Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let heroic tales be remembered

Wang Wei-chung, a famous local TV producer, was reported to plan making a movie about Black Cat and Black Bat Squadrons. I was thrilled to read about this on the newspaper and I think this would be a film long overdue.

During the Cold War period, the US was so desperate to gather electronic intelligence about Communist China that they turned to the Nationalist China in Taiwan for help. As a result, Black Bat Squadron, the nickname of the 34th Squadron of the Republic of China Air Force, was commissioned right after the end of Korean War in 1953. With the aircraft, mostly B-17s, B-26s, P-2Vs, and C-123s and electronic detecting equipments supplied by the US and the crew selected from the ROC Air Force, the 34th flew low-altitude reconnaissance missions over mainland China. Although considerable amount of intelligence was acquired, the price was paid dearly. Until the squadron disbanded at the end of 1974, among the 838 sorties flown, the 34th sustained a rather high casualty rate, 148 men killed and 15 planes lost. For their missions were highly classified, it was not until 1992 that some of the families of the flight crew killed were told the truth of their lost loved ones.

The Black Cat Squadron was the nickname of the 35th Squadron of the ROC Air Force. The 35th, operation on US-made U2s, began flying high-altitude reconnaissance missions over China in 1961. Vital information and photos about Communist China’s tests of her nuclear bombs and military installations were brought back. From 1961 to 1974, among 220 sorties flew, 12 U2s and ten pilots were lost.

The Cold War was ended some twenty years ago and the tension on both sides of the Taiwan Strait has been loosening ever since, but we shall not forget the sacrifice of those flyers of the 34th and the 35th Squadrons. Without them, it is impossible for us to enjoy our freedom and democratic ways of lives here in Taiwan.

No comments: