Saturday, April 9, 2011

Military Service

In 1961, all male college graduates were required to have one year of service in the military. Almost immediately after our graduation ceremony, I reported to the training camp for the armored corps in Taichung, at the military base Qing-Qurn-gong (清泉岗), which had been assigned to me earlier by the military government. The training time and place were determined by different branches of the military. I was there for three months, learning the rules (most of which were translated from the American military's "yellow book") and practicing how to drive a tank. Since gasoline was very expensive, we had only one actual rehearsal with the tank moving! We had about 42 people from different universities in my group. On the first day, the officer in charge appointed me as the leader of the reserve officers training class. Later, I asked him why he picked me as the class leader, since he did not know anyone in the class. He told me "you just looked like a leader". At the end of the three months training, we were all declared to be official reserve officers at the second lieutenant level and were issued officers' uniforms. Clearly this was an important event for the military. On the day when we became officers, many military dignitaries were there to take a picture with us. We had no idea who they were. In the picture below, I was sitting in the front row at the right end with my training officer, who was the only one person we knew and feared!

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