Kinmen County’s Dadan Island (大膽), off the coast of China, was a major battleground during the Cold War and its tourism bureau is now calling for military veterans who served there to volunteer on the island before it opens as a tourist destination in late July.
The Kinmen County Government plans to open the 0.79km2 island to the public on July 26 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment and is looking for volunteers, it said in a statement on Friday.
The Kinmen County Tourism Bureau needs veterans to assist with the environment and landscape planning, the county government said.
Volunteers need to have served on the island in the past and need to provide proof of service, such as military documents, old photographs or artifacts, it said.
Eligible veterans have until May 15 to apply by e-mailing a completed application form — which can be found at https://goo.gl/1pSqi6 — to email@example.com.
Due to their historic importance, the two islets are know to generations of Taiwanese, who will soon be able to set foot on Dadan Island for the first time.
The Taiwanese military’s presence on Dadan and neighboring Erdan Island (二膽) dates back to 1949, when the Republic of China (ROC) government fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese Civil War to the Chinese Communist Party.
The islets were the site of a fierce battle on July 26, 1950, when China set its sights on capturing Taiwanese islands near China in the Taiwan Strait.
Communist forces fired a volley of shells before landing 700 soldiers on Dadan’s beaches.
Despite facing a larger invading force, 298 ROC soldiers and officers fought for more than 10 hours to emerge victorious the following day.
The 39 ROC soldiers posted on 0.28km2 Erdan Island also defended it against Chinese forces.
For many years, the islands continued to bear the brunt of exchanges of fire across the Taiwan Strait, including the Aug. 23 Artillery Battle of 1958, when more than 100,000 shells that were fired from China pummeled the tiny islets.
Administration of the islets, which lie just more than 4km from the Chinese city of Xiamen, was in 2014 transferred from the military to the county government.
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