Face, correct mistakes to build better military: Ma

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By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday called on the R.O.C. Armed Forces to honestly face their mistakes and correct them in order to build a sounder system within the military in the wake of the latest military scandal that marred the image of Taiwan’s military. Making his address during a conferral ceremony to promote senior military officials, the president gave pep talks to encourage all military personnel to remain in high spirits despite a recent incident that has largely tarnished the image of the military as a whole.

The incident Ma was referring to was a high-profile scandal in which a pilot of the Taoyuan-based Army Aviation Special Forces 601st Brigade allowed civilians to take photographs of an AH-64E Apache helicopter without going through the proper channels.

Using the Apache incident as an example, Ma called on soldiers to learn from the experience and amend the mistakes. ��We all make mistakes; the important thing is that we should learn from our mistakes,�� he said. Instead of feeling upset, the president said the military should face up to the incident, make amends and reform and to make sure similar cases will not happen again. Commanding officers of military units should not be afraid of washing his or her dirty laundry in public, the president added. Only by facing their problems will the R.O.C. Armed Forces continue to build a sounder system and become more capable of defending the country, he said. Meanwhile, the president said the nation’s ongoing push to convert its military into fully volunteer force is going smoothly as the government has approved waves of pay raises, launched military reforms and built a more comfortable environment for soldiers, all of which serve as better incentives for signing up. These reforms have proven successful in boosting recruitment as the numbers show that a record high of 15,024 men and women have decided to join the armed forces as volunteer soldiers in 2014. The recruitment is also going smoothly this year, he said, adding that the military is confident of gradually but steadily meeting the transformation goal. Ma made the comments during a ceremony in Taipei to mark the promotion of 29 senior military officers to the ranks of major general, or one-star general, and lieutenant general, or two-star general. Of the 29, seven were promoted to the rank of lieutenant general. They are listed under the MND, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) and National Security Bureau (NSB). Another 22 people were to be promoted to the rank of major general, the MND said. They are from the MND, CGA, NSB as well as the Ministry of Education (MOE).

New 542rd Brigade Commander Among the newly promoted one-star generals are Maj. Gen. Liu Wei-hsin (�B�ªY), commander of the Army’s 542nd Brigade. Liu, 46, is the youngest general in active service in the R.O.C. Armed Forces. Liu took over the post from his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Yu Pei-chen (�_�_��), who retired from his military career earlier this year due to health problems. The 542nd Brigade has been put under the media spotlight following the death of Army Cpl. Hung Chung-chiu (�x���C), a member of the brigade, in July 2013.