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Generals helm formations for parade

By Xinhua (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-04 07:55

Rare appearance of top brass shows resolve of armed forces

More than 50 generals, including lieutenant generals and major generals, made a rare appearance on Thursday leading troop or air echelons in the military parade in Beijing marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The parade marked the first of its kind in China featuring generals leading troops, signaling the resolve of the People's Liberation Army to boost morale and improve combat capability.

The parade featured 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of military hardware and nearly 200 aircraft. Each foot and armament formation was led by at least one general. Some of them flew the lead aircraft in the air echelons.

The participation of generals was intended to demonstrate the ability of senior army officers to lead their troops, as well as their sense of duty in setting an example for the troops, Major General Wang Shun, deputy director of the parade joint command, said prior to the event.

"We believe these commanders can shoulder the historical task of building a strong army," Wang said.

At an average age of 53, the generals included several with combat experience, according to sources close to the military.

Major General Tian Ou was the only female general in the parade. The 56-year-old led a female medical soldier formation named after the Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune, who aided China's fight against Japanese aggression.

The generals trained with the troops at their bases in the past few months especially for the parade.

"The experience of attending the parade together with the soldiers helps foster a closer relationship between us," Rear Admiral Liu Gengqun from the North China Sea Fleet said. "It is good for coordination on the battlefield in the future."

The parade also saw the participation of the largest PLA guard of honor being at such an event.

A total of 207 troops from the army, navy and air force formed the guard of honor, all decked out in their respective ceremonial uniforms. The formation included an unprecedented 51 women.


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