The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said that military-issued equipment and weaponry are sufficient for combat and personal protection, adding that soldiers and officers are prohibited from using personal equipment purchased elsewhere.
The ministry said that, in accordance with the Armed Forces Uniforms Act (陸海空軍服制條例) and internal management regulations, soldiers and officers must conform to the dress code for active service personnel to meet the need for identification in combat situations, as well as maintaining required standards for appearance.
The ministry issued the statement in response to media reports of complaints made by Marine Corps commander Lieutenant Colonel Hsu Cheng-yi (許誠宜), who said military-issued equipment and weaponry are not to his satisfaction in terms of protection and performance, leading him to spend NT$130,000 on accoutrements and other upgrades to improve his field combat wear and equipment.
Hsu, a Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit squadron commander, also posted pictures on Facebook of his accessorized T91 assault rifle, which had been augmented with a 3X telescopic sight and a forward grip, a US-made combat helmet, a bulletproof flak jacket and a Safariland 6004 tactical handgun holster.
Hsu said the pictures were taken when leading his squadron on field combat drills during the Han Kuang military exercises (漢光演習) earlier this month.
Hsu said that he spent his own money on the equipment to match the standards of amphibious reconnaissance counterparts in the US Marines, which he had trained with at US bases in the past.
“As military-issued equipment and weaponry does not meet expectations in terms of quality or performance, as the commanding officer of my unit, I wanted to set a good example by upgrading my equipment,” Hsu wrote on Facebook. “I hope the soldiers in my unit are dedicated fighting men like me, who are willing to invest in themselves.”
He also criticized military officials for focusing on troops’ dress code and visual appearance, saying they should consider providing soldiers with equipment and weaponry.
The ministry said in its statement that programs are already in place to replace old and outdated equipment in all branches of the armed forces, adding that its goal is to upgrade equipment and weaponry so that it is on a par with the US and other advanced nations.
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