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, August 25, 2010

The Taipei, Taiwan, Terminal Station, Grass Mountain, 1968-69

Tucked away in a corner of the Grass Mountain DCS Major Tape Relay was an area known to all of us as "the terminal." It was the center for all punched tape messages for Taipei coming and going. 

Theoretically, it was supposed to be as separate from the relay floor as any of the Air Force locations we served. In reality, terminal operators were actually involved with both Tech Control and the relay floor.

When we 16 arrived in June of 1968, we were split up into groups of 5 each. A few of us were fortunate enough to be assigned to the Taipei Terminal, where we really put to practice much of what we were trained for in signal school.

We prepared messages and sent them out to the relay floor. We received messages and printed them on rolls of mimeograph paper to be run off for whomever they were meant.

There were three teams working in the following rotation: Team A worked three days in a row from 08:00 to 20:00 local time. Then on day four,Team A came in at 20:00 hours and worked the next 3 days until 08:00. This was followed by three days off. Teams B and C did the same and the rotation was set.

The only non-draftee was quickly assigned to USTDC and worked banker's hours downtown. So, Baby-san, you certainly drew the long straw on this one!

The terminal had a Smith-Corona-Marchant/Kleinschmidt teletype which was attached to a printing punched tape reperforator. The reperforator also had attached to it a transmitter which sent messages we had prepared out to our receive station on the relay floor.

There was a monitor reel which made copies of all of our sent messages. Army security would keep us on our toes by randomly checking the rolls of tapes which were saved. 

In addition, there were also two printers, which were receive only, meaning no keyboard. One of these made a hard copy for our files and the other was for the mimeograph messages.

Taipei had a four-letter prefix which told routing equipment or personnel where to send the message. This routing indicator was RUAG. The terminal had a designated address of RUAGST.

All of our Air Force locations had a similar address. For instance, Tainan AFB had an address of RUAGTN. And so it went. It was easier to do than to describe.

This "address" allowed those working the receive bank to know the exact location to which a message would be sent.

Finally, all messages received from Taiwan locations or from the Univac 1004 ended with several blank lines, followed by the four letters, NNNN which meant "end of message."

This is the model ASR-28, made by the Teletype Corporation, which was the basic machine used for decades to follow. The teletype machines WE used had a Smith-Corona badge logo and had only three rows of keys.

All letters were in CAPS. Our teletype's numbers were on the top row when the shift key was used. Symbols and punctuation were basically on rows two and three.

The ASR-28 actually had round keys and an auxiliary row of keys at the top. This is how our Smith-Corona-Marchant/Kleinschmidt printed when connected to a transmitter, sending the message to the relay floor. We never saw one of these machines on this link.

The printer on the right looks like the ones we used in the terminal. They certainly made a racket when the cover was off. Other than that, they were heavy duty machines.

Most of this equipment was an upgrade from that which was being used during WWII and Korea. The company that made all of this equipment was the Teletype Corporation in Skokie, Illinois.

In 1930, the Bell System purchased the old Kleinschmidt Company and the name was rettained as Teletype Corporation. It was a division of Western Electric.

However, in 1931, Edward Kleinschmidt decided to restart his company and sell mainly to the military. The machinery itself was still made in the Chicago suburb.

In 1956, Smith-Corona-Marchant became the parent company of Kleinschmidt Laboraties. This was then part of the SCM Corporation.  Again, we didn't use this particular printer, but the various speeds will give you an idea of what we were dealing with.

Easily attached to the teletype machine was this tape reader. This transmitter was similar to what we used in the terminal.

When the message was complete, it was put in the reader and transmitted to the relay floor. A hard copy was made for our records.

Shown above is a composite of all the machinery for the ASR-28. Notice that the logo is the Teletype Corporation. 

Teletype Corporation, under ownership of Western Electric, competed with SCM/ Kleinschmidt. Teletype Corporation's machines were known as "Chicagos."

After searching for months and months, we found this picture of our Smith-Corona/Kleinschmidt equipment at the signal school at Fort Gordon. What we used may have been a fortified version of an already existing Kleinschmidt model.

The history of the teletype indicates that so many were produced during WWII and afterwards, that a huge surplus existed and was used during the Korean War, Vietnam and into the 1980s. 

The important thing is that the tape code used by all the services was the same and, although different, the machinery was compatible with what was being used in the Air Force and Navy.

Those of you who were STRATCOM Army teletype repairmen and service techs, please let us know exactly what equipment we used. 

Clicking on this picture will show you the military designation given to this SCM/ Kleinschmidt combination of teletypewriter and reperforator/transmitter.

Shown is a photo of a like new Smith-Corona/-Marchant/Kleinschmidt unit that Randy and Sherry Guttery had in a bedroom in Guam in 1974.  I commented on his dresser and he assured me that it was full of parts.

These folks are carrying on the teletype and radio communications history for all of us who are RTTY buffs. At the lower left, you can see a restored KSR-28.

So, what was under the hood certainly was a Kleinschmidt, with a skin that said Smith-Corona. If you want to see tedious, dedicated work restoring a Model 28, Click on Randy's website HERE.

Easily attached to the teletype, this printing reperforator knocked out the punched paper tape as we prepared messages for transmission.

Rolls of paper are shown beneath this equipment as well as rolls of paper tape on top of the teletype.

Again, this machinery looks similar to what we used. Funny how the rolls of paper tape and spools of copy paper have faded.

Actually typed during our training at Fort Gordon, this message was then run off on a printer during sending.

It was then sent home, so my wife and both sets of parents could see what we were doing.

It has been in our Taiwan scrapbook for over 40 years. Incidentally, this message, and all others, used the Murray Code.

Made by the National Band and Tag Company of Newport, Kentucky, this chicken toe punch was our low-tech tool. 

If a message couldn't be corrected easily at the terminal station or relay floor, we simply put thin, adhesive tape over the area to be corrected.

Then, the correct letters, numbers, and symbols would be punched into the tape using this punch. The size of the punches made coincided with holes already on the message.
If you have a dog, cat or any possible animal that can be tagged, then you may have bought it from National Band and Tag. They are still in business and going strong. Check their website at

We always heard that the Air Force went first class. They seemingly had the best quarters, mess halls and equipment.  This young guy in the 1980s is actually using an ASR-28 model that was described in the literature above.

Also, notice the 24-hour clock set to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or Zulu time as used by the military. Using this time made it easier to understand when messages were actually composed, sent and received around the world.

Out there somewhere are thousands of folks who, being in the Air Force and Navy, received training similar to what the Army gave us at Ft. Gordon. Relations with our Air Force locations were very cordial.

The teletypes shown in these pictures are in a museum on a Navy ship and are actually under glass! 

Thanks go out to the following communications museums:,,,,, and


  1. Great memorys here....
    31J..Army TTY School.. been there and done that.
    Thanks for the information.

    Dan Dowell
    Ft Gordon, Ga. (NOV 82 to JUN 83)

  2. Had the same equipment USASTRATCOM COM OPNS FAC, Taegu Korea 1971-1972
    So where is the KG-13 and KW-26 :-)

    1. ... and the KL-7. Understand that it is still classified after all these years.

  3. I have a chicken punch like the one you show made by the National Band Co of New Port Ky. I was a teletype operator at Anderson AFB on Guam 1968-69. The device was given to me as a souvenir by my sergeant when I was discharged in 1969.

  4. We are an elite fraternity! Mine was given to me by a guy who was leaving Taiwan. I ordered about 10 of them from the National Band Co. for $1 each. Instead, they used mine. Big money loser. Thanks for writing .