Morale and the mis­sion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHI­HAO

ChengHaixia is a sec­ond class petty of­fi­cer aboard the CNS Liaon­ing. He is also morale of­fi­cer, so in his free time, the 40-year-old vet­eran reg­u­larly checks the ship’s in­ter­nal mes­sage board to help solve the prob­lems new re­cruits of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s a great honor to serve on China’s first air­craft car­rier, and I would do it even if they didn’t pay me. Not ev­ery­one feels the same way, of course, so it’s up to me to help them,” he said.

Last year, his wife was di­ag­nosed with thy­roid can­cer, and although her surgery was suc­cess­ful, she will be on med­i­ca­tion for the rest of her life. How­ever, Cheng rarely men­tioned his fam­ily’s or­deal to his ship­mates.

“Ev­ery­one has sac­ri­ficed some­thing to be part of this ship. We wish we could be there for our fam­i­lies, but we have our du­ties to per­form,” he said.

Jiang Xueyou, another sec­ond class petty of­fi­cer, echoed Cheng’s sen­ti­ments. “It’s al­ways hard to bal­ance loy­alty and fil­ial piety,” said the 38-year-old, whose mother died in 2010 while he was away work­ing on the car­rier’s flight nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

The par­ents of at least six other se­nior of­fi­cers have died since 2009.

The mother of Sec­ond Class Petty Of­fi­cer Wang Wei died ear­lier this year, while he was away at sea. The 39-year old said he was heart­bro­ken, but he has no re­grets.

“I have been in the navy for more than 20 years and have seen it grow from noth­ing into a for­mi­da­ble global force,” he said. “The navy has not only pro­vided for my

Half of my medals should go to my wife.”

a sec­ond class petty of­fi­cer, who pressed the but­ton that launched the first J-15 fighter jet from the CNSLiaon­ing

Zhang Naigang, fam­ily, but also made me a proud man. Serv­ing on the Liaon­ing al­lows me to be a part of naval his­tory. ”

The of­fi­cers have to put their fam­i­lies to the backs of their minds when duty calls, but they praised the sup­port they have been­given­by­wives, hus­band­sand­par­ents.

ZhangNaigang, also a sec­ond class petty of­fi­cer, is in charge of the sys­tem that launches and di­rects the car­rier’s planes. OnNov 23, 2012, two months after the Liaon­ing was of­fi­cially handed over to the PLANavy, the 40-year-old pressed the but­ton that launched the first J-15 fighter jet from the car­rier.

“What an honor!” he said. “It felt launch­ing the Shenzhou space­ship.”

Mil­i­tary se­cu­rity meant Zhang was un­able to tell his par­ents and rel­a­tives about his work. He praised his wife for her un­stint­ing sup­port and for be­ing the main­stay of the fam­ily.

“Half of my medals should go to my wife,” he said. “I owemy fam­ily so much.” like

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