Date: Monday, September 3
The holiday provides a day off for members of the Armed Forces. These warriors, while still a conscription force, provide a credible and formidable deterrent force.
Based on GlobalFirepower index, Taiwan ranks 24 out of 136 nations in military strength. It is ahead of notable nations as Canada, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Norway, Singapore, and Belgium, just to name a few. It has 257,500 active duty (ranked #19) and 1,675,000 reserve personnel (ranked #6).
While we don’t have a military parade to look forward to, it is a great opportunity to highlight the presence of military-related installations in and around Kaohsiung.
ROCN (ROC Navy): Zuoying
Zuoying is the home of Taiwan’s largest naval base. It is capable of basing all ships in Taiwan’s Navy, to include Destroyers, Frigates, Submarines, Minesweepers, and Amphibious Landing Ships, and Support Ships.
On a historical note, there is a prominent installation in Fengshan which was the former Imperial Japanese Navy Fengshan Wireless Communications Station. The installation has evolved from interrogation center, prison, barracks, and now the monument belonging to the dependent’s association. It is open to the public on weekends from 0900 -1700 (https://goo.gl/maps/HzC1sQk6pCF2)
ROCAF (ROC Air Force): Gangshan
Gangshan hosts the Air Force Academy, a military university educating and training the future leaders of ROCAF. Attached to the Air Base is the ROCAF’s Institute of Technology. Similar to the United States Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). It provides postgraduate education in the field of technology for Air Force officers.
Not all of Gangshan Air Force Base is about education. The skies above Gangshan will erupt with thunder when the Taiwan’s only aerobatics team, THUNDER TIGER, take to the skies. It recently performed at an airshow in Chiayi on August 11th.
Finally, the Air Force museum outside the Academy provides a fantastic place for the public to learn more about the ROCAF. It features an impressive display of aircraft and is a great family-oriented attraction. The museum is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 09:00-16:30 (https://goo.gl/maps/moVbooYAn2M2).
ROCAF (ROC Air Force): Pingtung
The “Mighty Hercules” C-130 transport aircraft is based out of Pingtung; in fact, all of Taiwan’s 20 C-130s are based there: 19 -H model aircraft and 1 specially modified electronic warfare aircraft. They can be seen routinely flying over Kaohsiung and its shape is unmistakable from an airliner. The base also hosts a contingent of the Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft, the E2-T.
While Gangshan hosts the Air Foce Academy, Fengshan hosts the ROCMA (ROC Military Academy). Their creed is, “devotion, solidarity and duty.” It offers nine majors. The curriculum consists of 73 core units with an emphasis on English and 58 units of elective courses. To develop language proficiency, it has established exchanges with foreign military schools. The first cadet to study abroad, from the class of 1966, was at the Philippine Military Academy. Since then, it has established exchanges with West Point, the Unites States Army Academy.
Across the street from the Military Academy in Fengshan is the Chung Cheng Armed Forces Preparatory School (CCAFPS). It is the only senior high school that belongs to the Ministry of National Defense. CCAFPS was established in 1976 and has nurtured over 20,000 outstanding military officers.
A staff of My Kaohsiung was fortunate to have tutored a student from CCAFPS. From his experience….unlike public high schools,
ROCMC (ROC Marine Corp 中華民國海軍陸戰隊)
Tainan Air Base
Surplus Military Gear
For the military enthusiasts, there is a store near the schools that sells authentic military surplus gear: https://goo.gl/maps/yJADpz2mTbM2
My Kaohsiung plans to write a full featured article on the museum in the future, so stay tuned.