The following posts are a sampling of what we lucky few experienced on the island of Taiwan, Republic of China. There are too many stories to be told here, some can’t be told here, and some shouldn’t be told here (although Don Price has pushed the envelope). It’s interesting how the human mind recalls events from our distant past, not so much with respect to a specific day, month, year, but the sensory details; what we saw, heard, smelled, touched, and the emotions we felt. Some will say these are exaggerations from sailors whose memories are clouded by too much alcohol, and are known prevaricators of the truth. Keep in mind that these stories come from men that over 40 years ago were given Top Secret security clearances by the NSA because of their trustworthiness, high integrity, superior moral character, and ……….. well maybe not that last one, but you get the picture. As the post credits to many movies say “this story is based on actual events”. The only difference here is that names have not been changed to protect the guilty.
An attempt has been made to arrange these stories in an order that was chronologically followed by young men that experienced a 15 month tour of duty at Shu Linkou. You might think that the first event experienced by an enlisted serviceman arriving at an overseas shore station would be related to that base’s specific military mission and their work assignment. Not so in our case. Within a few hours of first arriving in the Republic of China we were taken under someone’s wing on a Liberty bus down a winding mountain road, across flat lands surrounded by rice paddies, over the Tam-shui River and into a strange city called Taipei to experience leisure time activities instead of work. There was a feeling of excitement along with some anxiety over what awaited us on that first visit. It would be natural to be apprehensive about this strange place; strange sights, strange smells, strange food, strange women ……… we couldn’t wait to get there!