Các bản dịch về các anh hùng Trường Sa sẽ được tích tụ ở đây, bắt đầu
Nearly 20 years ago, a naval soldier risked his life to protect the national flag on a submerged
island in the Truong Sa archipelago. The serious wounds he suffered then still trouble him sometimes.
Nguyen Van Lanh was born in a typical central Vietnamese family in Quang Binh Province - one
which was poor and had a lot of children.
He dropped out of high school to work in the family’s rice field until he joined the Navy in August 1985.
For Lanh, Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago meant days spent in floating compartments on under-water
islands. He also went twice to a large “real” island, the Sinh Ton, and both trips are filled with memories.
A good memory was made on the first occasion when he attended a music show on Sinh Ton.
To the soldiers who could only see the immense sky and ocean and one another everyday, the female
singers and dancers were more than just singers and dancers – they were angels! There is a story
Lanh is still embarrassed about every time he tells it.
He and a few young fellow soldiers avidly watched a singer and as she left the beach, they used pieces
of coral to fence off her footprints on the sand.
Winds and tides wiped out the girl’s footprints two days later, but the memory has stayed with him until
Love letters and dishwashing
The Truong Sa Islands are comprised of over 100 islands, islets and coral reefs in the Southeast of the
East Sea. Some islands are high and large enough to provide dwellers with soil and water to plant trees.
But many others are totally submerged in high tides. In the last years of the 1980s, the soldiers stationed
on the underwater islands had to live in floating compartments, which were called “booms” and could house
a squad each.
Lanh and his brothers-in-arms lived in one such boom.
Being rocked all day was not an easy feeling at first, but they became used to it.
Lanh could swim very well since he was a child, yet he still felt scared of the breathtakingly vast and quiet
ocean where ships were seldom seen.
The only source of joy for the soldiers on the underwater islands came from their expectation of letters from
home, especially from their girl-friends.
Anyone who received a love letter would have to wash dishes for a full month, and a letter from home, a full week.
The “girlfriend” sometimes was just an unknown girl who sent a letter to show her admiration for the island soldiers.
The soldiers once jokingly tricked a soldier who couldn’t read by reading him an imaginary love letter then asking
him to wash dishes.
The man knew the trick but happily accepted the task and they lived on such innocent joys.
The soldiers read the letter so many times they could memorize not only every word but also every comma or period.
So they killed time by daring one another to read the letters just by memory.
They selected the soldiers with the best hand-writing to reply to the letters.
Island men and turtles
Dining in booms was another problem. Usual meals comprised of rice, canned meat and plenty of fish.
The soldiers had limited recipe options and desperately longed for some vegetables.
But the underwater islands left no soil for planting. The youthful soldiers swelled because of a lack of vitamins.
Each had just 1.5 liters of fresh water daily, which meant sea water was used for face-washing and teeth-brushing.
Except for the letters, some radio communication equipment was the only link between the islands and the mainland.
“We had to pedal it for 20 minutes before it worked,” Lanh said.
The soldiers managed to overcome all hardships thanks to their “determination to serve the country ever since
they joined the military.”
“I always thought that I was there to protect the forefathers’ precious land, and that I was young and could
overcome the disadvantages,” Lanh said. Therefore, discipline was well kept.
A soldier was once chastised because he had not spotted a sea turtle laying eggs on the beach during his watch.
The rationale being that if a turtle weighing hundreds of kilos could not be discovered, enemy frogmen could slip through, too.
The flag stands still
On the morning of March 14, 1988, Lanh and his comrades were unloading construction material from a ship to
Gac Ma Island, when Chinese warships encircled them.
Chinese troops later landed on Gac Ma and attempted to take down the Vietnamese flag and seize the island.
Tran Van Phuong, the Vietnamese soldier who kept the flag, was shot dead. Lanh rushed to face enemy troops
to protect the flag.
He was stabbed by a bayonet in the shoulder but managed to force a Chinese officer to drop his handgun which he
was about to shoot. Chinese troops again shot him in the shoulder twice. Lanh fell to the sea. His comrades
advanced to rescue and fill his place to defend our sovereignty.
Their courage paid off. The Chinese troops withdrew. Lanh was sent back to the mainland for treatment of serious
He was later awarded the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces and the First Medal of Honor.
Life is not the same anymore
Lanh returned to with Sinh Ton Island when he was rushed there for emergency treatment.
That was also the second and final time that he was on a “real” island in Truong Sa.
He has not returned to the archipelago since then. After spending almost four years in the hospital,
he was discharged in 1992 with his health badly damaged. He is still in the Navy now but can only
handle light work.
Twenty years after the incident, he still remembers his island friends, some of whom sacrificed their life
to protect the islands.
Lanh was just promoted to lieutenant recently. It is still hard to believe what the slim, seemingly fragile man did,
and how he suffered to defend the national flag.
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[B]An Bang[/B] (tên quốc tế: [I]Amboyna Cay[/I]) là một cồn san hô ở phía Nam quần đảo Trường Sa (Khánh Hòa, Việt Nam), nằm tại tọa độ 7o52'10" vĩ Bắc, 112o54'10" kinh Đông, do Việt Nam sở hữu. Trên đảo có một ngọn hải đăng hoạt động từ năm 1995...
Bọn tây nó có thèm đọc đâu. Bọn Việt thì nó không đọc được
Nhằm đến các đối tượng thanh thiếu niên VN sinh ra và lớn lên tại Mẽo, tiếp
Story about the family of Spratlys Hero
A Cementery of Martyrs in the village called “Phuc Quang” ( Quang Trach,
province “Quang Binh”) was filled of cold wind on the late days 2007. At
the cementery´s corner, Mrs. Mai Thi Hoa was whispering to her dear
husband. Her tears were falling silently.
“At least i´m quite luckier than others, because i´m staying right now beside
my husband and talking to him, tell him some new stories …. However the
story about her … who can understand that and be then sympathetic towards
Her husband is a martyr of Vietnam armed forces, who together with more
than 60 martyrs left their lives behind in Truong Sa 1988 while protecting the
national flag to reaffirm Vietnamese sovereignty.
Due to Spratly incident 1988, by the area of Sinh Ton Island, the landing ship
HQ-505 set its full speed as high as possible, tore her anchor off, and rushed
onto the rock (dry island) called Johnson North Reef to represent Vietnam´s
sovereignty. Two other transport ships : HQ-604 and HQ-605 were sank by
artillery firing of China naval forces in combat.
This photo is being kept by Mrs. Hoa for more than 20 years. It remembers her
to the slide day of happiness before he had to be appointed to Truong Sa
There are three officers of Vietnam People's Navy who were promote to “Hero
of People Armed Forces” according to this bloody incident. They are Vu Huy
Le,Nguyen Van Lanh and Tran Van Phuong.
History of the Vietnam People's Navy recorded the sacrifice of Sub-lieutenant
Phuong: "Morning 14/03/1988, while comrade Nguyen Van Lanh and his crews
were ferrying materials from ship No. HQ-604 onto the island, they were then
suddenly encircled and threatened by the enemy ships. Tension was heavily
caused at that time. When the enemy landed troops into the island, forced our
soldiers and attempted to lower our flag to conquer the islands, an order was
given by comrade Tran Duc Thong as island defending leader : “ Whoever can
swim, please swim immediately towards the island to support our comrades
to protect the flags !”
Nguyen Van Lanh and 11 other comrades jump instantly into the sea and swim
to the island. Meanwhile the enemy opened fire on that island. Comrade Tran
Van Phuong, who kept the flag, had sacrificed … "
"I´ll come back to guard the house for you …"
After the Lunar New Year holidays with the family, on 10th January 1988 Mr.
Tran Van Phuong caught the bus back to his unit to take the trip on
assignment in time. But no one has doubts that it would be his last holidays
as well as last assignment ….
Photos and letters of Hero Tran Van Phuong sent to his wife, before he forever
lay down at Spratlys in protecting the national flag to reaffirm Vietnam
sovereignty over Spratlys.
As he came back to his unit, he wrote a touching letter to her. He
recommended her to keep health in mind and do not send mails to him
anymore, because he is in carrying out the mission in the Spratlys. He doesn´t
have any fixed address because of works …
The first sailing trip was delayed by storm, so that he had to stay at mainland
and spent time to write letter to her. He said that after this assignment, he
will ask for retiring. He´ll return, won´t do anything, only stay at home to
keep house for her …
And the time for avoiding storm was over. The unit left the mainland to sail to
On March 14th 1988, he and his comrades attempted to protect the national
flag on that island “Gac Ma”. In the battle that his crews was outnumbered by
the enemy, he and his crews bravely sacrificed. Tran Van Phuong was
sub-lieutenant at that time, as commanding officer to guard and build
fortifications on the island.
After staying four years and two months with his comrades in that far Island,
in May 1992, martyr Phuong “get back” to his family , forever Rest In Peace at
cementery of “Quang Phuc” village. His wife´s house doesn´t locate so far
from the place at that cementery where he is laying.
He came back to her, kept the promise “back to village Don Sa” to guard the
house for her …
Story about the family of a Hero …
She told that she had married him less than a year, then he went to work in
the Spratlys. Then she got the news that he sacrificed there, at the same time
she received the last letter he sent to her.
Mrs. Hoa by side of her husband, the Lunar Lunar Year is coming so close ...
Photo by Ngoc Lan
Meanwhile she was only 22 years old, was pregnant only a month – the drop
blood that Mr. Phuong left behind. He sacrificed so that he didn´t know that
he had became father ...
She named her baby “the Water” - Tran Thi Thuy. And everyday that "sweet
water" flows to the cementery to burn incense for her father , to tell her father
funny & sad stories. She always asks her mother about her father, such as :
how about father ?, is he gentle ?, does she look like her father ? …
Miss Thuy always wishes to have a younger sister, since her childhood, to chat
with her and care her. Sometimes Mrs. Hoa see her crying beside the garve of
her father : “ Everyone has siblings, me not, why ? my daddy ? “
Sometimes when she plays by the ditch in front of house, Thuy said that she
wishes she´d fish a basket that is drifting close to her and carries such a
pretty baby, so that she takes it home to educate it and see it growing..
Since then, Mrs. Hoa kept back her tears, didn´t deal the public sneer to
"apply" for a child to bring Miss Thuy a younger sister. Thuy was very happy at
that time (16 years old). She touchs her mother´s stomach while sleeping
everynight to hear her sister swing. Thuy also said that she heard her sister
asked : “ What are you playing outside ? “.
Mai Thi Khanh Huyen is now four years old, behaved like a little cat. The
University where Miss Thuy is studying locates far away from home (now a
second year student at the University of Quang Binh). She misses her sister,
and everyweek Thuy takes a ferry-boat to her house to play with her sister. At
the weekend Huyen stands at the door to waiting for her older sister …
Looking the two children playing in full happiness ,her complex is swept away
deeply. She believes, when he sees the smile on the lip of Thuy,his daughter,
he´ll understand and forgive her ...
Torment in Don Sa
The small house in the village Don Sa (Quang Phuc, Quang Trach district,
Quang Binh province), during 20 years there are three female people living
together alone. Hero Tran Van Phuong has also kept his promise to his wife:
"I´ll come back to hold house for you ...", after the days he had kept the
national flag in the Spratlys. Photo by Ngoc Lan
Small house in Don Sa village was opened everyday to overlook the communal
cemetery of martyrs. Not so many people know that the house was built in
2001, but until middle last year (2007) she has cleared most her neighbour´s
The monthly allowances for Thuy are particularly paid for her studying costs.
She said, in September 2006, she made application for receiving benefit for
relatives of martyrs according to 47/ND-CP decree of the Government and
circular 33/TT-BLDTBXH on 09/12/2005 the Ministry of Working - War Invalids
and Social Affairs, but till now no results from any agency involved.
Mrs. Hoa said: She went to so many agencies for asking & applying, but the
Intern Affairs Commission for Working & War Invalids and Social Affairs said
that the documents were transfered to Department of Working & War Invalids
and Social Affairs. But when she asked that Department, the competent
authorities said that they haven´t ever received any applying documents for
martyr´s relatives benefit from Quang Trach district.
She has then reapplied at that department for the martyr´s relatives benefit,
but also not ever received any result. That is the obvious disadvantage
against a wife of martyr.
Now " lonely mother beside little child", she doesn´t know where she can lean
on with any support to continue this waiting ?
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