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MND needs better reasons to enshrine pilots: minister

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) was not opposed to the military's proposal to have three pilots killed during a training last year to be enshrined at the Martyr's Shrine, Interior Minister Lee Hung-yuan said yesterday.

The MOI was simply asking the Ministry of National Defense (MND) to state more clearly the reasons for the three airmen's enshrinement, Lee said.

The Interior Ministry will process the MND's application in accordance with existing regulations once it has provided the required information, the minister noted.

Lee made the remarks yesterday after local media reported that the MOI has twice rejected the MND's proposal to have three pilots enshrined after they were killed during an F-5F crash last September.

The two twin-seater F-5F jets crashed into the mountains near Dongao (東澳) in eastern Yilan County during a nighttime tactical reconnaissance training operation on Sept. 13, 2011.

The three pilots on the planes were later confirmed dead after their remains were discovered.

The Air Force identified the pilots as Captain Hsiao Wen-min (蕭文民), Lieutenant Colonel Chang Chien-kuo (常建國) and Major Wang Hung-hsiang (王鴻祥).

Investigations of the incident showed that the three pilots had done their best at the final moments of the flight, trying to steer the jets out of the mountains.

The Air Force, therefore, believes the trio pilot should be entitled to be enshrined as national martyrs.

Currently, most of the national martyrs worshiped in the Martyrs' Shrine in Yuanshan, suburban Taipei are the 330,000 men and women who sacrificed their lives during the revolution to establish the Republic of China and who fell during the Sino-Japanese war and the Chinese Civil War.

But in recent years, those who have made contributions to the nation while sacrificing their lives for others can also be enshrined, regardless of whether they are military personnel or civilians, once approved by the MOI.

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