'King of Soldiers' keeps up with tech
Updated: 2015-04-15 07:18
By Zhao Shengnan(China Daily)
Master sergeant admired for ability to teach technical skills to members of PLA artillery force
Wang Zhongxin, a junior middle school graduate, has the rank and expertise to operate some of the China's most sophisticated weapon systems.
Wang, 47, is a master sergeant class one, the highest of the noncommissioned officer ranks, and is nicknamed "King of Soldiers" by the men of the People's Liberation Army Second Artillery Force, a strategic force equipped with both nuclear and conventional missiles.
He modestly says he has always felt under pressure to keep up with the constant upgrading of military hardware.
"I guess they gave me the nickname because I am the oldest among these soldiers," Wang said. "The older soldiers like me can play a role in the army by resolving technical problems and teaching younger soldiers."
Wang is also a national lawmaker.
His 29 years in the army have coincided with a drive to modernize that has seen the Second Artillery Force make key upgrades to its hardware.
A pilot program was under-taken in December to give sergeants a greater role in daily training, management and education. So Wang, who is responsible for missile tracking, became more important.
Wang, from a rural area in Anhui province, did not attend primary school until the age of 9 and was first introduced to technology when he entered a military academy in 1988.
He studied hard but readily admits he has always been driven by the fear of being left behind.
That has never happened. In fact, he has set the pace and contributed to more than 20 military textbooks considered essential reading for missile tracking.
Wang, as head of a squad of seven soldiers, is not content to rest on his laurels and hopes to continue teaching and passing on his knowledge to the younger members.
The army has offered a slew of preferential policies to draw college students to join in recent years - such as free education if they complete two years in the army - but Wang wants more done to keep them.
"The participation of college students is excellent news, but it is sometimes difficult for them to stay in the army for a long time because most are an only child," he said.
Wang would like his 17-year-old daughter, Wang Yang, his only child, to join the army after graduating from high school this year, but she dreams of becoming a journalist.
"She has suffered from my limited care during her childhood and knows the demands army life can make on families," he said.
"I can understand the concerns of the younger generation, and I hope those who would like to commit will come and join us."
(China Daily 04/15/2015 page6)