRATCOM soldiers were found guilty of assaulting a soldier on R and R in Taipei.

Windows were papered over, and guards were posted outside the doors. They were all found guilty.


Upon entering the main building, we were given our ID tag by the MP. We then went to our work stations. 

We at DCS major tape relay were at the extreme back end of the building. We served all the Air Force locations on the island. 

A large glass wall separated us from Tech Control. Further up the hall was NARC which used punched cards to send and receive messages.

All of these pictures were taken about 06:00, Taipei time. I witnessed the MP from our building and a Chinese Army guard from his barracks appear at the same time for the raising of the flags.

They saluted each other, then ran their respective country's flag up the pole. They each secured the rope, saluted each other again, and the day officially began. 

Photo by, and courtesy of, Gary Roske

The day shift at Grass Mountain always filled the main parking lot with cars jockeying for a good parking spot. 

Some vehicles parked at the side would be waiting for a soldier when the shift ended.


Blown up from the panorama collage, you can see how the main road at the front gate looked.

The perimeter of the entire place was enclosed by a chain link fence with a few strands of barbed wire at the top.

The guard shack looks pretty forlorn, but it wasn't used much as our ROC Army friends spent most of the day shift on their feet.

The vapor lamps that lit the place up at night are visible. They were also placed around Grass Mountain's perimeter.

Notice how overgrown the vegetation was and how narrow the road outside was. No vehicles accidentally came up this road.

Photo by, and courtesy of, Gary Roske

Once a year we had to take a fitness test. This looks like the guys have made their way outside the main gate. The water plant is in the near background.

Up and to the left was Gold Mountain JOSS. There is evidence that the overseas switchboard building, called Gold Mountain, is still standing today somewhere nearby.

Photo by, and courtesy of, Gary Roske


This picture was taken on the tennis court which was on a hill overlooking the Grass Mountain work site. It looks like part of the training is taking place here.

The fence with barbed wire can be seen clearly. It surrounded the entire complex.


To me, this is an interesting picture. The flag raising ceremony had not yet taken place, but the ROC guard is ready.

The area by the tennis court/basketball hoops had a deep trench to carry away the sometimes monsoon downpours that fell during the rainy season.

Here, also, is the water treatment plant directly down the hill from where I was standing. We had a couple of 10-gallon jugs we would fill from an outside spigot of the classroom building.

Finally, the ROC barracks can be seen in the background.


On the far left is the back entrance road. If it had to be used, it was an emergency or else something couldn't be brought up to the main entrance.

It was a long ride down, possibly twice that of the main road. Travel was slow and the road was extremely narrow.

It descended into a neighborhood of white houses and the exit was south of the main road exit of JingShan Road and GeZhi Road.

I believe the back road down is now called ZhongYong Road.


You are looking at the first floor mess hall. The rest of the building consisted of the barracks on the first and second floors.

Most of us began living here after processing in. Later, many of us found other quarters. The barracks was a cheap place to live if you didn't mind the noise, bad beds and lack of privacy.

There was a mail room next to the mess hall. The detached day room, in the background, had a pool table, sports gear storage area and a barber shop. 

The mess honcho was on a budget and he worked it to his liking. No matter what brand of beer we ordered on our off hours, all that he ever seemed to have was Lucky Lager. Two of the waiters were Jones and Snuffy.

For the Chinese Army guards, this was good duty. Their barracks building was down the hill behind the classroom/TTY repair building.

After midnight, they had the Day Room to themselves. There, they were able to hone their pool playing skills.



This is a literal cut and paste of the entire site. On the far right is the main entrance gate, guarded by ROC soldiers. 

Directly down the hill from the tennis court was the water plant. Notice the tower which was pointed directly at 7-Star. The back entrance is at the extreme left of this panorama.

32 comments:

  1. My name is Victor Cheng. I'm a Taiwanese male who grew up in the neighborhood of U.S. Naval Hospital, BOT Housing, etc. in Tien Mou, Taipei. Glad to find this blog. May I ask the exact location of this Grass Mountain facility? I'd like to take a picture at the same location to see what it looks like today. Thx.

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  2. Victor,

    Thanks for the kind words. My guess as to where it once stood is: 25 08.39'20"N
    121 33.24'82"E
    Lane 101 JingShan Road, Taipei, Shihlin District

    ReplyDelete
  3. Victor, Let's try that again:
    25 08'39.20"N,121 33'24.82"E
    My apologies

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  4. John,

    I am LTC Scott Ellinger working at AIT in the Tech Section (aka. JUSMAG or ODC). I am researching US Military Presence in Taiwan, 1951-1979, and will write a book about this history. I also live in Tienmou very close to the street where the old US Naval Hospital was located. I also run in the Yangmingshan area and venture into the maze of streets and alleys. Please reach me at us_maag_taiwan@yahoo.com

    Vr, Scott

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    Replies
    1. i was stationed at grass mtn from late 1973 till late 1976 with my family we lived in BOT housing in tien-mou. my daughter was born at the naval hospital

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    2. Do you have any idea where the exact location of the naval hospital was? I am currently in Hong Kong and traveling to Taipei this weekend for a trip and I would love to find the naval hospital to take a picture where my father was born in 1964.

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  5. Hi John,

    I was at Grass Mt. from 1967 to 1971 and worked in Carrier Microwave. Got out for 89 days and came right back to Taiwan with duty station in Tainan from 1972 to 1976. Yes, I've been all over the island from the beach up North to Olanpi in the South where I stayed in the FASD billets/messhall. Also went up to Lo Shan (X2) and experience several typhoons and earthquakes. Lived in the barracks at GM then moved to the hostel in Ya Ming Shan. Enjoyed viewing your photos.

    Aloha,

    Daniel Tsuhako

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  6. MY NAME IS LARRY BARTON- I WORKED AT
    GRASS MT ON THE MICROWAVE 67 AND 68.
    I LIVED DOWN THE HILL WITH MY WIFE WHO
    CAME OVER TO STAY WITH ME.I WAS FROM PA
    AND WORKED WITH ANOTHER PA NAMED MITCHELTREE. CLIMBED THE TOWER WITH HIM ONCE WHILE HE TOOK PICTS. WISH I HAD SOME.
    WA3PGL@ARRG.US

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  7. As a Navy JO3, I was temporarily assigned to run a remote TV operation for AFRTS around Jan - Mar 1976 timeframe.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ryanku,
    After your previous comment, I forgot to add that AFNT on Grass Mountain in 1969 was in a building in a residential area. Does this mean anything to you?

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    Replies
    1. GUS TTY MAINT> 69-71 I remember RADIO Station there
      and Bowling Alley also
      Anyone else justgus@bright.net

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  9. I was stationed at Gold Mtn from 1967 - 1968.
    At that time we used AN/TRC-29 radios. Then went to Taichung where I worked at San Yi relay and then at Taichung. At that tiWas there until 1970. Was back on Taiwan from 1972 to 1975 stationed at Grass Mtn microwave and Bamboo Mtn and then at the maintenance shop in Taipei.

    For any who care, there is a Yahoo group with many of us who served in Taiwan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what yahoo group address
      GUS TTY MAIN T 69-71

      Delete
  10. I was one of you on the flight of 16.Worked at Grass Mountain as a cleark .Stayed for 18mths.Then to veitnam.

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  11. My name is Dennis Morris. I was o5h20 at grass Mtn in 68-early 69 before heading to the 265th RRC at camp Evans, Vietnam. made a lot of friends over there but over time we've lost touch. If anyone remembers my I'd love to hear from you. Thanks...Denny

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  12. Be patient, Dennis. That post is buried back in 2010. Using our email address, you could send me some names. I have contacts from doing this for 5 yrs. John

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  13. I was stationed there, Sgt Moreno, First as a 72B/72F in the Relay Center, then as the front office clerk under Col. King. I think I helped to train John Crum. Sgt Cabebe from Hawaii also.

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  14. A lot of guys helped to train me at the Taiwan terminal (RUAGST). Steve? Fred? Bernie Cabebe was a fellow tape ape. Good guy. Give me a hint as to who you are. John

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    Replies
    1. I was in Taiwan from 1966-1970 and worked the RUAGST terminal. The UNIVAC-1004 was next to the terminal and we also ran that. I remember your being there. Steve Stanley and Bob Shaffer worked terminal also. Working the tape relay was good training for when I became an instructor in the 1980's at Fort Gordon. Who could ever forget how to read the holes in the tape? Fred

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    2. Hey, Fred!
      Didn't you get a hard stripe E-5 when you returned to Taiwan? Any pictures to share? We need them. Ever hear from Stanley?
      John

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  15. I was thin and worked in the DSTE VANS with Cabebe and Crum, saw Cabebe in Hawaii while assigned to J-63 HQ CINCPAC CommCenter. 73-79. Will Moreno

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  16. Well, I never worked in any vans. Strictly DTS Relay & Terminal. Now, Hershel Crum was at GM from 1967-68. He was married, I guess, as his child's birth certificate was sent to my parent's house. John Explain that one to your Mom,!

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  17. Justin,
    The old Navy Hospital is long gone. Some old timers may be able to give you an approximation in Tin Mou, but an exact address I can't help you. John

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  18. To Anonymous That wrote March 2 , 2015 at 7:40 PM post . I had some question about Col King .As his clerk you might have some answer after 46 years . Contact John to contact me Marvin

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  19. Really liked my year on grass mt. 1966 _67. Awsom duty station. Wanted to see if there are pictures of the park and found this site. Live in Southern Cal now.

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  20. I miss you John Crum.

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  21. I worked for MSG Yanaminne, MSG Dillard, CPT Merz, LTC Ironside and COL Hill in the Operations Office at Grass Mountain from 5/1968 through 10/1969. I lived in the Grass Mountain (Yangmingshan) Hostel for 6 months before moving to an apartment in Taipei. Quite a bus ride from the East Compound to Grass Mtn going on the pebble road just past Tien Mou.

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  22. Those names you mention, Robert, I recall John having a story or two about them. Thank you so much for your note.

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  23. Hello, my name is Scott Thomas. My father was at the time SFC or MSGT Alvin
    R Thomas. I believe he worked up on grass mountain. We lived in OK Village down in Tien Mou. I wondered if anyone recalls my father. Don't know what he did while there, and was curious.

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  24. Hopefully, Scott, someone will see your message and will be able to help. Thank you for the note.

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  25. Lived in Taipei 1967-1969 in teinmou not far from navel hospital this tour I was a dependent father station at shu linkou. Return as Service member us army sratcom 1970- 1973, my son born at us naval hospital 1972! Live down town near Taipei air station.

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  26. I worked at Grass Mtn. site from September 1968-August 1970, 32E20, but worked in the frame room and for Captain ?? doing punch card input also. JR Saltzman, I took a lot of pictures but my ex-wife still has them... My two boys were both born at the Navy Hospital.

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