'Hard-boned' unit targets continued success

China Daily
Li Wei
2020-07-29 23:41:19
An amphibious assault vehicle takes part in war games. LI BIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Driving forces

Chen said the company has three driving forces: the mentality to defeat all enemies; the tenacity to deal with all obstacles; and the stamina to stick things out until the very end. In the past, these attributes were manifested on the battlefield, but today they are integrated into daily training drills, contests and each soldier's will to surpass expectations.

In 2017, the company was invited to join the Lingnan Top Soldier competition, a military contest covering the Army Group in Lingnan (which encompasses the provinces of Guangdong and Hainan, plus the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region).

Having just settled in Guangdong, the company was the underdog and faced unfamiliar activities, opponents, terrain and climate.

Wang Yicun, a squad leader, said the only way to win the games would be to train around the clock.

Every day, the soldiers got up at 5am and ran for 3 km. During the day, each soldier carried a 25-kg rucksack and did cross-country runs of 8 to 15 km along unfamiliar routes, and then ran 10 km fully armed before doing strength training in the evenings.

The company excelled in the contest, which consisted of three individual events and one all-around competition. It took first place in two of the individual events and also won gold in the all-around event.

In 2018, Wang Donglin, one of the company's squad leaders, won through several tough selection rounds to compete in the Safe Environment competition at the International Army Games in Russia.

The Safe Environment competition is highly technical and involves radiation and chemical defense, so seven of the nine participants were members of a chemical defense brigade. The 25-year-old Wang Donlin, a member of an infantry regiment, was one of only two nonspecialists selected.

Though he had a fragment of loose cartilage in his right knee, Wang Donlin chose to cover up the condition during training, simply pressing the cartilage back into position every time it protruded.

Many examples of such endurance abound in the company's history. Although it has been many decades since it has been involved in combat, the officers and soldiers are like arrows on bowstrings, ready to shoot at any time.

Rucksacks sit on every bed in the dormitory at all times. Each contains essential materials for field operations, so the soldiers are ready to set out at a moment's notice.

To encourage the soldiers to inherit the fighting spirit of their predecessors, each squad and platoon is named after a war hero.

Lin Kang, a 28-year-old squad leader who has served in the PLA for 10 years, said life in the company can be tough, but the physical hardship is similar to that in any other company. Instead, the pressure comes from being a member of such an exulted unit and the weight of expectation associated with that status.

"Wherever we are deployed people expect more from us because we are from the sixth company. That means our standards must be higher and we must appear straighter, more forceful and energetic," he said.

"We subconsciously force ourselves to meet all expectations."


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