Original title: Military camp observation | A lantern and a group of field soldiers
Let the war eagle return home safely
■Qiu Menghuan Zhao Xiaoqing
As night falls, the bright moon rises, and the light spots on the ground are bright. For Wei Ziyong, a private in a brigade field service company of the Xinjiang Military Region, today is a memorable day – it is his first time to participate in night flight support.
I recall that when new recruits entered the camp, the squad leader introduced an old lantern to everyone. The squad leader said that many years ago, due to limited support conditions, the Army Aviation Force used a horse lantern to guide the helicopter home… Wei Ziyong didn’t remember too many details at the time, only that the horse lantern had a sense of era. He still remembered that the squad leader repeatedly said: “No matter how difficult it is, we must let the war eagle go home safely.”
As the night grew darker, Wei Ziyong looked up at the stars, and his thoughts drifted back to his childhood. Every summer night, he always liked to lie in the open space at the entrance of his hometown village and look at the stars above his head. Not far away, there was a lamp left for him at home…
Suddenly, the light in front of his eyes dimmed. Wei Ziyong rubbed his eyes vigorously and took a closer look. The red light on the tarmac was out! He suddenly panicked. In the dark night, the red light went out, which meant that it was difficult for the war eagle to find its way home.
Wei Ziyong hurriedly ran to find Liu Jiacheng, the lighting squad leader, and the two hurried to the apron. It was an autumn night in the west border, and the chill was already strong, but Wei Ziyong was so anxious that he was sweating. “We must not let the war eagle find its way home!” This was the only thought in his mind.
The roar of the rotors is like the flapping of wings of a bird, looking for where to return to its nest.
The two of them sped up their movements. In desperation, a small screw pricked Wei Ziyong’s finger, but he had no time to care and tightened the screw faster.
“It’s on!” A flash of red light made Wei Ziyong cheer. Seeing that the navigation lights were repaired, Liu Jiacheng also breathed a sigh of relief. The two stood up and saw the lanterns under their feet. The red, yellow, white and blue navigation lights were like a sea of stars, and they felt a sense of pride.
Wei Ziyong’s hanging heart was finally relieved. “Squad leader, do you think it was so strenuous to use a lantern for protection in the past?” he asked.
“That would be much harder than now!” Liu Jiacheng said in response, “But no matter how difficult it is, we must let War Eagle return home safely.”
Hearing these familiar words again, Wei Ziyong had a different feeling. The lantern spirit of “hard work and perseverance” has taken root in his heart…
A lantern and a group of field soldiers
■Qiu Menghuan Si Zeqiang Meng Litao
A brigade in the Xinjiang Military Region organizes flight training.Photo by Tian Kuankuan
Soldiers from the field company inspect the navigation lights.Photo by Tian Kuankuan
Soldiers from the field service company maintain navigation lights.Photo by Wang Jianghao
Only those who dare to “ask for hardship” can taste the sweetness after suffering.
At an airport in the western border area, Wang Bao, squad leader of a brigade field service company in the Xinjiang Military Region, and private soldier Yuan Shunli were making final preparations for the War Eagle to take off. Looking at the young Yuan Shunli in front of him, Wang Bao recalled the unforgettable experience when he first joined the army.
That year, Wang Bao, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday, joined the army. With his excellent driving skills, he was assigned to the engineering machinery class of the field service company and became the only conscript driver in the brigade who was released from work.
Due to his excellent driving skills, Wang Bao gradually developed a sense of pride and complacency, and appeared to be lazy during work training. When class monitor Wu Wenkai pointed out his problem, he was still reasonable.
In June of the following year, the company selected Wu Wenkai and Wang Bao to participate in the flight support mission of the international military competition. The heat in Korla in early summer is overwhelming. There was no shelter or shade at the competition venue, and the sun burned the vehicles unbridled.
At noon, the temperature inside the car climbed to nearly 50 degrees Celsius, and the cab without air conditioning became a “steamer”. Sitting on the hot seat, Wang Bao was unbearably hot. After several struggles, he hid in a shady place.
Half an hour later, when he saw Wang Bao taking a nap in the shade of a tree, Wu Wenkai, who had always been calm, could no longer bear it and shouted to Wang Bao: “We have never lacked people who can drive, so you should enjoy the sun.” , let the sweat wash away your laziness!” After saying that, he strode away.
Wang Bao followed reluctantly. “Is it necessary to ask for trouble like this?” He was full of dissatisfaction. After he returned to his tent and lay down at night, he couldn’t bear the mosquito bites and couldn’t stop complaining.
“When our unit was first established, we started from scratch on wasteland, and there were more mosquitoes.” Wu Wenkai said, “In order to guard the lanterns, the soldiers in the field service company were bitten by mosquitoes until their skin ulcerated, and no one hid in a comfortable place. The lanterns are easy to deal with. It goes out, and there is no communication equipment, so we can only rely on people to shout to light it up again. When everyone’s voice becomes hoarse, they wave, and when their hands are sore, they continue to shout hoarsely. No one has ever said that you should take a rest when you are tired. …”
As he listened, Wang Bao recalled what happened at noon and turned away in shame. “Now the conditions are getting better and better, but the spirit of hard work cannot be lost!” The squad leader’s words hit Wang Bao’s heart word by word, “Only by having the courage to ‘ask for hardship’ can you taste the sweetness after hardship. “
A month later, the mission ended successfully. Although a layer of skin has faded due to the sun, Wang Bao has been tempered during the mission. On the podium, the brigade flying team won the honor. In the audience, Wang Bao applauded vigorously, with a proud smile on his face. He knew that he also had his own share of this honor.
Over the years, the mission of the brigade has been continuously expanded, and the field support company is also facing new challenges. Wang Bao also has a deeper understanding of “asking for trouble”.
Once, a certain type of helicopter conducted plateau flight training. Wang Bao performed the support mission, drove the vehicle all the way, traveled thousands of kilometers, and finally arrived at the target area on the eve of the mission.
Wang Bao had an extremely strong reaction when he went to the plateau for the first time. He and his comrades held hands and marched hard in the bomb-drop zone, carefully observing the ground conditions. The terrain in the bomb-drop area was steep. In order not to fall behind, he climbed up with all his strength, breathing heavily…
“Wang Bao! Come on!” Just when Wang Bao was about to lose his strength, his comrades encouraged him. In a daze, he seemed to see the group of seniors who guarded the lantern back then… “If others can do it, I can do it too!” The belief that he must complete the task supported him to move forward.
After 3 hours, the task was successfully completed. On the way back to the camp, Wang Bao leaned on his seat and fell asleep…
Time passes and the missions of the field service company are changing, but what remains unchanged is the spirit of daring to “ask for trouble”. Today, Wang Bao has become an indispensable backbone of the company. Under his step-by-step guidance, his apprentice Yuan Shunli also grew into an “all-rounder” who could use a variety of mechanical equipment.
When gritting one’s teeth and persisting for a dream, everyone has a “lantern” in their heart
He worked as an extra in Hengdian, worked odd jobs in an auto repair shop, and worked as a courier in a courier company… Guo Jia never thought that one day he would become a soldier.
While studying in a prestigious school, studying cutting-edge technology, and holding a “gold-letter brand” that others envied, Wang Hao decided to join the army and head towards the hot military camp.
Two years ago, Guo Jia and Wang Hao entered the camp together as recruits and met in the field service company. When introducing himself, Guo Jia, who graduated from a technical secondary school, felt that compared with Wang Hao, he was a little “not up to par”.
Soon after, the Field Service Company organized a debate among the recruits on the theme of “Should the lanterns be left behind” at the Brigade History Museum. Everyone had a heated discussion and everyone expressed their opinions. When the instructor asked Guo Jia, he hesitated and was speechless for a moment.
Looking at the rusty lantern in front of him, Guo Jia whispered: “It’s old and broken, it’s useless to keep it…” Then, he lowered his head, as if he was talking about himself. Wang Hao said: “I think we should keep this lamp! Remember yesterday so that we can move towards tomorrow better…”
The discussion continued, and the instructor paid more attention: How can Guo Jia regain his confidence and cheer up?
During one on-site support, the fire truck’s water pump suddenly failed, and the firefighters were as anxious as ants on a hot pot. At this time, the instructor called Guo Jia, who had worked in an auto repair shop.
Guo Jia made three strokes, five divided by two, and the water pump came out smoothly. His comrades praised him, and Wang Hao even gave him a thumbs up.
At roll call that night, the instructor praised Guo Jia in front of all the comrades in the company: “The humble lantern can guide the takeoff and landing of war eagles on the runway. As long as you are willing to shine, you are a piece of gold!” Guo Jia’s eyes were slightly hot and he straightened his waist. Gotta be extra straight.
Since then, Guo Jia has been active in lighting maintenance, electrical appliance repair… the company has been active everywhere. In August of that year, he took the initiative to volunteer and went to the mission area to set up the target wall.
The sky is full of yellow sand. Every time Guo Jia washes his face, the water turns into mud soup. Working overload for 15 hours a day made him sore all over and he couldn’t even hold chopsticks steady when eating. He said that the target wall moved up inch by inch, just like crawling forward foot by foot. Keep working hard, the end is just ahead.
On the day he completed the task, Guo Jia was as happy as a child. Although the target wall he worked so hard to set up was accurately destroyed in the end, this “artwork” will always remain in his heart.
In the blink of an eye, when it was time for the sergeant to be promoted, Guo Jia faced an important decision in his life. “I originally thought I would retire after working for two years, but I didn’t expect that I fell in love with this place while working.” After two years of hard work, Guo Jia, who is professional and well-rounded, submitted an application to stay in the team to the branch: “I want to, too. Like a lantern, burn every second and strive to be a dream chaser.”
In March this year, Wang Hao reluctantly said goodbye to his comrades who had been with him for two years and got on the bus to the airport. Before leaving, Wang Hao gave Guo Jia a book. He wrote on the self-made bookmark: Don’t regret the figure of the firefly flying away, it will go to the other side to illuminate a different kind of light for you.
When he returned to college, Wang Hao always missed his comrades in the company who were as close as brothers and missed the military camp that haunted him. On May 4th Youth Day this year, Wang Hao walked into the Wuchang Uprising Memorial Hall, connected with officers and soldiers of the entire company, and led his comrades on a “virtual visit.”
“After returning to school, I often think of the lantern in our company.” That light in history has been guiding Wang Hao forward. After the “cloud visit”, Wang Hao said excitedly: “Even if I leave the army, I will still work hard to contribute to the national defense cause!”
For these young officers and soldiers in the Field Service Company, the boundary between leaving and staying is not so clear. Either leave or stay, they are all on the way to pursue their dreams. When gritting one’s teeth and persisting for a dream, everyone has a “lantern” in their heart.
Everyone knows that the field company keeps the lights on on the runway
The rotors roared, and the last war eagle returning from a night flight fell into the halo of navigation lights. After everyone left the venue, Liu Jiacheng, the leader of the lighting team, turned off the last light in the venue. His already dark face was hidden in the darkness, leaving only a busy figure.
“Those who keep lights cannot illuminate themselves, and those who keep birds away cannot touch the plane.” Officers and soldiers in the field company have all heard this jingle. Every spring, birds migrate frequently near the brigade’s airport, posing great safety risks to helicopter flights. To drive away birds at a height of more than 80 meters above the ground, a bird repellent cannon weighing 10 kilograms is required.
“I have been a soldier for two years, and I have to carry a bird-repelling cannon everywhere every day. I am embarrassed to say that I am a soldier.” This was the original complaint of Ma Yongkang, a bird-repelling soldier. The last day of March last year was particularly vivid in Ma Yongkang’s memory. There were so many birds that day that he carried the bird-repelling cannon back and forth inside the wall, firing a total of 13 cannons.
At the end of the morning, purple blood marks appeared on Ma Yongkang’s shoulder. Panting, he hadn’t rested for a few minutes when the bird control command came from the tower again.
“You are working so hard, what are you trying to do?” During that time, Ma Yongkang only wanted to retire when his term of service expired.
One night during a night flight, squad leader Liu Jiacheng sat next to Ma Yongkang. “The stars are so bright tonight!” Following the direction of Liu Jiacheng’s finger, Ma Yongkang looked at the stars in the sky. The dots of starlight and navigation lights reflected each other in the distance, making him a little lost in thought.
“I heard from my old squad leader that when our unit was first established, we did not have such professional lighting equipment. They used paint to paint more than a hundred lanterns in red, yellow, and white colors to guide helicopters to take off and land.” Liu Jiacheng explain.
Opening the work notebook of the lighting class, it was neatly written on the title page: “The war eagle protects the starry sky, and we protect the war eagle.” This sentence has been passed down since the establishment of the army until now. Back then, the lanterns were easily extinguished, so the seniors would run back and forth to light them again again and again.
Liu Jiacheng patted Ma Yongkang on the shoulder and said: “For so many years, everyone has known that the field service company will keep the lights on the runway on.”
Liu Jiacheng stood up and left, but Ma Yongkang stared at the bright starry sky with some trance.
Today, Ma Yongkang has become a professional pacesetter in repelling birds. This year when the new recruits joined the company, he took the initiative to be the company history commentator. In the honor room, the old lantern that has long been extinguished tells the story of history and makes the officers and soldiers of the field service company in the new era excited.
Not long ago, the company selected officers and soldiers to prepare for an emergency rescue competition. Officers and soldiers wear heavy protective clothing every day, cross barriers and rush wooden bridges, and conduct weight-bearing training. As the expedition was approaching, Yang Yuhang, the backbone of the business and a second-class sergeant, took the initiative to apply for withdrawal: “It’s not easy for our comrades to train for so long, so we still let young people go on stage to show off!”
“You dare to ‘fly’, I’ll wait for you to go home!” Before departure, Yang Yuhang waved desperately to the slowly starting bus, his bright smile seemed to light up the hearts of all his comrades. Just like that lantern, although it has withdrawn from the stage of history, its light of “hard work and long-term perseverance” will always shine on the officers and soldiers of the Field Service Company.
Tianshan Mountain is towering, and the night is like splashing ink. The stars on the ground are still dotted, guiding the war eagle’s return course and illuminating the direction in which the officers and soldiers of the field service company are moving forward.
Walk in the light
■Sergeant 2nd Class Yang Yuhang
When I first joined the field service company, I was thin and weak, with the lowest physical fitness. I knew nothing about my profession and often held the company back. At that time, I felt that the background of my military life was all gray.
Once, the squad leader took me to ensure a night flight. Unexpectedly, one of the navigation lights at the airport suddenly went out. The squad leader hurriedly took me to make emergency repairs, but I was clumsy and couldn’t help much. “Look, none of these hundreds of lights can be left behind.” The monitor did not dislike me at all, and continued, “Our field staff will not let anyone be left behind, even in this big family.”
At that moment, I felt a beam of light shine into my heart. In the following days, the squad leader racked his brains to help me adapt to the new environment, providing physical guidance, professional help, and heart-to-heart counseling… Gradually, I entered the state.
I still remember that during that drill, there was a “fire” in a certain hangar. When I heard the special situation coming from the intercom, the squad leader immediately took me and drove there. Fire hoses, which are not usually heavy, become “wild and untamed” when filled with water. I hugged the hose tightly, the veins on my arms bulged, and speeded up the operation according to the work process. After the “save” was successful, the monitor smiled and gave me a thumbs up, put his arm around my shoulders and said, “Congratulations, you passed the test!”
To this day, I still remember the monitor’s warm smile. I often think about how lucky I am to be in such a loving and warm group. Walking in the light, I also want to light up the military path of every new comrade-in-arms.
(Compiled by Qiu Menghuan)
Encountering after the light
■Corporal Li Baofeng
This year, the company sent me and Captain Yang Yu to prepare for the emergency rescue competition. Monitor Yang is professional and professional. He is my business idol and the goal I strive to catch up with.
Facing brand-new equipment, venues and courses, the comrades were in trouble for a while. After several days of high-intensity training, everyone couldn’t move on the way back to the dormitory. Monitor Yang not only gritted his teeth and persisted, but also tried every means to help us improve our grades. He set up a camera on the training ground to record every player’s movements. After the training, he took us to watch the replays again and again to find out each of our stubborn moves. Later in the night, I woke up and found that Squad Leader Yang was still staring at the computer screen, holding his breath and refusing to let go of any detail. Looking at his bloodshot eyes, I was both distressed and moved.
After practicing thousands of times, our training performance has improved significantly. As the competition approached, Squad Leader Yang proposed that he would not participate in the competition and would only serve as a technical instructor.
Before setting off for the expedition, Squad Leader Yang encouraged us and said: “When you get on the field, imagine that there is a lantern lighting up at the finish line. Just chase the light!” Perhaps, Squad Leader Yang doesn’t know that he is our light. It is precisely because of his guidance that we can pursue the light more bravely and resolutely.
On the day of the competition, the sun was shining brightly and we won! Kissing the medal, I felt that I was closer to my goal: in the future, I will definitely meet the light and strive to be the light for others.
(Compiled by Qiu Menghuan)