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Thursday, December 21, 2017, 14:49 (GMT+7)
The capital city’s armed forces promote values of the “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the Air" Victory

During the resistance war against the US, manifesting the spirit of “Determination to die so that the nation can live”, the soldiers and people of Hanoi closely cooperated with friendly armed forces on a bold, dauntless,  ingenious and creative basis against the US Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Linebacker, thereby firmly protecting the capital city. At the pinnacle of Hanoi’s efforts was the 12 –day-and-night air defense campaign in late December 1972, which contributed to the “Hanoi - Dien Bien Phu in the Air" resounding victory, foiling the US plot to destroy Hanoi as “the capital city of human dignity”, dealing a fatal blow to the US sagging morale, effectuating their signing of  the Paris Peace Accords and the end to their involvement in Vietnam.

It is 45 years since the 12-day-and-night battle in late December, 1972, which went down in Vietnam’s history, memories of heroic feats of arms by the soldiers and people of Hanoi remain engraved in the country’s mind. Based on strategic predictions of the US possible attacks by B-52 bombers on Hanoi and prior experience of the battle against the US Operation Rolling Thunder, the Hanoi High Command’s Party Committee thoroughly grasped directives by the Central Military Commission and the General Headquarters of the Vietnam People's Army, thereby proactively advising the municipal authorities to direct localities and units to develop forces and consolidate the posture of people’s air defense in line with the new situation. Accordingly, the municipal authorities accelerated the consolidation of the local armed forces as the centerpiece of people’s air defense with a focus on air defense militia and such groups as “one hand with hammer, one hand with gun” or “one hand harvests, one hand with gun”, the  terms referring to militia farmers and workers at the grassroots level. In addition to forces’ widespread development, more weapons and equipment, and advanced military training for cadres and soldiers, the Hanoi High Command closely cooperated with the local authorities and locals in building the firm posture of people’s air defense to foil the enemy’s plots and artifices.

During the air defense campaign in late 1972, Hanoi prepared its posture of people’s air defense adequately and properly whereby the effectiveness of weapons available was maximized. Against the backdrop of Hanoi’s narrow space and dense population, the municipal armed forces managed to build the posture of people’s air defense both in the inner city and on the periphery in order to repel the US aerial bombings. Specifically, the municipal armed forces organized 92 low–range anti-aircraft artillery positions, 4 mid-range anti-aircraft gun companies, 1,122 self-defense militia teams, 95 communications bases, 36 municipally-run observatories, 414 locally-run observation stations and hundreds of first-aid, transport, engineering teams manned by up to 54,000 cadres and soldiers. The municipal High Command also counselled the municipal authorities to implement evacuation schemes while playing the core role in the evacuation of approximately 55,000 Hanoians from the inner city and the building of hundreds of mass tunnels, 1,130 km of trenches and so on. During the 12 day-and-night campaign, the municipal armed forces were at the forefront of the movement “all-people participation in shooting down US warplanes and taking alive enemy pilots”, in coordination with air defense – air force units in shooting down B-52 Stratofortress bombers in the skies above Hanoi. At the same time, they were in the vanguard of coping with the aftermath of war and in unison with the public security forces in  preserving social order and protecting the nerve centre of the Party and State. That fierce battle did leave hundreds of cadres and soldiers of the municipal armed forces fallen, who set shining examples of valour and the spirit of “Determination to die so that the nation can live”.

Commandants of Hanoi capital and General Department of Politics present flowers to raw recruits

The “Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu in the air” Victory is of historic significance. Once again, it bore out the correctness of people’s war and all-people national defence under the leadership of the Party. Not only was it the pride of the municipal armed forces but it also taught them valuable lessons about strategic predictions, preparations for and organization of surface-to-air people’s war, especially people’s air defense, evacuation, and so on. Those lessons have been internalized in building all-people national defense, the posture of all-people national defense associated with that of people’s security and building the increasingly firm municipal defense zone, meeting the requirements of national and municipal construction and protection in the new situation.

Fully aware of lessons of being steadfast to the Party’s leadership and promoting the synergy of the three-category  armed forces and the spirit of “Determination to fight, determination to win” from the air defense campaign in late December, 1972, the municipal High Command has thoroughly grasped the Party’s military and national defense guidelines and resolutions and directives by the higher echelons, with emphasis placed on building its firm three-category  armed forces into reliable, loyal political and fighting forces worthy of trust by authorities and people both in Hanoi and across the country. The municipal High Command has made key recommendations to the municipal authorities on making the municipal armed forces strong politically, ideologically and organizationally. As a result, the municipal armed forces have attached importance to making the active force “elite, compact and strong”, the reserve and self-defense militia “plentiful, powerful and widespread” with due attention devoted to the people’s air defense force. The municipal authorities have paid special attention to the enhancement of the Party’s leadership over the armed forces, political and ideological education and internal political protection while popularizing traditions of “Hanoi – millennia-old civilization”, “Determination to die so that the nation can live”, lessons of “Determination to fight, determination to win” during the 1972 air defense campaign. This has enabled the municipal armed forces to achieve firm political will, shared understanding and greater sense of responsibility over the task of municipal construction and protection. Moreover, the municipal High Command has accelerated improved combat training so that the local armed forces can maintain their combat readiness, thereby effectively dealing with all contingencies. The training has been renovated comprehensively along the motto of “basics, practicalities, thorough grasp”. Great importance is attached to the synchronized and in–depth training,  close  to  combat  realities,  the  requirements, assignments  and  operational  areas  of  each  force  and  each unit,  consonant  with  their  organizational  structure  and equipment. Military training has been always in tandem with political education and discipline, fostering soldiers’ trust in the existing fighting methods, weapons and equipment.

Building and promoting the synergy of the postures of people’s war and people’s air defense is one of the decisive factors in the “Hanoi –Dien Bien Phu in the air” Victory. Consequently, the municipal armed forces have closely cooperated with relevant agencies in making recommendations to the municipal authorities on accelerating the building of all-people national defense and defense zones with a focus on the posture of all-people national defense associated with that of all-people security. Based on recommendations by the municipal High Command and relevant agencies, the municipal authorities have introduced and implemented various resolutions, directives, programs and plans on municipal defense, including Resolution 30/2013/NQ-HĐND on “Building Hanoi’s defense zone until 2020 and beyond”, Program 05-CTr/TU on “Enhancing national defense-security to ensure social order and safety”, Master Plan on combining national defense with socio-economic development until 2020.

Achievements in Hanoi’s defense zone building have served as a facilitator for its posture of all-people defense and security, directly contributing to the city’s political security, social order and safety and creating favorable conditions for Hanoi’s comprehensive development. In the time to come, the municipal armed forces will continue to make important recommendations to the municipal authorities on the enhancement of State management over national defense and of defense-security education as well as close combination of socio-economic development and national defense, security and diplomacy as well as mobilization of resources for building the military posture of the defense zone with top priority assigned to  the posture of “people’s hearts and minds”.

Against the backdrop of complicated and unpredictable developments in the region and the world, especially hostile forces’ intense sabotage activities against Vietnam with Hanoi as the prime target, the municipal armed forces are committed themselves to guarantee perfect safety of Hanoi, the nerve center of the Party and State and political, cultural, diplomatic events, avoiding falling into passivity in any circumstances. Accordingly, the municipal armed forces have actively grasped the situation, strictly maintained combat readiness and regularly reviewed and revised operational plans involving terrorist attacks, kidnapping, riots, disaster relief, search and rescue, and so on. The municipal armed forces have closely cooperated with relevant local agencies, especially the municipal security forces and firefighting forces pursuant to the Government’s Decree 77/2010/NĐ-CP in order to opportunely and effectively deal with all contingencies and to foil hostile forces’ plots and artifices of “peaceful evolution”, thereby maintaining national security as well as social order and safety at the grassroots level.

The 45th anniversary of the “Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu in the air” Victory helps to remind the whole military and people in general, the municipal armed forces in particular, of the epoch-making feat of arms as a milestone in the Vietnamese history. It also helps them forge a spirit of patriotism, national pride in and self-respect for glorious traditions of Hanoi, foster their trust in the Party’s sound leadership and to bring into full play the spirit and strength of “Hanoi – Dien Bien Phu in the air” to successfully fulfil assigned tasks, contributing to rendering Hanoi civilized and modernized, worthy of its reputation as the capital city of heroism and millennia-old civilization.

Maj. Gen. Nguyen Doan Anh, Chief of Hanoi High Command

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