Legendary Truong Son trail: untold stories of female soldiers hinh anh 1Former female soldiers of the legendary Truong Son trail are moved when they meet each other at an exhibition ‘Truog Son’s pride’ opened at Hanoi Women’s Museum on May 16 (Photo:Vietnam+)

Hanoi (VNA) - “When prepare for our performances, we did not have any makeup products, we had to use soot to beautify our eyebrows, red-coloured papers were used to blush or as lipstick. Things became worse during our period. We had to dry our clothes with small stoves. During the dry season, when water was insufficient, everyone got scabies and lost their hair.”

The joking but bitter memories of former female member of the ensemble “singing over the bombs” Nguyen Thi Bich Lien has recreated the time full of hardship but heroic of former soldiers of the legendary Truong Son trail.

Hidden feelings

Under the ancient forest trees in Central Highlands, female soldiers who joined in battles in Truong Son trail experienced more extreme emotions than a person’s lifetime could have: love, hatred, obsession, loss, fear, resilience.

All were deeply kept into the hearts of female soldiers’ seemingly small shoulders which then turned out to be powerful strength in the middle of battlefield, contributing to developing an indomitable heroine generation for the nation.

They, the female soldiers, were not afraid of facing bombs and the death. However, putting the gun aside, wearing the white blouse on , or behind the steering wheel ..., the girls on the Truong Son trail still had the fears of  "ordinary girls": fear of squeezing, ghost, hair loss, among others.

Legendary Truong Son trail: untold stories of female soldiers hinh anh 2To this female veteran, the legendary Truong Son route is her youth with unforgettable memories (Photo:Vietnam+)

“As a rule, when they were on duty, all female soldiers had to put their hair in a bun to ensure safety. Sometimes, when we just finished washing our hair, then bombers came, we had to put our hair in a bun immediately for our duty. Malaria was very common in battlefields, causing hair loss to everyone with some even balding their hair. Some cried, some were afraid of brushing hair as hair kept coming out, ” Nguyen Thi Oanh recalled.

Not only malaria, scabies, gynecological diseases were also “specialties” on Truong Son land, and only women understand the hardship and difficulties when the monthlies come but the living condition was very poor: “female soldiers in battlefield had several difficulties during their monthlies”.

“Bonze foot, iron shoulder” female soldiers

Moved when being heard, and shared heroic memories in the glorious days, Nguyen Thi Huan (C2, Battalion 232, Army ordnance Department, Military Region V) said “ each year, I carried about 20 tons of cargo, nearly 3 times the average weigh of my comrade, therefore, when I was 17,18 years old, I was awarded the title of “bronze foot, iron shoulder”.

“In 1969, there was a cannon, weighting nearly 100 kg, all four comrades did not dare to deliver it, because it was so bulky. I volunteered to take it and day and night thinking of how to transport it. I took a plank and tied the cannon on it and asked my comrades to put the plank on my shoulder. There were two comrades who followed and helped me to clear the forest path, making it easier for me to climb up the slope and take rest. I took me four days to carry the cannon.  Except for sleeping, I had to stand when I ate or took a rest because if I sat down, I had to remove the stuffs from my shoulders, it would be very difficult to lift it up to my shoulders again”.

Legendary Truong Son trail: untold stories of female soldiers hinh anh 3Former Truong Son’s soldiers at present (Photo:Vietnam+)

As hard as it was, but in the memories of the "girls" that year, the battlefield was always warmed up with comrades, teammates and that sentiment is the source of encouragement for them to fulfill their tasks well. The sisters also used to sing and encourage each other so that the their matching tothe battlefield also became light and joyful.

It can be said that historical circumstances created heroes for the country or heroes who were born in time to protect the nation's integrity. Although the war has receded, the "girls" coming out of the war continue to contribute their efforts to the country's construction and development, in which they still shine a "pride of Truong Son" and still do not forget the noble gestures to thank the teammates for keeping the youth in the battlefield forever./.

Numbers that speak

* 20,000 km Truong Son trail

* 18,000 women participated

* 3,140 km closed road section

* 500 km river way

* 1,400 petroleum pipeline systems

* Digging and leveling 29 million cu.m of rock

* Leveling 78,000 bomb craters

* Destroying 12,600 magnetic bombs, 8,000 slow-explosive bombs, over 85,000 landmines.

* Fighting 2,500 battles, destroying 100 military vehicles, thousands of guns

* Shooting down 2,450 planes

* Transporting over 1 million tonnes of weapons, sending over 2 million soldiers to the battlefields.

* Over 20,000 soldiers, youth volunteers, transport workers sacrificed; over 30 million were injured…