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The 02 January 2020 Helicopter Crash Memorial

Political Warfare Bureau,M.N.D.PostDate: 2020/04/01

On the first work day after the New Year's Day holiday, the Chief of the General Staff General Shen I-Ming, accompanied by several ranking officers, boarded a UH-60M helicopter flight, heading toward the Dongaoling radar station in Yilan County for a readiness inspection and to express appreciation to the troops on duty during the holiday. Tragically, the flight ended in a crash that claimed the lives of eight individuals. Immediately after the initial notification, the Ministry of National Defense dispatched a search and rescue force and led a taskforce to serve as first responders.
The eight officers onboard that lost their lives in the line of duty are:
General First Class (posthumously) Shen I-Ming, ROC Air Force, Chief of the General Staff,
Sergeant Major Han Cheng-Hung, ROC Army, Command Sergeant Major of the General Staff,
Lieutenant General (posthumously) Yu Chin-Wen, ROC Air Force, Deputy Director General, Political Warfare Bureau,
Lieutenant General (posthumously) Hung Hung-Chun, ROC Army, Assistant Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence,
Colonel (posthumously) Yeh Chien-Yi, ROC Air Force, helicopter pilot,
Lieutenant Colonel (posthumously) Huang Sheng-Hang, ROC Air Force, aide-de-camp to the CGS,
Major (posthumously) Liu Chen-Fu, ROC Air Force, co-pilot, and
Chief Master Sergeant (posthumously) Hsu Hung-Pin, ROC Air Force, crew chief.

President Tsai Ing-Wen issued guidance on ensuring "stability among the military and the people, security of Taiwan and the peripheral areas, and comprehensive inspection of all military equipment." On Jan. 9th, the Chu-Kuang televised military educational program aired an edition of "Defender of the Nation, Lasting Examples" that included a speech by the Minister of National Defense to stabilize morale of the armed forces.
At the crash site, the survivors struggled to rescue those trapped in the helicopter cabin. Staff Sergeant Chen Ying-Chu, a reporter from the Military News Agency, provided updates on the situation in real time despite suffering a bone fracture on her left ankle and being trapped in the cabin. Lieutenant General Tsao Chin-Pin whistled continuously to help the search and rescue team pinpoint their location.
When the rescuers arrived, Lieutenant General Tsao, along with Major General Liu Hsiao-Tang, and Lieutenant Colonel Zhou Xin-Yi, briefed the rescuers on the situation, ignoring their enormous physical pains. Aide-de-camp to the CGS, Lieutenant Colonel Huang Sheng-Hang, was found protecting General Shen in the moment of pressing danger.

The pilot, Colonel Yeh Chien-Yi, co-pilot Major Liu Chen-Fu, and crew chief Chief Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-Pin, struggled to the last minute to steady the helicopter, demonstrating a respectable sense of duty. All those onboard that day demonstrated their camaraderie and tenacity in the face of significant difficulties. They exemplified the characters of military personnel and the kind of unbreakable bond forged between servicemen on the battlefield.
In honor of the eight officers who devoted their lives in dutiful service to our country, this memorial is erected to reflect on their heroic and honorable contributions to national security.

The People and the Military Paying Respect
Multiple memorial events were organized to express respect and gratitude to the lost heroes' patriotism and for the devotion of their lives to serve the country, the people and the armed forces, including posthumous promotions, a Taipei Guest House memorial service, a roadside salute to the heroes' hearses, and public funeral service. The public events were attended by large numbers of people who not only offered consolation to the heroic souls and the bereaved families, but to also demonstrate the close ties between the people and the military.

I. Posthumous Promotion
General Shen I-Ming was awarded with the Order of the Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon and promoted to the rank of General First Class of the ROC Air Force.
Command Sergeant Major Han Cheng-Hung was awarded with the Order of Resplendent Banner with Ribbon.
Major General Yu Chin-Wen was awarded with the Order of Resplendent Banner with Special Cravat and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General of the ROC Air Force.
Major General Hung Hung-Chun was awarded with the Order of Resplendent Banner with Special Cravat and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General of the ROC Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-Yi was awarded with the Medal of Victorious Garrison, A-Second Class and promoted to the rank of Colonel of the ROC Air Force.
Major Huang Sheng-Hang was awarded with the Medal of Victorious Garrison, A-Second Class and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the ROC Air Force.
Captain Liu Chen-Fu was awarded with the Medal of Victorious Garrison, B-Second Class and promoted to the rank of Major of the ROC Air Force.
Crew Chief Senior Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-Pin was awarded with the Medal of Victorious Garrison, B-Second Class and promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant of the ROC Air Force.

II. Taipei Guest House Memorial Service
At the Taipei Guest House, a memorial service was set up from Jan. 3rd to 7th. At 2000 on the 3rd, President Tsai Ing-Wen presented flowers and candles to the eight officers and read through their biographical notes displayed at the site. President Tsai also completed the unfinished journey for General Shen and the other officers by travelling to the Dongaoling radar station. During the service time, many citizens brought their families to mourn for the heroes. A young mother told her child, "because of them, we can stand here today." Many more people made cards and paper cranes and tearfully expressed their gratefulness to the sacrificed officers. More than 12 thousand people went to the service. Over 62 hundred notes were left on the message board. Also, on the evening of Jan. 3rd, Taipei 101 displayed a tribute to the heroes on its facade: "Sorrowful tribute to the Chief of the General Staff. Members of the armed forces, thank you for devoting your lives to safeguard our homeland. All the citizens are your families. Solemn respect to the armed forces."

III. Roadside salute
On Jan. 13th, the hearses of the eight officers departed from the mourning hall to the Air Force Song-Shan Command. The hearses passed by the Ministry of National Defense, Air Force Headquarters, and Navy Headquarters for the eight officers to take a last look of their duty posts. President Tsai Ing-Wen and National Defense Minister Yen De-Fa led a group of over 850 military personnel standing in front of the MND to salute to the eight officers. Over a thousand people waved national flags and banners on the roadside to pay respect to the officers.
On Jan. 14th, the hearses departed from the funeral service at 1230 toward the Second Funeral Parlor of Taipei City, with over a thousand people and school children lining up along the road to bid farewell.

IV. Public Funeral Service
On Jan. 14th, at the Air Force Song-Shan Command, a public funeral service was held when national flags were lowered at half-mast across the country. President Tsai personally paid respect and awarded the posthumous advancement of ranks, decorations and citations. Over a thousand people, including central government officials, active and retired officers and soldiers, members of diplomatic missions and the general public, were present at the funeral. Prior to the departure of the hearses, three UH-60M helicopters performed a low altitude flyover; four Mirage 2000-5 fighters flew over the funeral hall when the 3rd wingman abruptly pulled up out of the formation toward the sky. This "missing man formation" carried the meaning that the spirit of the fallen officers remains in the sky and their souls rest in peace. Lastly, following a 19-cannon salute by an Army battery, the hearses departed toward the Second Funeral Parlor.
Respectfully by the ROC Ministry of National Defense
March 29th, 2020

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