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September 25, 2017

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MND announces qualification of military's new paratroopers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A total of 15 military trainees completed their sixth jumps earlier this week in southern Kaohsiung City to officially become qualified paratroopers, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.

The MND made public the news in the form of a series of photographs released on the military spokesman's official Facebook page yesterday.

The latest jump was made in the air above the Chung Liao (中寮) mountainous area in the southern city of Kaohsiung on Tuesday, according to the captions of the photos on the Facebook page.

Among the freshly qualified paratroopers is 20-year-old Hsieh Chun-ping (謝純萍), the only female trainee among the 15, according to the Chinese-language United Evening News report yesterday.

Hsieh told the newspaper that she voluntarily joined the training course that was organized by R.O.C. Army Airborne Training Center.

Like all the other trainees, Hsieh had to complete six jumps before winning her paratrooper badge.

A soldier must complete three jumps, including a no-load and a full-combat-load jump, at a paratrooper training ground located in Chaojhou Township of Pingtung County (屏東潮洲) before they do another three jumps at Chung Liao, where they need to face landing in a mountainous area, according to the report.

Hsieh said that during her first jump in Chung Liao, she was caught at a 5-meter-tall treetop and was nearly injured when she tried to remove her gear.

She was happy to be able to qualify as a paratrooper and she said one day she hopes to become a member of the skydivers from the Army Airborne Training Center, better known as Team Mighty Dragon (神龍小組).

Only the most elite paratroopers can join the team that often stages performances at major national celebrations or military base-opening events.

Hsieh is not the first female paratrooper. There have been a number of qualified women paratroopers before her after the Army decided to allow female soldiers to join such training. One of them is now serving on Team Mighty Dragon.

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