Female members of Air Force team married to their mission
Central News Agency
2014-02-02 08:30 PM
Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Of the five female members on the Air Force rescue team, only one is married, and it's not hard to understand why.

The job requires them to be on round-the-clock standby for rescue missions, depriving them of time for their personal lives and the chance to meet and get to know other people. One of the four unmarried female members of the team is Lt. Col. Chao Ya-hui, Taiwan's first aboriginal female pilot. Chao, who flies the S-70C helicopter, has served in the military for 18 years and accumulated 3,600 flight hours. She devotes almost all of her time to her work, leaving little opportunity for her to meet new friends, let alone male friends. That's because rescue pilots work on a rotational system under which duty comes first. They get eight days of leave a month but are required to report to work whenever rescue missions come up. "In the beginning, my parents could not understand this, but they gradually learned not to have too many expectations for me so as not to get hurt," she said. When on duty, Chao gets up early and arrives at her office at 6 a.m. to be on standby, and it is common for her not to return dorm room until 9-10 p.m. Having to go to work whenever duty calls makes it hard to bank on days off, so when Chao gets one, she rests as much as she can. "I seldom go out," she said, adding that she exercises to relieve stress and does the things she enjoys, such as cooking and baking. Now 40, Chao says she no longer thinks much about marriage, believing that making friends is enough. Her colleague, 1st Lt. Hsu Ya-chun, joined the Air Force Academy after studying at National Cheng Kung University's Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Hsu said that although the job is hard, she has always felt it to be meaningful whenever she makes a successful rescue. As with Chao, Hsu says she is too busy to get to know male friends, but is not bothered by her predicament. The two female rescue pilots have devoted themselves to their job, and see it as an honor and a mission that leaves them fulfilled. (By Claudia Liu and Lilian Wu)

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