US-Taiwan military exchanges remain close and those serving in the military still have a chance to train abroad with US soldiers if they are diligent, so young people who want to serve their country should join the military, newly promoted Lieutenant General Kuo Li-sheng (郭力升) said yesterday.
Kuo was among the four officers promoted to lieutenant general in a ceremony in Taipei yesterday, while 27 others were promoted to major general.
Currently the commander of the Army’s Special Forces Headquarters, Kuo was chosen by the government to receive training with US Rangers in 1989 and received the Ranger coin that symbolized his passing all four phases of Ranger training — Benning, Mountain, Florida and Desert.
Kuo joked that since the Desert phase of the training was dropped in 1995, current Rangers are jokingly referred to as “the Easy ranger[s].” He also said former US secretary of state and general Colin Powell owed him a beer because Powell had been unable to show his Ranger coin during a visit to Taiwan in 1997 when he challenged him to do so.
Ranger school tradition meant that Powell should have pulled out his Ranger coin in response or owe him a beer, Kuo said, adding that he remembered Powell taking out his wallet, but the former general was unable to find his coin.
“It has been 15 years,” Kuo said, but he would get the beer from Powell someday.
Kuo is also known to have been neighbors and junior-high school classmates with the star Dianna Yang (楊林) and had been invited along with Yang to film an episode for a variety show in 2002.
The deputy commander of the Air Force’s 499th Wing, Cheng Jung-feng (鄭榮豐), was also promoted to lieutenant general yesterday. Cheng is known for successfully hitting a target cruising at an altitude of 2,000m with a Mica missile when flying at 20,000m during a test fire exercise in 2000.