Mon, Nov 19, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Navy announces first female captain

SACRIFICE As a young mother, Lieutenant Commander Hsieh Ai-chieh will spend a substantial amount of time away from her family as she leads her vessel out at sea

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Navy announced yesterday that for the first time in its history a female lieutenant commander would be captain of a patrol vessel.

In a press statement yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Sandy Yen (莊和子) said Lieutenant Commander Hsieh Ai-chieh (謝艾潔), 30, had been made captain of a Chin Chiang-class patrol vessel.

This would make her the nation's first female captain, Yen said.

SACRIFICES

The Navy later confirmed the news.

Vice Admiral Sun Yi-cheng (孫宜成), director of the political warfare department at the Navy, told reporters Hsieh would assume her post on Dec. 16.

"Hsieh is an outstanding naval officer. As a wife and a mother, she will often be unable to see her family for periods as long as two weeks while her vessel carries its duties out at sea," Sun said.

As the vessel is based in Keelung while her family lives in Pingtung County, accepting the position represented a significant sacrifice on Hsieh's part, Sun said.

RISING STAR

Yen said Hsieh was born and grew up in Changhwa County.

She entered the Naval Academy in 1994 and after graduating in 1998 served as a communications intelligence officer and intelligence officer in different units.

Yen said few female naval officers have been able to serve for a long time in the Navy, mostly because of family factors.

She said she was proud of Hsieh for becoming the nation's first female captain.

She said Hsieh had just completed her training to become captain of smaller warships, but because she had obtained outstanding grades, she was selected to become captain of a patrol vessel.

Another lieutenant commander, Chen Yi-shin (陳怡心), 30, will soon receive a promotion and become the second captain of a similar vessel, Yen said.

Chen, Yen said, is vice captain on a PG-617.

In her statement, Yen quoted Hsieh as saying that she would gladly take the challenge and do her best as the captain of a patrol vessel.

The 500 tonne Chin Chiang-class patrol vessel is designed and built by the state-owned China Shipbuilding Corp.

Relatively lightweight, but having heavy firepower and high mobility, it is used for port reconnaissance and regional patrol missions.

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