The Vietnam People’s Navy hosted a ceremony in the northern city of Hai Phong on August 4 to mark the 50th anniversary of its first victory.

In early 1964, the US decided to expand the war in Vietnam by dispatching destroyer USS Maddox deep inside the northern waters, in an attempt to save its “Special War” strategy.

Under the command of the Party Central Military Commission and the Defence Ministry, the Navy High Command asked detachment 3 of its battalion 135 to secretly set up an ambush on Hon Ne island, the central province of Thanh Hoa, waiting for the USS Maddox, Deputy Defence Minister and Commander of the Vietnam People’s Navy, Admiral Nguyen Van Hien recalled at the event.

On August 2, 1964, when the USS Maddox was about 9 nautical miles from Hon Me, detachment 3 soldiers and their vessels started an offensive, braving bursts of bombs and firings to chase the destroyer out of the waters, shoot down a plane and damage others.

Three days later, the US air force made a surprise attack on the Vietnamese naval bases, and major economic and defence establishments lying along the coastal areas from Hon Gai, the northern province of Quang Ninh to the Gianh river, the central province of Quang Binh.

The naval force, in liaison with air forces, police, militiamen and civilians, shot down eight aircraft and arrested the first US pilot Everett Alvarez.

Defence Minister Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, in his speech, asked the Vietnam People’s Navy to learn from its first victory so that it can do a good job of safeguarding sea and island sovereignty by peaceful means today.

The force should develop itself into a revolutionary, regular, elite, and modern one, and adopt technological advances in both professional training and weapon modernisation, he urged.

The ceremony was also graced by the presence of senior local officials, heroic Vietnamese mothers and heroes of armed forces.-VNA