PANO – The conference hall of the Air Defence-Air Force Service Command has many times witnessed meetings between Soviet veterans, who had actively and wholeheartedly supported Vietnam in the war against foreign invaders, and their Vietnamese comrades-in-arm in April or December. Those meetings are full of emotions and sentiments.
The Soviet veterans were excited about returning to Vietnam where they had joined the Vietnamese comrades in the resistance war for peace. Some uttered “this bridge, this road we used to protect” whenever they recognized something familiar to them.Some expressed their surprize at the strong development of Vietnam and were pleased as they had partly contributed to the war for national salvation of the Vietnamese people. However, above all, their biggest joy is to meet again their old Vietnamese comrades-in-arm and their former students who have always reserved them the love and the respect.
In the afternoon of December 3rd, 2014, Nguyen Manh Dan, the former commander of Missile Regiment 274 of the Air Defence-Air Force Service was very nervous because he knew that his teacher, expert Mikhail Simonov, was among the delegation of Russian and Belarusian veterans to visit the command in some minutes. However, he could not believe in his eyes upon facing his former teacher and thought he were dreaming. Just when the teacher introduced himself and asked if he was Dan, the officer could believe what was happening was real and said “yes, it is me. I also recognize you, teacher”.
They hugged each other tightly and recalled the good old days when they had been side by side with each other and the magnanimous time of Vietnam and Vietnam-Soviet international solidarity. In April 1967, the fiercest period in the Vietnam War, 28-year-old Simonov had served the international obligation in Vietnam. Eye-witnessing US aircraft daily bombarding Hanoi and adjacent areas, Simonov understood how fierce the war was.
The Soviet veteran recalled that at that time they had to work in very tough and dangerous conditions with about 10 to 15 bombardments a day by US jet fighter bombers. Technical equipment was running continuously. In scorching summer days, sitting in the cabin, it was easy to get burned if the elbow occasionally touched the vehicle’s doors. Simonov had many times narrowly escaped being hit by a piece of shrapnel from US troops. The more he understood how fierce the war was, the more he determined to assist his Vietnamese friends.
Siminov citied what poet Vladimir Mayakovsky wrote that something and some places can be forgotten, but it is impossible to forget the land to be fought for. “Therefore, our friendship, between Vietnamese soldiers and Soviet experts, is the most durable”, he emphasized.
About his teacher, Nguyen Manh Dan said that teacher Simonov was the expert on missile system of Missile Regiment 274, in the northern Hanoi capital. The teacher daily enthusiastically gave lectures in the hot cabin and carefully instructed his Vietnamese students how to control missile system, how to repair equipment and the best way to neutralize US aircraft.
It was wonderful for the Vietnamese officer to meet his Soviet teacher in the homeland after nearly 40 years.
The meeting between Nguyen Manh Dan and his teacher Simonov are one of touching meetings happening in the hall of the Air Defence-Air Force Service Command. Other meetings are between Ukrainian veteran Vintsevsky Vladimir and female interpreter Nguyen Thi Hien, now headmistress of Hanoi-based Doan Thi Diem School, veteran Luong Van Hoc and Soviet expert Kyrylovskyi Grygoril.
Many Soviet veterans held that without invitations from the Vietnam Ministry of National Defence and the support of the Air Defence-Air Force Service, they might not have had opportunities to meet their Vietnamese comrades-in-arm again. They also expressed their hope that, the Vietnam Ministry of National Defence would create more conditions for Soviet veterans to visit the old battlefields in Vietnam.
By Phuong Linh Translated by Ngoc Bich
Đăng ký: VietNam News