ClockTuesday, 26/09/2023 07:42

Stories of loyal men

TTH.VN - My hometown Phu Loc was the first place in Vietnam which the French came to reoccupy Hue in early 1947. That was also the place where we started the Hue-Danang campaign in March, 1975.

Celebrating the 70th Traditional Day anniversary of Former Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts in Laos“Uncle Ho is forever in my heart”

 Representatives from College of Education, Hue University visited and presented gifts to Vietnam Heroic Mother Dang Thi Sac. Photo: Duc Quang

I have once written about Major Vo Dai Nam on Thua Thien Hue Newspaper. He was Head Advisor of Regiment 4, Thua Thien Hue Military District in the north of Bach Ma Forest in late 1969. When being traced by the American army by airplane, he was the first who fired against with his K59 handgun. He would rather die than being captured by the enemy.

Returning to Phu Loc, meeting veterans and listening to their stories we admired those who had fought for the unification of the country, and thus cherish what we have today. In critical moments when soldiers had to choose either death or surrendering for their lives, most of them decided to die to prove the spirit of communists. 

As told by Phan Van Dan in Thuy Phu Commune, Huong Thuy Town and Nguyen Xuan Hoanh in Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc Town, when Pham Huu Xuan died in action, they were serving at the armed team in Phu Loc. Their duty was to protect the leaders who penetrated the plain area to support local people’s rebel aiming at destroying strategic hamlets set up by the Ngo Dinh Diem regime backed by the American. 

As told by Phan Van Dan:

Early on Sept 23rd, 1963, it was raining very hard. The Phu Loc team of 5 members were on their way back to the base. At the creek between Thuy Yen Hamlet and Thuy Cam Hamlet in Tan Lap Commune (presently Loc Thuy), enemy soldiers waited until Nguyen Thanh Hieu and Nguyen Xuan Hoanh, who were leading the way, had passed, then shot Nguyen Huu Xuan (i.e., Bien.), deputy secretary of Phu Loc district party committee.

Hearing the gun sound, Pham Van Dan, the fourth behind, stopped to take refuge. When he spotted groups of soldiers from a bush, he knew his leader had been shot. Then he heard the voice shouting “Gun down!” “Surrender to live; killed if resisting!” What could be heard was the sounds of gun in response, then the silence.

From his refuge, Phan Van Dan ran back, looking for Nguyen Van to tell him that Bien had been trapped in the ambush. They then saw enemy soldiers dragging their comrade body down the slope.

Pham Thach was one of adolescents who became a communist from a very early age. He lived in Nong, my mother’s native village.

In 1962 Pham Thach escaped to join the communist army at the age of 16.

According to Party Secretary Pham Thi at Hung Loc, during the three years serving at the team of Hung Loc, Pham Thach was among the most courageous. He and his friends fought in many important battles at Nong and supported people in Loc Bon in their fight to regain their ownership of their village. 

In the early morning of June 17, 1965, on the way back to his base, when he just arrived on a hill in the east of the Ngoi temple in Village 1 near the Nong river, he found himself in an ambush. Being the man who knew that area quite well, he fired at the enemy, giving rise to his friends’ escape. 

After more than one hour of fighting, the enemy soldiers stopped firing and called for his surrender. After a period of silence, and while the enemy were searching for him, they heard a sudden loud explosion. It turned out that Pham Thach had killed himself with his last mine. The death of the young man at the Nong village greatly moved people and left a strong impression on them.

 The author was offering incense in memory of deceased soldiers

Before Pham Thach, at my mother’s native village, there had been also Nguyen Van Quyen. In late 1963, after President Ngo Dinh Diem’s regime was overthrown, and the majority of the countryside was owned by the communists, Platoon Head Nguyen Van Quyen, who was sent to assist the South, was allowed to visit his home at Village 4, Loc Bon Commune.

On December 20, 1963 (lunar November 5th) while having lunch, Quyen detected groups of enemy soldiers in front of his house. He then saw many others at the bamboo hedges preparing for a siege. After telling his wife La Thi Sam to take their two sons to a safe place and showing the way for Vo Dai Trien (i.e., Ngoc) from Phu Bai, a member of Hue Party Committee and Nguyen Van Kha, head of Hung Loc Commune military team, to run away, Quyen found a hiding place prepared for a fight to keep the enemy stuck there.

From the gate they fired and persuaded him to surrender. Hearing his young wife’s and his children’s crying, the enemy took advantage shouting “If you want to stay alive with your wife and children, put your gun down.” Contrary to their expectation, he ran out of the house and fired at them. Unfortunately, his gun was broken. He then killed himself with a mine. 

During a visit to my hometown in Nuoc Ngot, where in the spring of 1968, other guerrillas in Tan Loc and I had persuaded people to destroy National Highway 1 and to travel to Cau Hai Town to claim their children in the army. Asking about my comrade Nguyen Van Se, who had assisted me in shooting to warn the head of Hamlet B, I was so surprised to be informed by my relative Nguyen Nhu Ha that Se had died in action at Mrs. Tra’s house.

When Se was wounded, enemy soldiers summoned his family members and asked them to persuade him to surrender saying that if he gave up, they would fly him to Fleet 7 to be treated. But instead of giving up, he fought to the end and died.

Also in my native village, I heard the story about the death of Van Tam who was born in Vien Trinh, Phu Da, Phu Vang.

According to De, in late 1964 at Thuy Cam Village, Tan Loc (presently Loc Thuy,) the armed platoon headed by Thuyet was in a siege. After the five hours of fighting, his 9 soldiers were killed and many other wounded. Especially Van Tam was arrested when he had used all of his bullets. They took him on a plane. All of a sudden, he jumped out of the plane and killed himself. 

At that time, Hoang Anh De was the vice-head of Phu Loc Team, so he was directly reported about Van Tam’s death. After 1975, Hoang Anh De took Van Nho to Thuy Cam to look for his brother Van Tam’s remains. 

“My younger brother had a gold tooth,” confirmed Nho. With the help of people in the village he finally found his brother. “This is exactly my younger brother,” cried Hoang Anh De.

The men mentioned above were examples for those who chose death instead of surrendering in critical situations. They were really loyal to the Communist Party and the people.

Story and photo: Pham Huu Thu
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