By Zhu Hong
Wu Jiong, a 90-year-old lady, likes to sit in the yard and enjoy the sunshine in the morning at a nursing home in Heping District, Tianjin. Most of the seniors who chat with her did not know that this old lady was ever a combat medic in the Chinese People’s Volunteers troops and honored with the Second-class Merit for her bravery and dedication in saving the lives of the wounded CPV soldiers in the Battle of Shangganling during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-1953).
Born in Zhongxian County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Wu joined the People's Liberation Army in 1950 and received healthcare professional training before serving as a military medic. When the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) went abroad to participate in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, Wu asked to go to the front line and was assigned to work as a medic in a company of 45th Division, 15th Army of CPV in September 1951. She was a girl of only 18 at that time.
She cut her hair short and pressed it into her military cap. No one recognized that she was the only female soldier in the company.
In October 1952, Wu's company received an order to head for Shangganling. Wu said that the Battle of Shangganling was her hardest memory.
One time, an air-raid shelter in the CPV troops’ position was unfortunately hit by a napalm bomb dropped by the enemy plane. Despite the machine-gun fire and the mountain fire, Wu rushed into the shelter and carried the injured soldiers back to a hidden place. She found a burned soldier in a cave. When everyone thought he had died, Wu found that he still had a weak pulse, and immediately conducted first aid treatment for him. Due to the lack of medicine for burn wound, she applied snow water to his burnt area. Thanks to her day-and-night meticulous care, the burnt soldier’s conditions got better and better. In 1997, Yao Xuda, the burnt soldier rescued by her and was then living in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province, reunited with Wu Jiong in Tianjin. At the first sight of each other, the two veterans, both in CPV uniforms, were speechless with emotion and hugged each other tight.
Wu Jiong was granted the Second-class Merit by the CPV’s 15 Army after the Battle of Shangganling. As the only heroine among the 6 representatives of the 15th Army, she was selected into the delegation of the CPV returning to China for the May Day celebration in 1953.
After returning from DPRK, Wu Jiong was assigned to a military hospital in Wuhan and worked there as a doctor for years before leaving the army and moving to Tianjin to reunite with her husband. She retired in Tianjin in 1988 and registered to be a volunteer in the community in 1989. She helped more than 320 old people over the age of 60 in the community by visiting them regularly. She also compiled health handbooks and distributed them among the residents in the community for free. She was always ready to offer help to the residents at any time.
In 2013, on her 80th birthday, Wu solemnly told her family a longtime wish: She wanted to donate her body for medical research after death. Witnessed by the staff of the Red Cross, she filled out a registration form for voluntary donation that year.
Wu Jiong said that her comrades-in-arms who fought tenaciously in the battlefield in Korea were most young men under 20, and compared with those CPV martyrs, she has enjoyed too much from life.