Due to the difficult terrain, it is considered a life-line that all roads, pipes, and rivers have to pass through. So important in fact, Pha Bang Nua became a very important target for the US Air Force during the US-Vietnam War. Many Vietnamese troops including hero driver Tran Cong Nhon and Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Hue, Commander of Military Station 9 of Division 559 (Truong Son Army) bravely sacrificed in this entrenched natural fortification.
Braving the enemy’s fierce bombardment, all soldiers tried their best to ensure healthy food, ammunition and fuel transportation to the front.
In order to better understand their lives, we want to introduce part of the diary written by Ngo Van Tho, logistic soldier of Company 4, Battalion 668 of Pipeline Regiment 592 during the Tet Lunar New Year in 1970.
|Logistic soldier of Battalion 668 Ngo Van Tho|
On January 29, 1970
It was a dry sunny day in Pha Bang Nua. They continuously bombarded our facilities. Bombs were dropped everywhere. At midnight, I went to the N3 storehouse to get rice. It took me about 15 minutes to walk there. The trail was damaged by bombs. I waited at the N2 store to make the rice and then returned to my place post. The enemy had attacked the storehouse for eight days. Last night, trucks rushed to the store to deliver goods. Finally, the station completed its set plan for the month. On the way home, passing holes made by the enemy's bombs, I felt happy. When I got home, my commanders and Mr. Van slept soundly. A good night’s sleep.
February 5, 1970 (the 29th day of December in lunar calendar)
Tomorrow is the beginning of the new lunar year. Preparations for Tet were already completed. This year we exchanged salt for pigs. We were busy preparing because the following day is the first day of the lunar year. Units are busy making chung cakes and pork rolls. We would have many traditional dishes for the national traditional Lunar New Year holiday. Last year, we celebrated Tet at km No.31, Road 23-7, this year is more prosperous.
The atmosphere here is bustling. Tonight, Huy and I will make donuts and wait for the Lunar New Year’s Eve. Wearing my new military uniform, I am waiting for the Lunar New Year’s Eve moment. Surely at this time, my hometown is also very happy. My family will miss me a lot. Floating clouds! Could you fly back to our hometown and send all of the love of soldiers who left home for the national resistance war against American invaders.
At 9:00 p.m, several thunderous explosions were suddenly heard. This was a B-52 bomber. After the first sortie of the enemy's bombardment, we immediately came out of our cave. However, the enemy continued their second sortie.
The phone rang. A bad piece of news. The enemy's bombs took the life of our commander. The atmosphere sank low. Other leaders of the station and Mr. Van rushed to the scene. The bombardment also hit the barracks of Platoon 1 and wounded Mr. Duat.
On New Year 's Eve, we listened to the Tet greetings of State President Ton Duc Thang.
On February 6, 1970
This was the first day of the lunar New Year in 1970. Since last evening, the enemy has bombarded our base seven times. Lying in the cave, we could smell TNT. A number of surrounding trees were destroyed.
In the afternoon, after another bombing from the enemy, we crossed the battlefield to take our senior officer Pho to the barracks.
Despite the enemy's bombings, we still wrapped chung cakes, pork rolls and other traditional foods.
The voice of people via a radio cassette made us more homesick, as we remembered our families who were also celebrating Tet. Thus, we were more determined to fight the enemy for the spring of the country.
Translated by Minh Anh
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