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Happy families improve morale in army

2015-02-27 10:08 China Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

Many People's Liberation Army units have refitted their guesthouses or offices into "family-reunion apartments" for noncommissioned officers in an attempt to address their long periods of separation from families.

"The good news came to me all of a sudden," Wang Xingtao, an NCO with the equipment repair battalion of the 12th Group Army, told PLA Daily.

Wang is one of the 34 NCOs to benefit from his brigade's measure to enable more wives and children to spend Spring Festival, the most important feast in Chinese culture, with noncommissioned officers, the report said, noting the unit rebuilt its guesthouses as family-reunion apartments last year.

According to PLA regulations, each NCO can enjoy up to two months with family members, usually wives and children, in the camp. During this period, officers and their family members live in apartments designated by the unit they serve.

Wang said there were not many married NCOs in his brigade several years ago, so they didn't worry about where their wives and children could live when they visited the military camp. However, as more and more NCOs got married and became fathers, the shortage of family-reunion apartments became a problem.

"For instance, there are 10 married NCOs in my platoon, and we usually got two apartments at most during each Spring Festival holiday, so I never expected to be allotted one," he added.

The brigade prepared new furniture and cookware for each apartment, the newspaper said, adding that the housing benefit has been enjoyed by many NCOs in other units.

In January, one of the brigades under the 27th Group Army emptied the houses for unmarried commanders and designated them to be NCO family-reunion apartments.

A regiment in the Beijing Military Garrison Command also refitted some of its offices and warehouses into apartments for NCOs' families.

"The measure is no doubt very helpful for us and our families, as one of the biggest concerns for young NCOs like myself has been the apartment issue," said a ground force officer from the Ji'nan Military Command who wished to be identified as Kuang.

"Without an apartment, my wife and I have to rent a house outside my camp, which would be expensive and inconvenient for us," he said.

Major General Wang Futian from the Shenyang Military Command said, "The apartment problem seems to be a trivial matter, but it is actually a big issue that can affect the combat capability of our troops.

"Most of our NCOs can reunite with their wives and children only once a year, so we must guarantee that they can enjoy a good reunion," he said.

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