Chief of the General Staff General Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴), who was killed yesterday in a helicopter crash in New Taipei City, had been in charge of the Ministry of National Defense’s General Staff Headquarters since July last year, succeeding retiring admiral Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明).
The 62-year-old air force general and his entourage were on a routine pre-Lunar New Year mission to visit troops at Dongaoling Base (東澳嶺) in Yilan County.
Prior to his taking up the General Staff Headquarters post, he had served for 15 months as vice minister of national defense, and from Feb. 1, 2015, to March 1 last year as air force commander-general. He was administrative deputy minister of defense before that.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
As air force commander, Shen promoted joint operations training, and disaster prevention and rescue.
After graduating from the Republic of China Air Force Academy in 1979, Shen was posted to the Great Desert Program, working with the Saudi Arabian government in Yemen Arab Republic until the Saudi Arabian government transferred diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China in 1990.
At the time of his death, Shen was the officer from that program still on active duty.
He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1992, and following France’s sale of Mirage 2000-5 jets to Taiwan in the late 1990s, Shen was among the first group of Taiwanese pilots sent to France for training. He later served as instructor for other air force pilots.
He went on to study at the US Air Force’s Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama, graduating in 2002.
Alexander Huang (黃介正), a strategic studies professor at Tamkang University who had known Shen for a decade, yesterday told The Associated Press that the general had stood out as a pilot and an officer.
“He was very calm and very stable, and unlike other army guys he was always smiling, so he [had] got a specific leadership style that also made him a popular leader in the entire military,” Huang said.
Shen was very disciplined, well-versed in knowledge of modern digital devices, to the extent that he could show his younger subordinates a trick or two, and was physically fit, receiving full marks during his annual physicals as air force commander, sources said.
Those familiar with Shen said that he valued the importance of scientific proof and professional analysis.
A military source said Shen’s fluency in foreign languages, as well as his knowledge of military affairs and diplomatic relations, made him a great choice as chief of general staff and to help promote the government’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
Deputy Chief of General Staff General Liu Chih-pin (劉志斌) last night was named acting chief of general staff to ensure the military’s capability to continue its operations as normal.
Additional reporting by CNA
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