Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Tai Ba, chairman of the Truong Son-Ho Chi Minh Trail traditional association in Hoa Binh province, and his comrades have recalled the days of building and protecting the arterial supply route for the southern battlefield as the Traditional Day of Truong Son Army Corps (May 19, 1959) is approaching.


 Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Tai Ba, chairman of the Truong Son-Ho Chi Minh Trail traditional association in Hoa Binh province.

Ba volunteered to join the army in 1962 when he was only 18 years old. After three months of training in the northern province of Bac Ninh, he and others marched southward.

He said to meet the requirements of the resistance war against the US, the Politburo, the Party Central Committee and President Ho Chi Minh on May 19, 1959 decided to open the strategic Truong Son – Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Corps 559, whose name stood for May 1959 when the trail was blazed, grew from 500 hand-piked men to a division-level unit on October 23, 1961. It was tasked with opening the track in the Truong Son jungle.

Recounting the hard-but-glorious decade-long task, Ba said Vietnamese soldiers shot down enemy aircraft and used collected bombs to pay the way through mountains to the South.

Truong Son soldiers and youth volunteers stayed optimistic and ready to sacrifice their lives to protecting the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which Ba said, was not only the large-scale supply route but also a big battlefield spanning 11 Vietnamese provinces, seven southern Lao localities and four northeastern Cambodia provinces, with a total length of nearly 17,000km.

The US launched more than 150,000 air strikes, with tens of thousands of B52 sorties, and more than 4 million tonnes of bombs, more than half of the bomb tonnage they pounded away across Vietnam, along with 120 raids and 1,235 commando operations. The bodies of more than 20,000 Truong Son officers and soldiers have still remained on the battlefield, and 30,000 others were injured.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail was considered an indelible eight trigram formation in the jungle.

 


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