Seventy years have passed, but the memories of the Dien Bien Phu campaign in 1954 have never faded in the mind of veteran Ly Van Ngoan from Dong Tien hamlet, Phu Thanh commune, Lac Thuy district.

 Old as he is, veteran Ly Van Ngoan still maintains the quality of Uncle Ho's soldiers.

Ngoan said he volunteered to join the army when he was only 19, and he was admitted to Regiment 55 in the central province of Thanh Hoa. In January 1954, he was transferred to Regiment 77, which was assigned to design artillery fortifications for Division 351 to serve the Dien Bien Phu campaign.

"We began to shell Doc Lap Hill, one of the strongest posts of the enemy, at 3am on March 15, and the attack ended at 6:30am the same day, with the complete annihilation of this stronghold, forcing French forces to flee to Muong Thanh – the central keep,” he recalled.

For A1 Hill, the veteran said after four days of fighting, Vietnamese soldiers controlled only a small part of the position as it was defended by an elite battalion. Given this, the Campaign Command decided to dig tunnels to bring in guns and blow off the enemy’s bunkers. "With strong determination, we wiped out the stronghold,” he said.

Following the second phase of the campaign, the soldier took prisoners to the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, and was given other tasks. After completing his military services in 1962, Ngoan worked at the Moc Chau Farm, and as a teacher at a husbandry school from October 1965 to 1985 when he retired.

The veteran was presented with the second-class Victory Medal, the Glorious Soldier Order, the first-class Anti-American Resistance Medal, and the Dien Bien Victory Badge.


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