Fifty years has passed since the Vietnam People’s Navy won the first victory in the battlefield against the Americans (August 5, 1964), but memory of such glorious past remains vivid in the mind of those who contributed to it.

Tran Cong Kec and Bui Xuan Chuc, now in their 70s, recalled that in November 1958, they were called in the Vietnam People’s Navy after undergoing a five-month training in the northern province of Bac Giang.

In August 1964 when the US launched a fierce raid in the Gianh river in the central province of Quang Binh, they were performing duties on sub-chaser T229 and patrol vessel T124, respectively.

Chuc reminisced that at 12:40 am on August 5, fleets of US planes unexpectedly appeared and fired rockets relentlessly into Vietnamese naval vessels.

“We struck back immediately while raising anchor sailing to Ha Long bay to minimise as much damages as possible. To avoid bombs dropped by the enemies, we fired back rounds of rockets together with smokes to blur their vision,” he said.

The navy attacked the US destroyer Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf, shot down eight aircraft and arrested the first US pilot Everett Alvarez in northern Vietnam.

Now looking back, the soldiers said they believe that the triumph was the result of a thorough preparation and the wholehearted support of their fellows and people nationwide, materially and spiritually.

Before the fighting, militiamen and civilians assisted logistics groups in charge of taking supplies, medicines and ammunition aboard. They were also ready to take wounded soldiers to medical stations or lay the deceased to rest.

“It is the strong will and sure-to-win confidence that brought us the victory,” Kec stressed.

Now retired as a Colonel, Kec often tells the story of his army services to his family members on festive occasions. A son chose to follow his step by working for the Ho Chi Minh City-based military port. Two of his sons-on-laws are members of the naval force.

Besides Orders and Medals recognising his merits, Chuc also keeps an album featuring his timeline, including images taken when he was a student at a naval technical school, his meeting with the late President Ho Chi Minh in 1960, and a brave soldier.

He said these small items will help his descendants understand more about the tradition of his family and the cost of peace and independence that the nation has had today.-VNA