Tibetan soldiers strengthen top regiment
Updated: 2014-04-25 08:02
By Hu Yongqi in Yunnan province (China Daily)
|Lhagpa Dondrub of the Tibetan ethnic group participates in a military exercise in May 2013. LUO YU / FOR CHINA DAILY|
Lhagpa Dondrub takes target practice in April 2013. He was promoted to company commander because of his excellent performance and sent to study at a military school. LUO YU / FOR CHINA DAILY
Last year, 15 women were enlisted from Xigaze, along with another 55 men, said Chime Drolgar. She is now in her second year and training to launch anti-tank missiles.
She said many of her friends dream of joining the army to broaden their horizons and change their destiny. Many might otherwise become herdswomen. A popular drama about young Chinese female soldiers inspired her to try for the army, she said.
Believing that her family would not support her decision, Chime Drolgar filled out a military application form in secret and took the test. But she miswrote her name on the answer sheet and worried about being disqualified.
The local soldier recruitment office suggested that her family drive to catch up with the examiners on their way to Lhasa, capital of the autonomous region, to make the correction.
With little choice, Chime Drolgar called her oldest brother for help, and her sheet was intercepted and revised at the last minute. That night, Chime Drolgar talked to her parents to convince them.
Life in the regiment was nothing like home for Chime Drolgar, the youngest of eight siblings who was frequently excused from housework. She now has to do everything on her own, including making her bed in strict accordance with regimental requirements.
Ethnic minority soldiers seem to naturally possess physical advantages that an artillery regiment requires, Zhu said.
"For example, Tibetan soldiers have wonderful endurance for tough running and carrying missiles. Kids in Yi ethnic villages throw rocks to direct sheep, and as soldiers are particularly good at throwing hand grenades, pretty far and accurately. Those are desirable capabilities because an artilleryman needs to take aim at flying targets," Zhu said.
In his first year, Tashi Phuntsog was tasked with loading cartridges into cannons because of his muscular arms. He also attracted his commanders' attention when he won first prize in a 5,000-meter foot race the next year.
He was transferred to a self-carried missile company and trained to use a more complicated weapon that can hit a flying object at 5,000 meters.
The once-shy soldier started to ask questions of commanders and fellow soldiers to figure out solutions to technical problems. While other soldiers were playing basketball, he could be seen studying a book.
Based on his excellent performance in tests last year, Tashi Phuntsog was given a top noncommissioned-officer award by the Central Military Commission. He is confident of further promotions.
"My goal is to serve in national defense. I must impress the regimental leadership," Tashi Phuntsog said. "Two of my fellow soldiers have been promoted. I cannot be left behind."
Guo Anfei contributed to this story.