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黑蝙蝠中队最终被授誉 Honored at Last • Author: fountainheadkc, Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:04 pm

NTDTV link to Black Bat Squadron 新唐人对黑蝙蝠中队的转载:


[size=18]My uncle Li Bangxun - Black Bat Squadron pilot 我叔叔李邦训 - 黑蝙蝠中队飞行员[/size]


(歌曲 - 黑蝙蝠中队)

Taiwan's spy pilots honored for Cold War work

The Black Bats' major function was to drop Taiwanese spies to incite mainlanders to rise up against communist rule — an enterprise that almost invariably ended in failure..

By Annie Huang, Associated Press

HSINCHU, Taiwan — They gathered quietly on a rainy night in the northern Taiwanese city of Hsinchu, six survivors of a secret cadre of pilots who risked their lives against the communist enemy during the darkest days of the Cold War.

Known as "The Black Bats," they say they were working for the CIA, a claim backed up by a photo of them posing with the then CIA station chief. Between 1953 and 1967 they flew more than 800 sorties over the Chinese mainland, dropping agents, testing radar responses, even collecting air samples from suspected nuclear test sites.

After decades in the shadows, they are now coming forward, encouraged by the planned establishment of a museum honoring their exploits in this high tech center that was once the base of their operations.

Though their main mission — laying the groundwork for an anti-communist insurrection — unquestionably failed, they are seen by many on this democratic island of 23 million people as national heroes, because they helped cement a crucial connection with the United States when their homeland needed all the big power help it could get.

The Black Bats' story first emerged in Taiwan in 1992 when China repatriated the remains of 14 crewmembers who died when their plane was shot down over the mainland in 1959. A few books on their exploits were published in subsequent years, including one by the Taiwanese Defense Ministry detailing their clandestine China overflights.

But the Bats had remained largely anonymous until the gathering early in June at Hsinchu's National Tsing Hua University, where hundreds of Taiwanese observed a minute of silence for the 148 Black Bats who didn't return from their missions and paid an emotional tribute to the few surviving members of the group.

"We owe our national and social stability to them, but we had never thanked them in public," said Tsing Hua humanities professor Lung Ying-tai.

The Black Bats were formed in 1953, just four years after Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces were defeated on the mainland by Mao Zedong's communists. That loss precipitated their wholesale retreat to this leaf-shaped island 100 miles off the Chinese coast.

During his more than 20 years in power on the mainland, Chiang had maintained an uneasy relationship with the United States — many historians accuse him of widescale corruption — but once on Taiwan, Washington embraced him as an anti-communist bulwark.

The CIA was a major link in the new Taiwan-U.S. connection, Black Bat veterans say, providing the group with P2V, B17 and B26 aircraft to carry out their mission of scoping out the communist enemy, and inserting agents on the mainland to promote an anti-communist insurrection.

The veterans proudly display photographs taken with Ray Cline, then the agency's Taipei station chief, and show other memorabilia supporting their claim of CIA sponsorship.

"There's no doubt about the cooperation between the Black Bats and the CIA," said Tseng Wen-shu, who helped organize an exhibition about the Bats at a municipally sponsored Hsinchu military museum.

A 2004 book co-authored by CIA Taiwan veteran James Lilley says the agency used aircraft to insert Taiwanese agents into the mainland, though it does not mention the Bats specifically.

The CIA did not respond to an e-mail asking about its connection to the group.

Seventy-seven-year-old Chu Chen, one of about 10 surviving Black Bats pilots, said crews were trained in Taiwan by Americans he later learned were CIA employees. Like others in the group, he kept his exploits secret until recently — even from members of his own family.

"If we had disclosed anything, we could have been shot as intelligence agents leaking secrets," he said.

Taiwanese defense expert Fu Ching-ping said the CIA purposely hid its connection to the Black Bats because of fear of being implicated in military forays against the mainland.

"They employed the Taiwanese pilots so they could deny any connection if the mission went wrong," he said.

The Black Bats' major function was to drop Taiwanese spies to incite mainlanders to rise up against communist rule — an enterprise that almost invariably ended in failure.

No figures are available on how many spies were dropped, but surviving Black Bat pilots say few ever returned to Taiwan.

Former navigator Chou Li-hsu recalled numerous infiltration missions and extolled the bravery of the agents.

"They tossed their weapons down first and then they jumped," he said.

Several former pilots also recounted close encounters with pursuing communist planes, which narrowly missed shooting them down.

Eighty-two-year-old Tai Shu-ching said that in five years of Black Bat service he flew 78 sorties over China, including one in 1960 in which eight communist airmen were killed when their planes crashed into a mountain during a futile chase of Tai's P2V.

"Unarmed we broke through the Iron Curtain in the darkness of the night," he said. "Each time, we were confident that we could get the mission accomplished."

Tai's 1960 encounter with his communist pursuers is described in detail in Fights to Protect the Motherland's Airspace, a book published in 2001 by China's People's Liberation Army.

Besides inserting agents, Black Bat aircraft also flew near Chinese radar installations to obtain their electronic signatures in preparation for possible American bombing missions of the mainland — missions that never took place.

Crews also helped the U.S. monitor Chinese nuclear weapons programs in the early 1960s by collecting air samples from suspected Chinese test sites.

Chu, the former pilot, said he flew his B17 on one such mission, but only learned its true purpose after the fact.

A Taiwanese defense expert, Andrew Yang of Taipei's Council of Advanced Political Studies, said programs like the Black Bats provided Washington valuable intelligence about China's secretive nuclear weapons program when the mainland was largely isolated from the rest of the world.

"Taiwan was an important source of information for the U.S. ... enabling it to avoid taking actions arising from misjudging the situation," he said.

In parallel with the Black Bats, another Taiwanese squadron — the Black Cats — flew surveillance missions over the mainland throughout the 1960s. These were high-altitude flights using U2 spy planes to photograph military establishments. At least five of the U2s were shot down by Chinese missiles before the squadron was disbanded in 1974.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry finally recognized the "important contributions" made by both the Cats and the Bats following the Hsinchu gathering.

"They ... provided crucial strategic and military intelligence that helped stabilize the Taiwan Straits situation," the ministry said in a statement. "We will never forget this chapter of our history."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

陈凯博客 Kai Chen Blog: www.kaichenblog.blogspot.com 陈凯电邮 Kai Chen Email: elecshadow@aol.com 陈凯电话 Kai Chen Telephone: 661-367-7556
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