Tue, Aug 07, 2007 - Page 4 News List

First female paratroopers to graduate from training

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Army's Airborne Division yesterday announced that 10 female paratroopers are expected to graduate from its training program soon, becoming the country's first female paratroopers.

The division said that they began to recruit career female personnel this year and 10 women joined the unit. Five of them have accomplished basic training -- finishing five jumps within one month -- and became qualified paratroopers. Another three have finished three jumps while another two began their training courses on Aug. 1.

For the first five, their next challenge will be an eight-week training course in folding parachutes.

"Now that is the real challenge," said Pan Tzu-chun (潘紫君), one of the first five female paratroopers. "But, I understand that folding parachutes is extremely important because it concerns whether a paratrooper can land safely."

Another paratrooper Mai Hsin-chieh (麥芯潔) had a different view. She said that the basic five jumps during the training course were not enough for her to overcome her anxiety.

"There should be more jumps for trainees. Also, in battle, it is quite impossible for a paratrooper to stay in the air for too long since we have missions to carry out. But I really enjoy the feeling of freefalling before my chute is opened," Mai said.

In addition to recruiting female paratroopers, the division said that it is planning to establish a female parachute maintenance platoon before the end of the year.

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