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July 23, 2017

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Air Force jets flyover is set to feature at baseball game

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A military jet flyover will be staged before a local professional baseball game tomorrow in northern Taoyuan County to honor R.O.C. service personnel ahead of Sept. 3, Taiwan's Armed Forces Day, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced yesterday.

In collaboration with the local Chinese Professional Baseball League's (CPBL, 中華職棒) Lamigo Monkeys, special celebration events will be staged at Thursday's games at the Monkey's home stadium, the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium, the MND announced at a press conference yesterday.

The series of special events include an Air Force military jet flyover above the stadium ahead of a CPBL regular season game, Huang Kai-shen (黃開森), deputy head of MND's Political Warfare Bureau said.

The military jet flyover will feature five Mirage 2000 military jets, the MND said.

"The initiative for launching such events was proposed by the Lamigo Monkeys last year," said Huang. Huang thanked the ball club for the "meaningful" event honoring service personnel ahead of Armed Forces Day.

As part of the celebrations, the national anthem will be sung and there will be performances by Army Special Forces before the game between the Monkeys and the EDA Rhinos, Huang said.

All members of the Lamigo Monkeys will be also wearing special Army camouflage-patterned baseball jerseys at the game. Selected military personnel will be given the opportunity to throw the first pitch at the game in thanks for their distinguished performances, he added.

The MND will also stage a recruitment pavilion outside the baseball stadium in an attempt to recruit more young Taiwanese men and women into the R.O.C. Armed Forces as voluntary soldiers, Huang said.

To honor soldiers and their families for protecting the country, the ball club also announced the giving away of tickets to honorary representatives so that they can watch the game.

First Ever Fighter Jet Flyover before a Sporting Event

Asked to comment on the flyover ahead of a sporting event, which is reportedly be for the first time in Taiwan's history, military spokesman Luo Shao-ho said the Air Force has conducted careful evaluations for a year to make sure it can be carried out safely.

The MND has previously held several rounds of military aircraft flyovers during major celebrations and base-opening events, thus accumulating the necessary experience, he said.

He added that the military is happy to repeat such demonstrations in the future as long as it will not jeopardize regular training and national security.

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