A severe marine climate can stain and even damage materials and weapons, but cannot erode the spirit of Vietnamese naval soldiers, especially those who are defending the nation’s “live” sovereignty marker in the waters, as evidenced in the marine defence platform DK1.

It is not easy to visit DK1, one of the seven logistical and technical services stations in Vietnamese waters in the East Sea , which is frequently hit by huge waves and high wind.

In such challenging weather conditions, many vessels to the marine platform have to anchor at a distance, greeting soldiers via walkie-talkie and conveying gifts to them by cable.

Only someone who has set foot on marine defence platform DK1 can understand how fierce the difficulties and challenges faced by soldiers here are.

Regarded as a “live” sovereignty marker at sea, DK1 is a complex of structures of large steel pipes which strike root deep into dry coral reefs.
Covering these steel pipes is a living space for soldiers who guard the marine platform.

Looking up to DK1 from a canoe, the marine platform looks like a lotus station – the Steel Lotus Station which protects the country’s sovereignty on the continental shelf.

Despite living far from the mainland, cadres and soldiers on the marine platform still maintain all training and daily activities. It is unimaginable that on an area of over 100 sq.m. and in severe weather conditions, soldiers here still grow vegetables and raise livestock like in the mainland.

Major Trang Hai Au, Commander of marine platform DK1/2 on Phuc Tan beach, the second-longest serving officer on the platform, shared his happy and sad memories during the 15 years he has lived on the platform, as well as his feelings about leaving here at retirement age.

“I will miss the marine platform very much if I have to leave it,” he confided.

The story of the 50-year-old commander was sometimes interrupted as he recalled the brave sacrifice of platform soldiers.

The martyrs included Vu Quang Chuong, Commander of marine defence platform DK1/6 on Phuc Nguyen beach, who was ready to sacrifice his life to protect documents and was the last one to leave the station when it was fiercely battered by a storm, and Warrant-Officer Le Duc Hong, who held on to the marine platform until it was demolished by waves with his last telegram saying “goodbye to the mainland”.

Over the years, young generations on the platform have firmly followed their seniors.

Major Le Quang Ninh, Commander of marine defence platform DK1/9 on Ba Ke beach, was born in 1976 but has lived on the platform for 12 years. Not mentioning the difficulties and sacrifices of platform soldiers, the young officer revealed his biggest aspiration of continuing study to improve his knowledge for long-term service in the army.

Rear Admiral Nguyen Cong Hoa, Political Deputy Director of the Navy, wrapped up the records on marine platform soldiers on the Truong Sa archipelago, saying that “weapons and materials can be stained and rusted in the severe conditions of the sea but Vietnamese naval soldiers’ readiness for fighting and sacrifice will be never eroded”./.