Sat, Jan 04, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Helicopter Crash: President decorates deceased officers

LOYAL SERVANT:Tsai Ing-wen posthumously promoted Shen Yi-ming to a four-star general and also awarded him the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon

By Lee Hsin-fang, Aaron Tu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Military officials yesterday leave a mourning hall set up at Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei’s Neihu District after paying their respects to late Chief of the General Staff General Shen Yi-ming and seven other military personnel who were killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

Military officers who were killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday are to be posthumously given decorations for their service to the nation, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday at a top-level military and national security meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei.

Tsai also issued “three assurances” to boost morale.

A UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, carrying military personnel to Dongaoling Base (東澳嶺) in Yilan County, went down in the mountains of New Taipei City’s Wulai District (烏來) on Thursday with 13 people on board. Eight, including Chief of the General Staff General Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴), died in the crash.

The meeting started with one minute’s silence for the deceased officers — Shen, Political Warfare Bureau Deputy Director Major General Yu Chin-wen (于親文), Major General Hung Hung-chun (洪鴻鈞) of the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, Major Huang Sheng-hang (黃聖航) of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief Master Sergent Han Cheng-hung (韓正宏), pilot Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-yi (葉建儀), copilot Captain Liu Chen-fu (劉鎮富) and crew chief Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-pin (許鴻彬).

Tsai then announced that Shen had been posthumously promoted from a three-star general to a four-star general, as well as awarded the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon.

As Han was top of the sergeant rankings he was awarded the Cloud and Banner Medal, the Ministry of National Defense said, while the other officers were each given a posthumous one-rank promotion.

“Despite our sorrow, we cannot allow national security to lapse for even one day,” Tsai said.

The best way to honor Shen’s memory would be for military personnel to continue with their duties and safeguard the nation, she said, before issuing three assurances.

Under the leadership of acting Chief of the General Staff Liu Chih-pin (劉志斌) and Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), military affairs are to continue as normal and morale must remain high, she said.

The military must be on heightened alert and to closely observe all military movements in and around the Taiwan Strait, to ensure that the armed forces can respond rapidly to any change in the situation, she said.

The military must conduct thorough equipment inspections and to ensure that all military equipment is combat-ready, she said, adding that there is no room for laxness.

Yen then gave a briefing on the crash and the reaction of China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The public should remain assured of the safety of the Taiwan Strait and that the authorities were looking into the cause of the crash, sources said.

Tsai has instructed the government to provide as much assistance as possible to the families of the deceased, including funeral arrangements, and with compensation payments for families of the deceased and the survivors, sources said.

The president instructed the Taipei Guest House to make an area available for the public to pay their respects to the deceased officers, they said.

Ministry spokesman Shih Shun-wen (史順文) yesterday evening confirmed that the Taipei Guest House would be open from 9am to 9pm over the weekend for the public to pay tribute to the deceased officers.

Additional reporting by CNA

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