Taiwan’s Chief of Staff, General Shen Yiming, who died in the January 2 air crash, and the 8 officers and soldiers held a public ceremony at the headquarters of the Songshan Base in Taipei on Tuesday (January 14). The public laying ceremony was presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that Li Yingjie, Director of the American Association in Taiwan, and Brigadier General Matthew C. Isler, who are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, were present to pay their respects. In addition, about 90 officials from 11 countries including France, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay, Honduras, Singapore and Australia participated in the event.
In his speech, Tsai Ing-wen expressed condolences to the families of the victims and said that their death was a major loss to Taiwan. Tsai Ing-wen said that the 23 million people in Taiwan are saddened by their passing. Tsai Ing-wen also announced that the three air force award programs proposed by Shen Yiming have been approved by the Executive Yuan.
After the public laying ceremony, three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and four Mirage 2000 fighters took off in a formation to pay tribute to the soldiers who died.
The appearance of Brigadier General Eisler, a representative of the U.S. Department of Defense, is particularly eye-catching. Taiwan media said that this is the first time an active US military officer has visited Taiwan in recent years. Eisler is currently the Director of the Office of Regional Affairs, the Deputy Secretary of International Affairs of the US Air Force.