Profile: Military life on fast lane-Xinhua

Profile: Military life on fast lane

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-05-14 12:21:15

GUANGZHOU, May 14 (Xinhua) -- At dawn on a snow-covered plateau, a Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force automobile regiment was engaging in a vital long-distance transportation support drill. Suddenly, a semi-trailer approaching from the opposite direction abruptly veered to dodge falling rocks, only to rush head-on to the troop vehicles at a treacherous bend.

Senior Sergeant second class Xiang Yuedong reacted swiftly, twisting the steering wheel, causing the outer front wheel to veer off the roadbed, and sending the vehicle careening towards the cliff's edge.

In this dire moment, the young soldier displayed remarkable calm and proficiency. He swung the steering wheel back with a rapid yet precise maneuver, instantly stabilizing the vehicle and redirecting it to its original path. A narrow escape ensued as the left rearview mirror of his vehicle scraped against the semi-trailer, yet both vehicles managed to pass each other safely.

Xiang was born in 1996 into a military family in Hubei Province. Influenced by his family, Xiang enlisted in the army in September 2013. The new recruit began learning how to drive in his first year in the armed forces and discovered a natural talent for driving. He now serves at a military unit of the Strategic Support Force in south China.

Young yet highly skilled, he has distinguished himself by winning multiple military competitions. Xiang has received honors from the Central Military Commission, the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League, the Logistic Support Force, among other units. He has also received second-class and third-class merits.

Having participated in multiple military competitions, Xiang vividly remembers training for and participating in an international military competition for armored vehicles racing in 2021.

After being selected as a contestant in the International Army Games 2021 with a chance of one in ten, Xiang immediately put all his time and energy into training.

At the training track, there was a notorious section known as the "devil's bend," where two fellow soldiers had previously suffered injuries after losing control and veering off the track. This challenging curve had defied all attempts to break the elusive 58-second track record.

Yet, Xiang was undeterred and determined to push the boundaries. With each attempt, he relentlessly pushed the limits, inching closer to the maximum speed. His vehicle had collided with the barriers and veered off the track multiple times, but he did not give up.

After wearing down numerous sets of tires, Xiang's vehicle finally conquered the "devil's bend," narrowly brushing against the barriers and successfully setting a brand-new record of 56 seconds.

When he finally stood at the competition venue of the "International Military Games 2021" stage 3 captain contest of Masters of Armored Vehicles in the scorching August heat of Voronezh Oblast, Russia, it was only fitting that Xiang, with his exceptional driving skills and mental fortitude, claimed the championship and smashed the world record.

Xiang recalled, reflecting on this experience, "Before the competition starts, I often feel nervous. However, during competition, I often feel serenity. As long as I focus on the tasks at hand, I can set aside any other emotions."

All the intense training took its toll on this young soldier, subjecting Xiang to the torment of lumbar muscle strain, herniated discs, and tinnitus. But he never complains.

"Xiang always faces difficulties head-on and rises to the challenge," said Luo Yunwei, Xiang's former company commander. In Luo's memory, Xiang has always been the last to leave the training field.

To unwind from intense training, Xiang enjoys playing basketball and strumming the guitar in his spare time. "After a day of high-pressure training, I often play the guitar and sing songs at night," he said.

The post-95 soldier also has a talent for composing. His songs cover themes such as military life, longing for his hometown, and love. During his training period in the highlands, he brought along his guitar and wrote a song praising a type of tree that grows on the plateau, which has since gained widespread popularity within his unit.

Xiang not only shines on the racing track, but has also been selected as a formation pacesetter for the military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China and a delegate to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2022.

The young soldier humbly attributes his achievements to military reform, the platform and opportunities provided by the army, and scientific training.

"In times of peace, we have our own ways of serving as military personnel. Firstly, there is the preparation for combat training. Secondly, we showcase the image of the PLA on the international stage, ensuring that we live up to the hope of our people, ourselves, and our country," Xiang said.