Leader of Taiwan's historic Black Bat squadron passes away

Black Bat Squadron leader Chao Chin passes away at 97, remembered for his bravery during Cold War

Black Bat Squadron leader Chao Chin attends a ceremony in 1992.

Black Bat Squadron leader Chao Chin attends a ceremony in 1992. (CNA photo)

The military confirmed Sunday (July 12) evening that Chao Chin (趙欽), leader of the Air Force’s historic 34th Squadron (aka Black Bats), passed away at the age of 97.

As a pilot in the legendary squadron, Chao and his cohorts flew deep into Chinese territory to perform secret operations during the Cold War. He was later recognized as a national hero for his service and contribution to maintaining national security, CNA reported.

Youth Daily News recently reported that regardless of his personal safety, Chao carried out special reconnaissance missions deep behind enemy lines. His exemplary conduct and bravery set a high standard for the nation’s armed forces.

The Black Bat Squadron was established in 1953 with the aim of inserting secret agents and gathering military signal intelligence in China. Over a span of 14 years, the squadron flew more than 800 surveillance missions.

In total, the Black Bats lost as many as 148 pilots, which was the highest number of casualties the Air Force suffered amongst all its special operations squadrons, according to CNA.

Hsinchu City Government completed construction of the Black Bat Memorial Hall and Dongda Flight Park in 2018, where the Black Bat Squadron barracks were originally located. During the opening ceremony, many of the squadron’s members gathered together and threw paper planes to commemorate this significant period in Taiwan’s history.