Mon, May 29, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Military cadets graduate from US academies

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

First Lieutenant Hsiung Ming-cheung poses with his friends and host family during his course at the Ranger School in Georgia.

PHOTO COURTESY OF HSIUNG MING-CHEUNG

Marking an expansion in US military relations with Taiwan, nine of the 39 Taiwanese cadets studying at US military academies will graduate this month.

Meanwhile, a cadet named Lin Ching-Hong (林璟鴻) from the Air Force Academy is expected to finish his four-year term program at Citadel Military College in just three years, and to receive his diploma in August, according to Taiwan's representative office in Washington.

The representative office said Lin wanted to become a fighter pilot as soon as possible.

Three Taiwanese cadets at Virginia Military Institute, another three at Citadel Military College, two at Norwich University and one at the US Naval Academy would receive their diplomas this month, the representative office said.

The cadets would then return home and be commissioned, the office added.

According to a report in the Chinese language Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times), a cadet by the name of King Han-lung (金漢龍), who is to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute, said that he had learned a lot, both academically and physically, during his four years of rigorous training.

"I also appreciated the friendships I made with my colleagues. The academy taught us to always help others and to never give up on your colleagues," King said.

The representative office said that there are 39 Taiwanese studying at prestigious US military academies, including three studying at the Military Academy at West Point, three at the US Naval Academy, two at the US Air Force Academy, 12 at Virginia Military Institute, 12 at Citadel Military College and seven at Norwich University.

Next year, the Military Academy's Hung Wan-ting (洪婉婷) is expected to become the first Taiwanese woman to graduate from West Point.

Hung, one of the most diminutive cadets at West Point, has told reporters that it has been a tough experience.

"Although it is extremely hard, I never cry," she said.

"Taiwanese youth are too relaxed," she added. "It would be hard for them to imagine that my US colleagues are sent to Iraq immediately after graduating."

West Point began to recruit foreign students from Asia in 2000 through US liaison offices abroad. The American Institute in Taiwan has conducted a series of recruitment tests since then.

Lee Wu-ling (李武陵), the first soldier from Taiwan to graduate from West Point, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2004.

Meanwhile, the Naval Academy's Yu Chang-jung (余長蓉), the first Taiwanese woman to study at the US Naval Academy, is also expected to receive her diploma next year.

According to a report form the Central News Agency, First Lieutenant Shiung Ming-rung (熊明榮) completed a nine-week course at the Ranger School in Georgia this month, becoming the only Taiwanese soldier to receive a Ranger's shoulder patch in the last five years.

Hsiung told the agency that of the 373 personnel taking the course with him, just one third were able to finish it.

He said the Ranger course was designed to train special forces to be able to achieve a difficult military goal in the worst environment.

"I slept for between zero and four hours a night for many days in a row," Hsiung said.

"I had to carry a backpack weighing around 40kg while completing missions," he said.

Hsiung said that whenever he found himself wondering whether he could continue, he told himself that he would think about it after the next day's training.

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