[Machine translation from the French]
The confession of the commander of aircraft carrier Liaoning [[
“I am waiting for you on board our aircraft carrier …”, it is with this simple sentence that Rear Admiral LIU Zhe (刘 喆), commander of aircraft carrier Liaoning , closed a television broadcast aired in late August on the CCTV-1 channel .
Special guest of “La Voce” (开讲 啦), a conference-type program that allows young teenagers to interact live with a personality of the company, the Pasha of the first aircraft carrier of the Chinese Navy has delivered several details in the backstage on its course and also those of the ship.
Here are some excerpts …
When we have our aircraft carrier, I will be its commander
“I was born in a military family,” says LIU, “Since a very young age, uniforms, a cadence and military songs have always been part of my life.”
After graduating from the Military Academy of Science, he joined the Eastern Fleet and gradually climbed the ranksfrom the Maritime Operations Officer to the Staff Officer , then to the deputy commander of destroyer.
The flagship of the US 7th Fleet, USS Blue Ridge
The frigate 525 Ma On Shan of Type 054
In 2005, LIU was posted on 525 Ma On Shan Class 054 , the most advanced of the Chinese frigates at the time, where he was in command. And it was under this role that he received in Shanghai three years later, in August 2008, the flagship of the 7th fleet of the US Navy USS Blue Ridge .
During the evening on the deck of the American flagship, the future commander of the Chinese aircraft carrier wanted to toast with his counterpart of the USS Blue Ridge for “the beauty of the city of Shanghai”.
The latter replied: “Let’s have a drink for your ship, Captain. Even though it is small, it is even very pretty. “
“I wanted to curse him,” confesses the Chinese Rear Admiral.
“But let’s face it, mine moves 2,000 tons, its 20,000, it was not wrong … So I emptied my glass, dry ass,” says LIU, not without irony, “J So I had the idea that when you have a ship bigger than yours, when you have an aircraft carrier, I want to be the commander of that ship. “
“And I did not think it really happened …”
So old, so pitiful …
At the end of 2009, just over a year after the amusing story on the bridge of the USS Blue Ridge , the Chinese navy founded its first aircraft carrier unit.
Several thousand people from all over the country gathered in Dalian, where the old rusty ship, called Varyag at the time, began its transformation work.
Arrived at the scene, LIU Zhe and other young sailors were not allowed to approach the ship, the rules of defense confidentiality oblige. They then disguised themselves as a tourist to observe their future aircraft carrier from afar.
“He looked so small and covered with rust. At first glance it seemed so old, and especially in a truly pitiful state, “the Pacha of Liaoning still recalls his first encounter with the ship,” A young comrade could not hold back and wondered if the ship will be able to maneuver after, considering his condition. I asked him to wrap it up, but I myself did not feel reassured either, not at that time. “
After the Chinese New Year in 2010, the future crew was asked to go help the workers in the works. LIU was then mounted for the first time on board this vessel of more than 50,000 tons.
“I did not go through a door to go up, but through a hole that the technicians had cut into the hull so that people could enter. It was dark, the lighting system was not installed, there was dust everywhere, “says LIU.” But even if I had not been able to find the flight deck after two hours, visit me reassured me. I removed the rust on some steel plates with my gloves, and it was shiny underneath, so I feel that the hull is actually still in a very good condition. “
In August 2011, the aircraft carrier Liaoing , uncompleted since the fall of the USSR, carried out its first test at sea. An event that was followed by millions of Chinese amateur as a symbol, a page comes from to turn for their navy.
First landing on the aircraft carrier Liaoning
“The very first landing on Liaoning , my only memory is that it was very cold,” recalls LIU, “It was not only because of the breeze of Bohai Bay but because I was stressed . “
Then deputy commander of the aircraft carrier at that time, he was outside the navigation bridge during this major event for the construction of the Chinese naval air forces.
“All the rescue teams were on the flight deck and were standing by. I kept telling myself that everything was going to be fine, but my brain was already repeating the rescue plans in case it went wrong.
On November 23, 2012, DAI pilot Ming Meng and his aircraft, a 552 prototype J-15 , landed successfully on the Liaoning aircraft carrier flight deck , a historic first for the Chinese Navy. We were within two months of being admitted to active duty in the building.
“A cathedral silence reigned on deck, people did not react right away. When the engines are finally turned off and DAI got up from the cockpit to greet the crew, everyone woke up at once and rushed at him and the aircraft. “
“I then turned to the bridge and saw my Pacha, his name is ZHANG Zheng. I asked him, my Commander, did you see the decking just now? “
“He replied, no, I only saw the wind moved …”
In May 2016, LIU Zhe replaced Rear Admiral ZHANG Zheng and became the new captain of the aircraft carrier Liaoning .
Landing of the aircraft 552, one of the seven prototypes of J-15, on the aircraft carrier Liaoning
Today, all new crew members assigned to Liaoning are systematically invited to a landing when they board, and another landing when they leave the vessel permanently.
“It is a unique and exclusive memory, unique to our unity, that we want to share with each of our men and women. “
I learned how to eat a piece of meat
If you ask what was the first thing LIU learned in the army, he will answer you “meat manager”.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a commander of the infantry company, I thought it was cool,” says Liaoningaircraft carrier commander , “After I graduated from college, so I joined an honorary title company. “
Commander Liaoning, LIU Zhe, on the program “The Voice” (Image: CCTV)
“During my first meal, I could not eat even a single piece of meat,” recalls LIU of this passage from his life after graduating from the University of People’s Public Security University of China , “A veteran then taught me how to do it: Catch a first piece and put it right away in my bowl, as soon as the dish is served at the table, then take a second one and put it immediately in the mouth, and finally a third between the baquettes. “
“At that time, even someone so experienced that he never managed to eat a fourth piece …”
A story that seems funny but hides a sad reality in the late 90s – the Chinese military budget had been at the bare minimum for a decade so that the country could focus solely on its economic developments. Many units were forced to trade to survive.
“I then wanted to look at military problems from a different angle, from an economic angle, and I learned that any problem of military economy, any logistical problem, is really only a question of strategy at the end of the war. account. “