As a veteran airborne naval soldier, 43-year-old Zhao Jianhua has been on lots of sea trips, but none means more than the one officially started on December 26, 2008.
He is travelling with the Chinese naval fleet, along with 800 crew members, heading for the Gulf of Aden on China’s epic anti-piracy mission off Somali waters. It is the first time China has mobilized military forces to safeguard the national interests overseas since the ancient Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644).
As the Deputy Colonel of the helicopters’ unit of the Chinese navy’s escort fleet, Zhao is in charge of the elite forces who will pilot helicopters as part of three strategic missions: to patrol and guard the flotilla from danger, to aid in search and rescue, and to transport supplies and crew.
From: China Daily
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese Navy special force members wave on the deck of a warship. Chinese warships, armed with special forces, guided missiles and helicopters, set sail Friday for anti-piracy duty off Somalia, the first time the communist nation has sent ships on a mission that could involve fighting so far beyond its territorial waters.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Zha Chunming)