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Thu, Aug 23, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Navy showcases elite fighting forces

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Firefighters take positions in front of a S70-C anti-submarine helicopter on board a Lafayette-class frigate during a drill at the Tsoying naval base yesterday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The navy yesterday revealed to the media the elite units it has honored as the best of the year.

Those selected as the navy's best this year include the second special task squadron of the navy's only amphibious reconnaissance group, the No. 1206 Dihua Lafayette-class frigate, and the No. 794 Sea Tiger submarine.

The three units were honored mainly for their outstanding performance over the past year, the navy said. Chief among considerations were how many missions they have executed over the year and how difficult the missions were considered to be.

They were introduced to the media yesterday at an event arranged by the Ministry of National Defense.

The second special task squadron of the amphibious reconnaissance group is considered an elite force by the military.

Lieutenant Tai Chih-wei (戴志瑋), a member of the squadron, said the unit is comprised solely of career officers and non-commissioned officers. The squadron has around 100 troops.

"We train mainly to penetrate enemy land at wartime and carry out sabotage missions," Tai said. He declined to give further details, explaining that his unit's operations were not supposed to be made public.

Tai's unit, based in Kaohsiung's Tsoying, then demonstrated sharp-shooting skills with a variety of weapons. One unit member, who declined to be identified, said it takes six months of training with various kinds of guns to develop the precision required of them.

The media were then shown the Dihua Lafayette-class frigate and the Sea Tiger submarine, both based in at Tsoying.

It was the third time that the Sea Tiger, one of two modern diesel-powered submarines bought from the Netherlands, won the honor of best unit of the year.

A lieutenant commander on the submarine, who preferred not to be identified, said he was not surprised his vessel won the honor again this year.

"We were deep under the sea for an average of 15 days a month over the past year. We accumulated the sailing hours necessary to qualify for the best unit of the year," the official said.

Recalling the missions over the past year, the official said the submarine crew saw little real action.

"We didn't do the one-month endurance mission last year. What we did was mostly routine training and patrol," the official said.

"The most frequent routine training we had was with surface ships of our navy. We practiced submarine-hunting drills with them. It is one of the most basic drills we have," he said.

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