TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A public memorial ceremony was held Tuesday morning (Jan. 14) at Taiwan Air Force headquarters in Taipei to pay tribute to the military officers who lost their lives in the recent Black Hawk helicopter crash.
Earlier this month, an Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, which carried military personnel to a base in Yilan County for a pre-Lunar New Year inspection, went down in the mountains of Wulai District in New Taipei. Among the 13 officers aboard, eight were killed, including Taiwan's Chief of the General Staff Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴).
The memorial service was attended by numerous Taiwan government officials and political leaders, including President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁), Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Minister of National Defense Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發), Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊), as well as Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Den-yih (吳敦義). American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Brent Christensen and U.S. Air Force representative Matthew Isler were also present, reported Liberty Times.
During her speech, Tsai conveyed her condolences to the families of the late officers and said their deaths were a big loss to the country. She said that all of Taiwan's 23 million people were shared the sadness of the loss.
The president emphasized that Taiwan's military has her full support as she announced the three salary reward programs initiated by Shen have been approved by the Cabinet. Tsai said the compensation for military personnel has also been raised to recognize their sacrifices for Taiwan.
Tsai ended her speech with a bow, acknowledging the eight deceased officers for "completing their duties" as guardians of the country. She added that "Taiwan will forever be grateful" for the contributions made by the eight officers, reported CNA.