National hero pilot and astronaut inspires Hanoi students hinh anh 1Lieutenant General of the Air Force Pham Tuan at the meeting with students from the International Vietnam School (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – As the country is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory over French colonial rule, Lieutenant General of the Air Force Pham Tuan had a recent meeting with teachers and students from the International Vietnam School (IVS) in Hanoi about the nation’s heroic years.

The nation’s history was brought closer to its young people as it was told by Pham Tuan. He was bestowed with the “national hero” title three times thanks to his illustrious feats. Tuan’s story has also inspired youth to make a concerted effort to grab lifetime opportunities.

Tuan said his health status disqualified him from becoming a pilot when he was younger. Thus he was sent to study radar repair techniques in Russia. There he saw many Vietnamese being trained to fly planes.

“I admired them a lot and dreamt of having a chance to sit in the cockpit just once in my lifetime”.

Tuan then worked hard to improve his health, and was lucky to get a slot in the pilot training programme on his second attempt.

Becoming a member of the Vietnam air force after returning from Russia, Tuan pluckily fought the enemy. He became the first Vietnamese pilot to shoot down a US B52 Stratofortress in aerial combat in 1972. With the miracle, Tuan was granted with the “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” title when he was only 26 years old.

Despite serious danger every takeoff, Tuan was never scared and always believed he would return safely.

“If you do not believe that you can win the battle, you will lose right from when you take off”, Tuan said.

National hero pilot and astronaut inspires Hanoi students hinh anh 2The meeting draws the participation of many students from International Vietnam School. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

In 1977, Tuan was sent to Russia to undergo a 18-month training course at Gagarin Air Force Academy before orbiting the earth. This intense training and immense hardship is etched in his memory. Tuan tried his best every day to build his stamina to get used to weightlessness and preparation to handle unexpected events in orbit.

In 1980, Tuan, carrying along a portrait of Uncle Ho and his testament, went on an eight-day journey to space.  Tuan then orbited the Earth 142 times, and completed many experiments in space.

Tuan said most of his achievements were spurred by luck, recommending students make the effort every day to grab opportunities as they arise. This is the lesson he took from his own experience that is still valuable for the young nowadays.

National hero pilot and astronaut inspires Hanoi students hinh anh 3A student from International Vietnam School (Photo: VietnamPlus)

“Rising above failure, we should keep trying to complete our mission. Our efforts will bear fruits, which will be recognised and respected by people around us. Each of us has our own opportunity; however, without determination and efforts, we could not turn opportunities into success”, Tuan said.

Tuan recommended the high-school students choose the career path that suits their ability so that they can contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development.

According to Nghiem Thi Nguyet Anh, Rector of International Vietnam School, the meeting helped students broaden their knowledge of history and a good orientation for their future.

“The meeting was organised in the context of the nation celebrating the Southern Liberation and Reunification Day (April 30) and Dien Bien Phu victory (May 7). The meeting is significant as it promotes national pride among students as well as triggers their passion for making contributions to the nation. What heroic Tuan shared today is truly a practical lesson for our students, helping them shape the future with confidence”./.