Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Army instructor injured by discharge of tank’s gun

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

An instructor with the 564th Armored Brigade, southern Taiwan’s main armored combat unit, was injured in the accidental firing of a tank’s main gun this week, an incident an opposition party legislator said demonstrated that soldiers operate under dangerous circumstances and face the constant risk of injury when training.

The accident occurred during a movement and live-fire training exercise involving Taiwanese CM-11 Brave Tiger battle tanks at an army base in Tainan on Wednesday, which resulted in an army major surnamed Chang (張) sustaining burns, a minor concussion and damage to his ear drums.

The incident is the latest in a series of mishaps and security breaches besetting the nation’s armed forces, which has led to critics and members of the public accusing the military’s of lax discipline, supervisory negligence and violation of rules.

Chang was injured during the inspection of one of the tanks, when the tank’s gunner reportedly discharged the main gun by accident.

The explosive heat blast and shock wave from the discharge at close range resulted in Chang’s injuries, according to information provided by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) at a news briefing yesterday.

A unit of the Kaohsiung-based 8th Army Corps, the 564th Armored Brigade is known for its top-rated combat strength and mechanized firepower, possessing rapid-response teams equipped with armored vehicles, tanks and paratroopers to deal with potential enemy landings in the south.

“In the past, this brigade was assessed as the best armored brigade in the nation. If an accidental firing that resulted in an injured instructor can happen at a top-notch army unit, then it indicates that the training regime is dangerous. How does the army plan to convince parents to send their children for mandatory military service to this unit?” Chen asked.

The Ministry of National Defense released a statement to confirm that the incident took place, adding that Chang received medical treatment immediately and is making a good recovery.

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