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Wed, May 23, 2001 - Page 3 News List

ROTC program offering more spots

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The military plans to recruit more college students this year for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in light of the program's growing popularity among college students.

The military is offering 150 spots this year for college students who want to join the program. The number of vacancies offered this year is more than half of those offered for the past four years combined. Colonel Chiu Chao-li (邱肇理), deputy chief of the military education department under the Ministry of National Defense, said the program's growth was not significantly related to rising unemployment.

"The high unemployment rate may be one of the factors behind the growth in ROTC vacancies, but it is by no means the only factor," Chiu said.

Chiu made the remarks yesterday at a regular ministry press conference.

The ROTC program, modeled after the US program, began in 1997, eight years after the ministry first thought of establishing an ROTC in Taiwan. Unlike the US program, however, Taiwan's is currently limited to the army only.

"The ROTC system is very important for the US military. It helps produce a large number of leaders for its forces. In 1989, for instance, the ROTC produced 245 generals for the US army, accounting for 56 percent of the generals in the service," Colonel Chiu said.

"Famous US military leaders who entered military service through the program include current secretary of state Colin Powell, ex-secretary of defense William J. Perry, and ex-army chief of staff General Gordon R. Sullivan," he said.

"We also plan to develop generals out of ROTC students. The first general to be born out of the program is expected to appear within 18 to 20 years," he said.

One of the program's first participants in 1997, Second Lieutenant Lin Wen-ping (林文平), said he was happy to become a serviceman through the ROTC program. Lin attended yesterday's ministry press conference together with seven others who went through the program.

Lin graduated from the National Taiwan Ocean University.

"I thought of serving in the military as I was training at Chenkungling [a six-week military training course that used to be required for every male college freshman] in 1997. I decided to join ROTC right then," Lin said.

"I think there is a lot of fun in the military. I am very interested in tanks, so I choose the armored branch of the army as my specialty," he said.

The starting salary for a ROTC officer is NT$44,958 a month.

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