Military Service:

Lida Huang

As Interviewed by Alex Huang, March 10, 2018

Lida Huang: In His Own Words

Lida Huang describing his experiences with China in the Taiwanese military.

My name is Lida Huang, my education is PhD, my PhD in computer science and also another PhD in electrical engineering, software engineer, hardware engineer, and also neuroscience.

In Taiwan there is a mandatory for all the young healthy males, and I was enlisted during the period of 1994-1996. My rank was second lieutenant.

Why do you think China is so involved with Taiwanese politics?

They think Taiwan is part of China. “How could you elect your own president!?” And of course, they are very upset and unhappy about that. Then they threaten us and they say that if we elect our own president or the president is not what they want, then they will launch a missile. The whole Taiwan is, of course, in a very tense situation. And our DOD, Department of Defense, is very serious about that, so we started to analyze, which part they would send their special groups, special units, combat units. Parachuting, you know, combat troops. After we do the analysis, we identify that there are three hot spots -- and one of the most important hot spots is actually right in the camp I’m stationed.

Me, as an officer, I need to be forearmed, day and night, and with a combat suit, even during sleep. We need to be in combat position within three minutes. You would see cannons around my camp and then also a combat helicopter always drilling, up and down, you know, everything like that.

Do you have any specific experiences you’d like to describe?

One time, I need to take my unit out on a mission -- it was a night of a typhoon. The wind was very, very strong and almost everywhere was flooded.

I needed to take my unit and we had to go to a certain position. We know that we need to go to a bridge, but because it was flooded, the water level was the same level as the bridge. We barely could see the bridge. But because it was a mission, so I told my people, “Okay, we’re driving, let’s go!” We had to make sure we were in the middle of the bridge and made it safely across the bridge, still moving forward. We could barely see where was the road or where was the river. Everything looked the same to me, it looked like we’re driving or walking above the water. So I told my troop, “Okay, let’s go and find some shelter and just stay there for a couple of hours. Let’s wait until it’s dawn so we can see better.” At that time it was midnight, almost 1 o’clock.

Okay, then we stay there for a couple hours until about 4 or 5 o’clock, and now we can see something. And we go back to the original position, very close to the bridge. Amazingly, at that time, the water was just off a little bit. When we got back to our position, there was no bridge. Completely destroyed by the flood, so God bless us, when I lead my troop across the bridge, it was not broken yet! To get back, we needed to take another route, but totally there was no bridge. I also spotted two or three vehicles in the water -- I’m not sure if those people are alive or dead, but I remembered there were some casualties. Luckily, my men, my guys, and me, we were safe -- and so lucky! Maybe just a few minutes late and all units would be wiped out. I kept asking my sergeant, “Are you sure that was the bridge we crossed last night!” He said, “Yes, because there’s only one road, one way from that direction.” And that is exactly where we went last night.

I never lost any of my soldiers. And the sacrifice of going to the army is basically to preserve humanity and dignity. That’s why I feel good to be in the army and also feel good to be part of the United States.