Defense Ministry's latest film tells story of fallen AT-3 pilot

2016/04/20 20:24:11
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) "Eject! Eject!" a woman shouts and wakes up from a nightmare. She is the lead in a short film produced by the Ministry of National Defense, adapted from the story of a fallen AT-3 pilot who died in a crash in the southern city of Kaohsiung in 2014.

Titled "I'm OK. Thank you," the six-minute film begins with the widow of "Lt. Col. Chen Tzu-chiang (陳自強)" waking up from a nightmare. The teary-eyed woman then turns around to look at a bedside photo of herself and her husband.

She picks up the photo and cries, thinking of her dead husband.


Photo taken from the shooting. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

The film then proceeds with flashbacks of the happy family life of Chen, his wife and their son, followed by scenes of the incident that led to his death.

He was flying an AT-3 trainer when the aircraft encountered catastrophic and unexplained engine failure. Although Chen received appeals from the control tower to eject, he declined to do so immediately and instead, chose to steer his aircraft clear of residential communities to avoid endangering the lives of others.


Photo taken from the shooting. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

The crash took his life, but did not result in any other casualties, the film shows.

"I'll be alright," says the widow in front of Chen's memorial tablet during a visit to a martyrs' shrine. "I'm fine."

The film concludes with various people expressing gratitude for Chen's heroic act, with the subtitle of "I'm OK. Thank you."


The actress in the film holds her baby boy. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Promoting the military's efforts to protect the country's people, the film ends with the slogan "Making sure you're fine is the biggest deal for the military."

Chen's character is based upon Col. Chuang Pei-yuan (莊倍源), 37, who was killed after his aircraft collided with another plane during a routine training mission in Kaohsiung and crashed into a field Oct. 21, 2014.

Speaking of the motive for shooting the film, Director Chris Hung (洪成昌) said he felt that while the military has done a lot for the country, the public knows little about it.

Through the film, he said he wanted to convey the message that "the decision made by soldiers within one or two seconds can have a huge impact on many people in Taiwan."

With the assistance of Air Force officials, Hung was able to meet with Chuang's widow Su Mao-ju (蘇懋如) to explain his idea of the film and obtain her approval for the project.

At the time, Su did not say a word, but tears rolled down her cheeks, according to Hung.

Her eyes spoke for her, Hung went on. "She misses her husband very much."

To get a better idea of the interaction between Chuang and his wife, Hung also looked through photos posted on Chuang's Facebook page.

Opting to tell the story from a woman's perspective, the director said he wanted to reveal the different sides of the military to the public.

(By Elaine Hou and Lu Hsin-hui)
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