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Paratroopers leap into action

0 CommentsPrint E-mail CCTV, November 12, 2009
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Today we take a look at China's Air Force's elite corps of airborne troops. As a special branch of the PLA Air Force with a strategic designation, the airborne division is tasked with responding to fast-developing emergencies and special missions.


May 14th, 2008, Sichuan Province. Two days after a devastating earthquake.

Paratroopers are the first to reach the isolated epicenter. The landing zone is on a high plateau, and the weather is terrible.

Within four hours, they send back their first report. They will be at the heart of the rescue and recovery operation for the next three months.

China's airborne troops have played a vanguard role in many disaster relief efforts, as well as in joint military exercises with foreign units.

Airborne Unit Commander of PLA Air Force, said, "If necessary, our troops can arrive in any part of China within several hours to carry out their mission."

The airborne corps was set up in 1950, and initially numbered a mere 6,000 courageous combat veterans selected from the entire People's Liberation Army.

In 1961, it was joined by an infantry division with combat experience in the Korean War.

Today, it has become a combined fighting force rather than just a mobile infantry corps, specializing in a wide range of roles, from artillery to engineering units.

All of its members, including medics and cooks, are trained in the combat skills required of all paratroopers.

The men are intensively trained, and their orders are simple -- move fast, survive the worst.

Li Fengbiao, Chief of Staff of PLA Air Force Airborne Troops, said, "We have improved the combat effectiveness of our troops step-by-step. We can perform all-around and rapid mobile operations under many difficult conditions."

China's airborne corps is one of the sharpest weapons in the country's armory, essential to safeguarding its national security and strategic interests.

In peacetime, China's airborne troops are given the country's most honorable title -- protectors of the people.


Paratroopers leap into action
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