USAFSS 6987TH SG, Shulinkou AS, Taipei, Taiwan



(1955 thru 1958)

Submitted 29 March 2001


With interest in learning the history of the Shulinkou installation by many visitors to this web site, an attempt to contact the first unit commander was made by E J Ledet. He was successful in finding and corresponding with that commander, then-Major Robert F Stark, and also with another officer from Operations, then-Captain Donald E Weaver, in late 2000 and early 2001.

Below you will find the results of these exchanges as "The Earliest of the Early Years" as compiled by E J Ledet. Photographs were furnished by Major Stark. Enlarge the view of these photos by clicking on each.

In the photo above are the original Detachment 1, 6925th RSM officers posed for the record. Top photo left to right: First Lieutenant Edward J Black, Operations; First Lieutenant William "Willy" Gross, Operations; Captain Donald E Weaver, Operations; Captain Frank Gerry, Operations; Major Robert F Stark, Commander (head of table); Captain John B. Kelley, Communications; First Lieutenant Brice F Ballou, Operations; First Lieutenant Hiram V Acevedo, Supply; and First Lieutenant Ferdinand, Administration.

Four unidentified Master Sergeants surround Major Robert F. Stark seated at the head of the table. First Sergeant MSgt. Elliot N. Nelson is in the front left of the above photo. Two of the other three master sergeants in the photo are identified as MSgt. Olsen and MSgt. Fullwood by Major Stark in the article below. (Can anyone help with the IDs?)


The following events are as described and recalled by four former residents of Shulinkou Air Station in the earliest of those early years when the site was in its infancy:

    " Chinese Quonsets had been built for the airmen
    who were double-decked... the place looked like a bad dream."

Recollections reveal that a hearability test was conducted in 1955 and 1956 by a team headed by USAFSS officers Delmar Lang and Ben Ardisana. The team went to Taiwan from the 6925th Radio Group Mobile (RGM) at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, and satellited with a small Army Security Agency (ASA) direction-finding detachment which was located on an old Japanese fighter strip just a few miles from the village of Shulinkou. See aerial photos of the site below (click on each to enlarge view).

[NOTE: Variations are found for the spelling of Shu Lin Kou, such as Shu Lin Kou, Shulinkou, Shu Lin (on British Admiralty maps), etc. For this article the more common spelling Shulinkou shall be used throughout.]

Subsequent to apparent successful tests the team formed a detachment of the 6925th RGM and moved in with the ASA unit which had been established earlier, or at about the same time; hence the beginning of Shulinkou as a military installation. United States military presence at this location was in accordance with some type of verbal agreement between U. S. and Chinese Nationalist military, probably under arrangements made by the U.S. embassy.

Major Robert F. Stark reported to the 6925th RGM in early April 1957 and, after a few days of orientation, proceeded to Taiwan to assume command of the now-formed Detachment 1, 6925th RGM. His initial appraisal of the site is well stated: "Although some so-called Chinese Quonsets had been built for the airmen who were double-decked....the place looked like a bad dream. We had to haul in water and were solely dependent on ATF 13P (Air Task Force 13 Provisional), which did not have much logistical capability as it too had recently come to Taiwan during an emergency situation (the Taiwan Straits conflict)." Lack of any type of base rights with the Chinese, and the same lack of support agreements with anyone else, found the detachment "left out in the cold as far as who should provide the unit with logistical support." Furthermore, the ASA and Naval Security Group (NSG) units were on the same site, a situation which caused inherent interservice rivalry problems at the outset; i.e., who "owned" the site. Most problems were true pangs in the establishment of a military installation which was to consist of a host and tenants. A military liaison officer was provided by ATF 13P, but he was more of a hindrance than of help.

Finally, the assignment of a Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Stitt from ATF 13P was instrumental in his getting things done in the areas of logistical support. As the organization continued to grow, other personnel were being assigned to Shulinkou. Major Stark recollects the operations mission being conducted under Captain Hal Foster and Captain Frank Gerry, and Lieutenant William "Willy" Gross; the communications function being under a Captain Kelley, and the supply function being under a Lieutenant Ferdinand. Major Stark also commends efforts by master sergeants named Olsen and Fullwood, and to "a lot more" whose names he could not recall. But, as he says in 1999, he is "now 80 years old, and that was 43 years ago."

Major Stark says that "things really began to take a turn for the better when Major General Gordon A. Blake took over as commander USAFSS [effective 4 Jan 1957]. Col. McNitt (later Brigadier General) took over the 6920th SW (Security Wing) at Shiroi (Japan). After Gen. Blake's visit to Lin Kou and upon his return to the HQS we were overrun with visitors from HQ USAFSS, NSA, and even the Pentagon and State Department." Negotiations were then conducted for a base rights agreement with the Chinese, and the establishment of Shulinkou Air Station with the Air Force (USAFSS) as the host, and ASA and NSG as tenants.

On July 1, 1958, Detachment 1, 6925th RGM was deactivated, and the 6987th Radio Squadron Mobile(RSM) was activated with Major Stark as its first commander. A new ASA commander, Major Robbins, replaced the previous army commander. Simultaneously, the 6925th RGM was assigned a new commander, a Lieutenant Colonel Ward, "who was most welcome as our new Group Commander." Major Stark continues, "I have never observed such a change for the better, and I always admired Gen. Blake and Gen. McNitt for all they did to straighten out such a fouled-up mess!" Shortly thereafter, the 6987th RSM became an independent unit under the 6920th Security Group at Shiroi.

Concurrently, Shulinkou Air Station was transferred to the U.S. Air Force as the host (note: not USAFSS), the station itself being subordinate to ATF 13P in Taipei; Lt Col Glenn Stitt was named the station commander. This left the USAFSS, ASA, and NSG units all as tenant organizations on Shulinkou Air Station. In response to General Blake's question to Major Stark about Stark's replacement, Major Stark recommended Lt Col Stitt. When reminded that Lt Col Stitt was assigned to ATF 13P, General Blake said, "Let me take care of that." Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Stitt became the new commander of the 6987th RSM when Major Stark departed. [Major Stark continued with various USAFSS assignments, including Goodfellow AFB, Berlin, Crete, Wakkanai, and USAFSS Headquarters. He retired as a Colonel after 33 years of service.]

Colonel Donald E. Weaver (USAF, Retired), then a captain, arrived at Shulinkou in January 1958, and also relates the host/tenant relationships and controversies which the unit was still a detachment. Captain Weaver was the Assistant Operations Officer; a Captain Brice F. Ballou was the Traffic Exploitation Officer. With the 6987th RSM rapidly growing in latter 1958, several officers were assigned to the 6987th RSM for duties in the operations section, of whom four were the initial flight commanders (although they were designated Officer-In-Charge, Trick A, B, C, or D at that time; the duty title Flight Commander came into being later around 1959). This new officer cadre consisted of second lieutenants Roger Dolliver, Ralph T. Graham, E. J. Ledet, and Robert Y. White, the original flight commanders, and Second Lieutenant Donald Valentine who worked the day shift in Traffic Exploitation. Flight NCOICs included master sergeants named Hayes, Nicewander, and Palagi, to recall a few.

Of note is that in early 1960 the new personnel officer assigned to the 6987th RSM was a Captain Norma Brown, who many will remember later as commander of the training wing at Goodfellow AFB. She is now a retired Major General.

Some time in the late 1960s or very early 1970s, the base was transferred to USAFSS and the 6987th RSM became the 6987th Security Group. The base was subsequently closed in either late 1975 or early 1976, when it was turned over to the Chinese.

Colonel Weaver comments: "As a side note, I'm sure you remember the little village of Shulinkou. About three years ago we heard that the old village is gone and Shulinkou is a large industrial center. Times sure change!" [Because of his initials, Captain Weaver was referred to as "DEW-DAD" by the junior officers. A Chinese linguist, Captain Weaver later returned to Shulinkou as the group commander; his later tours include DCS/Operations at USAFSS, and Goodfellow Wing Commander. He retired in 1982 after 30 years with the USAF. Majors Graham and Ledet are both retired, reside in San Angelo, Texas, as does Roger Dolliver.]

Oblique view to the west of Shulinkou Air Station photgraphed in 1957. The former Japanese Air Force airfield is clearly seen in the area where the land had been graded level.

Another oblique view to the east showing Shulinkou Air Station when photographed in 1957. The former Japanese Air Force airfield is clearly seen in the area where the land had been graded level. Other features are noted on the photo.