Mon, Feb 14, 2005 - Page 3 News List

General's rise marked by dedication

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former vice minister of national defense General Hu Chen-pu (胡鎮埔) was promoted from a two-star to a three-star general before the Lunar Near Year as he was assigned to take over the director-general's office at the Ministry of National Defense's Political Warfare Department.

Hu was promoted and succeeded Chen Pan-chih (陳邦治) to the post on Feb. 1, while Chen moved to the office of the navy's commander-in-chief. In his new job, Hu will be responsible for the military's public relations, promotions and propaganda-related activities.

Hu graduated from the Army Academy in 1971, with a background in military strategies for armored troops. He is one of the few army officers who started as a low-ranking officer and worked his way up through the ranks in a variety of posts prior to being assigned to the ministry.

Hu became one of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) favorites for the promotion because he was instrumental in supporting Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) on the proposed NT$610.8 billion (US$19.15 billion) arms procurement plan.

Hu served as the military's chief negotiator with the Legislative Yuan for the arms budget.

The special arms budget -- which includes the purchase of three Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile batteries, 12 P-3C maritime patrol aircraft and eight diesel-powered submarines -- was rejected in the last legislative session after being blocked by opposition lawmakers.

Hu has developed a great reputation in the army because he has always insisted on adhering to the same orders or standards that he asks his fellow officers and soldiers to do. He was also the first general who would ask for punishment from his superior officers when his soldiers failed a regular physical test.

Hu decided to devote himself to the military because he came from a poor family with eight children.

According to Hu, when he was very young, he once heard his neighbors gossiping, "There are eight children in the Hu family and they are in a great need of money. Therefore, the family's financial credibility must be questionable."

"That remark made me decide to serve in the military because I did not want to become a burden on my family, especially when my parents had worked so hard for all of us," Hu said. "I decided to study hard and become a real soldier."

Under the guidance of his elder brother, Hu Chen-chiu (胡鎮球), Hu Chen-pu joined the army's prep school after he finished junior-high school in Kaohsiung County. Hu Chen-chiu had already joined the military, where he eventually rose to the rank of two-star general and ended his career as deputy director-general of the National Security Bureau in 2003.

Hu Chen-pu later won admittance to the Army Academy in Kaohsiung County, for four more years of education before he was commissioned.

"I spent a total of seven solid school years in Kaohsiung. I studied very hard because I wanted to prove something," he said. "And since I spent most of my time on the campus, it was a real shame that I was still a stranger to the Kaohsiung area after I finished school although I spent seven years there."

Over the years, as he gained in military experience, he also became a skilled negotiator.

For the 2003 Han Kuang Military Exercise in Ilan, Hu Chen-pu, who was then chief commander of the army's sixth battle group, succeeding in winning the cooperation of local officials even though the local government had initially been against the idea of the annual military exercise being held in the area because of environmental concerns.

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