Ho Yi-shih and Huang Chia-hui from number 586 armored brigade of number 10 unit have challenged and proved themselves to be just as capable as a man can be in defensing our national security. (photographed by journalist Cho Yi-li from Military News Agency)

The First Female Tank Soldiers (Crew) Join the Armored Troops Where They Challenge themselves Bravely and Fearlessly

Publication Date: 2017/05/06

(reported by journalist Cho Yi-li from Military News Agency on May 6th in Taichung)Ever since last year when our national army started to recruit the females soldiers to join equally in armored troops training, the present corporal Ho Yi-shih from number 586 brigade of number 10 unit and her companion tank loader officer Huang Chia-hui, have showed their outstanding skill and remarkable persistency by undergoing an unceasingly painstaking training through which they have challenged and proved themselves, to be just as capable as a man can be.

Ho Yi-shih was graduated from Army Academy R.O.C. in 2016, and was then distributed into number 586 brigade of number 10 unit. She started taking “tank crew’s lessons” and other tactical trainings when entering Taiwan Armor (armor training school) in the same October. The training went smoothly till the end of February 2017, the time when she began her life as a formal soldier in a regular (tank) armored troop full of male partners as most of her colleagues. Just like other female officers who freshly joined the manly troop, Ho Yi-shih felt a sense of detachment and strangeness.

To overcome the obstacle encountered when managing “brake pressure” was considered to be the toughest training technique among all tank driving lessons by Ho Yi-shih. The driver was only allowed to step on the pedal by employing one single foot, but the figures shown on pressure gauge were still required to reach the normal standard of 750 to 900 PSI. If one had failed to pass the criterion, one would be disqualified in driving a tank, otherwise it might be just as dangerous as it could be. Given that this basic ability was a necessity, she tried to work out and do some related exercise to improve the power and energy of her legs and feet.

“We kind of have a slogan called “slap from the front and shoot from the back” in dealing with a tank, which I will always remember when I am driving,” said Ho Yi-shih, “And driving in a tank will probably be the most unique experience throughout my whole life.” Indeed. When her friends learned that she was a tank driver, they all regarded her as the coolest girl ever.

Lady Huang Chia-hui was also one of the pioneering female tank loader officers who joined the national army in first place. Same as Ho Yi-shih, she too received the fundamental trainings at Taiwan Armor (armor training school). After having passed various examinations of war preparedness in troops, she has now become a “veteran” tank driver.

Not merely has Huang Chia-hui obtained the qualification of an armored soldier, but passed the training courses for tank loaders as well. The real projectiles and shells on a genuine tank are at an average weight of 26 kilograms in total, thus the authentic ones which are used during simulated trainings ought to be pretty much the same. In order to bear the heaviness of these weapons, she has thrown herself into an everyday physical training.

The crew of a tank is formed by four officers who are all packed into the tiny little space like sardines; nevertheless, Huang Chia-hui can still load 105mm (simulated version of) heat shells (high-explosive, anti-tank) with ease, following the designated procedure flawlessly. Carrying and transporting the shells up and down the same vehicle with her colleagues, she fulfills her duties just as others do.

Talking about the difference between driving a tank and an automobile, Huang Chia-hui has pointed out the diversity of the steering wheel. For an automobile, the wheel is in the shape of a circle, as for a tank, the wheel of which is more like a grip of a bicycle. The other huge contrast is the force that is harnessed to step on the brakes: when one steps on the brake of a car, one can use only slight strength of the foot; but when tackling with the brake of a tank, one should exhaust all the power of his or her body so that the gigantic vehicle can be stopped.

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