Nguyen Chi Phi
“In 1967, our unit attacked the base at Trieu Phong in Quang Tri province. It was a base of southern regime soldiers and American military advisors who were collecting information about our forces. My unit was Dac Cong, Special Forces. Our responsibility was to approach close to the target and attack. I was a 2nd Lieutenant at that time.
A few days earlier we had sent soldiers to observe and make maps of the enemy positions. Using these maps we approached the base, which had twelve layers of barbed wire fence. On the other side of the base, another Dac Cong unit prepared to attack. We broke through three layers of fence but the fourth layer was illuminated by a bright searchlight. We couldn’t penetrate any further without being seen so we changed our plan.
The Dac Cong unit on the other side of the base began their assault. A comrade and I began to throw grenades with string fuses to destroy the fences. We got close to one watchtower when the soldiers inside began to open fire and threw a grenade at us. I jumped aside as it exploded and then threw my explosives inside the watchtower. A piece of shrapnel hit my back. When we had gotten past the first layer of fence I stepped on a pungi stick, which slightly injured my foot. So I was injured twice in the battle.
After I was hit by shrapnel, the Saigon soldiers counterattacked. I ordered my troops to shoot out the searchlight but they couldn’t so I took a B-40 grenade launcher without the round, quickly climbed the tower and smashed the light so we could withdraw without being seen. As the unit leader I accepted the possibility of my death in order to protect my unit. My comrades carried me out since I was wounded. I was taken to a hospital in the jungle for one month and then spent three months in rehabilitation at another base in Quang Tri. I was awarded the status of National Hero of the Army.
Right after the battle we returned to the village nearby where we were living among civilians. The villagers killed a cow to make a feast for us to celebrate our victory. The soldiers and villagers were like fish and water—we depended upon each other. Not long after we attacked the base at Trieu Phong the American and Saigon troops came and killed the villagers for supporting us.”