A group of soldiers chat during a rest period. (YANG SHUAI/FOR CHINA DAILY)
Guarding the international hub－one of the garrison's top missions－requires solid combat skills. However, it's hard to imagine how tough the company's training can be, according to the soldiers, who have an average age of 23.
You Qiaoran is just 20 years old, but she has already been acclaimed as the "king of the sniper rifle" in the company after winning the brigade's sniper contest last year.
She was an underdog when she offered to take part in the contest because she was the most junior candidate and the only female honour guard.
She understood that only hard work would make her stronger, so she spared no efforts to boost her upper body strength by working out frequently in the gym. She also improved her concentration by repeatedly practicing her aiming skills, and she extended the length of time she could hold the gun steady, from three minutes to an hour, by training every day for weeks.
Practice made perfect. During the contest, she quickly lay down and noted the wind speed, humidity and temperature. After adjusting the angle of her shot and taking a deep breath, You pulled the trigger and hit all the targets accurately.
Finally, the young soldier finished by shooting over distances of 100 meters, 200 meters and 300 meters with three different types of gun, finishing earlier than the other competitors. Her excellent score saw her crowned "king of the sniper rifle".
"Our company already has the spirit and glory of pursuing excellence, daring to fight and definitely winning," You said in a speech to her comrades. She also referred to Li Erxi, a Chinese hero who at just 18 years of age killed a Japanese lieutenant general by firing a fatal mortar round in the 1939 Battle of Huangtuling Mountain during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).