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Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 11:39 (GMT+7)
Promoting the spirit of “winning the first battle” to build a politically strong Navy Arm

55 years ago, on 2nd and 5th August 1964, the Vietnamese People's Navy, despite being newly established, bravely chased USS Maddox Destroyer, shot down modern aircrafts, and captured American pilots,  making the tradition of "Winning the first battle". Currently, the Navy is trying to promote the undaunted spirit of winning the first battle to build a politically strong force to be worthy of a core force in managing and firmly protecting the sovereignty of seas, islands, and continental shelf of the country.

In 1964, facing the strong advance of the people and armed forces of the Southern revolution, the US imperialism and Saigon puppet government strengthened reconnaissance aircrafts and warships to infiltrate the waters of northern Vietnam. They bombarded along the coastal provinces from Thanh Hoa to Quang Binh. On 2nd August 1964, in their reconnaissance and provocation attempts, the USS Maddox Destroyer frigidly approached our coast. These actions were part of the US ploy to expand their destructive war to the North to prevent the reinforcements from the North for the South’s revolution.

Resolutely countering the enemy’s invasion, ordered by the Naval High Command, a group of three Torpedo boats of the 135th Squadron bravely attacked to chase away the USS Maddox Destroyer, shot down an aircraft, and injured another one, forcing the enemy to flee the waters of our country. On the night of 4th August 1964, the US  Maddox and Turner Joy destroyers actively opened fire and gave a signal of being attacked, setting up the "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" to accuse the Vietnam’s Navy of intentionally attacking the USS destroyers in international waters to deceive American and international opinions.

In order to "retaliate", on 5th August 1964, the US launched the Operation Pierce Arrow, deploying all the aircrafts from the Constellation and Ticonderoga aircraft carriers to destroy the economic facilities, bases, warehouses, and shelters of our Naval ships along the coast from Gianh river (Quang Binh Province), Cua Hoi, Vinh, and Ben Thuy (Nghe An Province), Lach Truong (Thanh Hoa Province) to Bai Chay (Quang Ninh Province), initiating the escalation of their sabotage war to destroy the North of Vietnam. This was a fierce duel between the maritime force and people's war posture of the North with the US naval and air forces. With its high morale, determination and bravery, the Vietnamese People's Navy coordinated and united with the three-force air defense and the people of the northern coastal localities to bravely fight against and shoot down 8 aircrafts, injure many others, capture pilots, and defeat the US attempt to escalate the war and destroy the North.

The victory on 2nd and 5th August 1964 was the first victory after nearly 10 years of construction, creating the tradition of "winning the first battle" of the Vietnam People's Navy. This was the victory of the political - spiritual power of the whole nation and the Navy and the Northern people’s will to "dare to fight, know how to fight, and be determined to defeat" the US’ invasion. Winning the first battle created a premise for our Party to build determination and  encouraged  our armed forces and people to take up arms to defeat all war strategies of the  US and Sai Gon puppet government, defend the big rear in the North, along with the big front line of the South to complete the cause of national liberation and unification of the country.

Read Admiral Pham Van Vung (third from right) checking Naval Brigde 172

Currently, the world and regional situations are seeing quick, complicated and unpredictable developments. New factors are directly affecting the situation on the East Sea. The strategic rivalry among major powers and fierce disputes over territory and sea and island sovereignty among countries in the region are posing new threats of conflicts and instability. Besides, hostile forces are still aggressively implementing the "Peaceful evolution" strategy and promoting "self-evolution", "self-transformation", and "depoliticization" of the Army. The task of protecting the Fatherland and the sovereignty over the sea and islands is facing many difficulties and challenges. In the event of a war on sea, our forces will have to confront with combat objects who have modern, high-tech equipment and new combat methods and tactics. It requires maritime forces, among which the Navy plays the core role, to constantly build a strong political base for improving the overall quality and combat strength to win in every situation. Inheriting and promoting the tradition of "winning the first battle" to build a politically strong Navy, agencies and units throughout the Service should focus on implementing a number of key tasks as follows:

Firstly, continue to innovate to improve the quality and efficiency of political and ideological education and build for officials and soldiers with strong political stuff and high determination in protecting the sovereignty of the sea and islands. This is the most important issue to consolidate the belief and  build the determination to fight against and know how to defeat the enemy for officials and soldiers. When "winning the first battle", the Navy was still small-scaled with rudimentary equipment. By well implementing the political and ideological education work, however, our soldiers were brave and resilient to confront the enemy's modern air and naval forces, and we won. Promoting the tradition of "winning the first battle", agencies and units should continue to thoroughly grasp and educate officials and soldiers to deeply understand the superiors’ resolutions and directives, especially the 4th Central Resolution (the 10th Tenure) on "Vietnam Sea Strategy to 2020"; the 8th Central Resolution (the 11th Tenure) on "National defense strategy in the new situation"; the 8th Central Resolution (the 12th Tenure) on "Strategy for sustainable development of Vietnam's marine economy to 2030 and vision to 2045"; and the Politburo’s Resolution No.33 (the 12th Tenure) on "National Border Protection Strategy". They should also continue to perform "One focus and three breakthroughs in  the Party and political work" to effectively implement the Project on "Renewal of political education in units in the new period". Special importance should be attached to renewing the contents, forms, and methods of political education and closely combining political education with propaganda and dissemination of laws and forecasts, grasping, managing, orienting, and solving ideological difficulties for soldiers. It is necessary to promote learning and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality, and style associated with the Campaign on "Promoting tradition and dedicating talent to be worthy of the Uncle Ho's soldiers - the Navy soldiers". At the same time, other the tasks should be completed, including: well organizing the Determination to Win Emulation movement associated with fostering, construction, replication, and promotion of advanced samples; and actively expanding the objects and improving the quality and efficiency of propaganda on the sea and islands in association with propaganda to attract human resources to build the modern Arm. Thereby, it will make officials and soldiers have a strong and stable political stuff, deep awareness of the tasks, objects, partners, conspiracies, and tricks of hostile forces, and high sense of vigilance and responsibility to dare to think, dare to do, dare to take responsibility and willingness to accept hardship and sacrifice to firmly protect the sovereignty of the sea and islands of the country.

Secondly, focus on building a strong Party Committee of the Service in terms of politics, ideology, organization, and morality and constantly improve the leadership capacity and the combat power of Party organizations and the quality of officials and Party members. Party commissions at all levels should continue to thoroughly grasp and strictly implement the 4th Central Resolution (the 12th Tenure) on Party building and rectification; and Resolution No.147 of the Central Military Party Committee (now the Central Military Commission) and Decree No.5863 of the Party Commission of the Service on enhancing leadership capacity and combat power of grassroots Party organizations and the quality of officials and Party members. Concurrently, much attention should be attached to improving the quality of leadership activities and capacity of building, grasping, and organizing the implementation of resolutions; strictly abiding by democratic centralism principle, leadership rules, and working regulations of the Party commissions; and promoting the self-criticism and criticism and renewing the Party Day activities. Additionally, it is necessary to focus on well implementing the breakthroughs in "Two-quality and two-promotion" and constructing the Party cells according to the criteria of "Four-good"; strictly implement the superiors’ instructions and guidelines on improving the quality of Party membership admission; and review, screen, and expel people who are no longer eligible for party membership out of the Party. Along with that, the ideological work should be well implemented to ensure that the whole Party Commission is a unified block of politics and ideology and maintain the Party's ideological foundation in the Arm. It also needs to continue to reorganize the staffing, consolidate all levels of Party committees and cells, and well prepare the personnel for the Party commissions at all levels for 2020 - 2025 term. The Party commissions and organizations in the Arm Party Committee should well implement the work of education, management, training of officials and Party members, focusing on moral issues, lifestyles, sense of responsibility, striving motivation, association with the masses, and modeling role of leading officials to contribute to building a ethically strong Party Committee. The inspection and supervision work should be strengthened in accordance with the motto: "Expanded supervision and focused inspection". The Party members and organizations with signs of violation should be actively inspection. Meanwhile, complaints and denunciations should be considered and promptly settled in accordance with regulations, principles, and competence. The violating Party organizations and members should be strictly handled from the grassroots level.

Finally,  build a strong contingent of officials with high quality, competence, and prestige to  meet the task requirements. The Party commissions and organizations should thoroughly grasp and strictly implement the superiors’ resolutions, instructions, and guidelines on personnel work, particular Resolution No.109 issued on 11th February 2016 by the Central Military Commission on "Building a contingent of the Army officials, especially those at the campaign and strategic levels to meet the task requirements in the new situation” and Resolution No.1348 issued on 12th July 2016 by the Arm Party Commission on" Building a contingent of officials of the Navy, especially those at the campaign level and leading officials of agencies and units to meet the task requirements in the new situation”. The staff planning at all levels should be regularly reviewed, adjusted, supplemented, and implemented to ensure the inheritance and continuous and solid development among generations. Importance should be attached to selecting the sources of young officials and those who are capable. In particular, attention should be paid to the political quality and practical capacity with "dynamic" and "open" plans to meet the fluctuations in personnel. At the same time, it is necessary to well perform the training and retraining of officials according to their positions and roles to have corresponding educational qualifications; combine school-based training with in-service fostering, of which planned officials, officials of combat-ready units, and promising young officials should be prioritized. Rotation associated with training, retraining, arrangement, and use of officials should be focused on, and officials should be gradually rotated from convenient to difficult places to foster in training practice and combat readiness. Negative manifestations, factions, local thoughts, local favoritism, affinity, or group interests of the in personnel work should be prevented.

55 years have passed, but the heroic spirit and lessons of experience in "winning the first battle" of the Vietnamese People's Navy are still intact, reminding the today’s generations of Naval official and soldiers to sharpen their combat will, be aware and alert of the plots and tricks of hostile forces, and uphold the spirit of initiative, and creativity to dare to fight, know how to fight, and be determined to win in every situation.

Rear Admiral Pham Van Vung, Secretary of Party Commission, Political Commissar of the Navy

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