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Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 15:15 (GMT+7)
Division No. 361 promotes its tradition, increases the quality of training and combat readiness for firmly safeguarding Hanoi capital city’s sky

45 years ago, in late December, 1972, under the leadership of the Party, northern armed forces and people, with Air Defence-Air Force Service as the core, launched the Air Defence Campaign to defeat the American B52 strategic air strike on Hanoi, Hai Phong, and some other northern provinces. As part of the Air Defence- Air Force Service, Division No. 361 - Hanoi Air Defence Unit (hereafter the Division) was designated to be a key force in direct charge of shooting down B52 aircraft and safeguarding Hanoi Capital City. This was a great honour, but weighty and decisive responsibility for the Division’s cadres and soldiers.

Fully aware of the stated mission, the Division’s Party executive committee and Commandants encouraged cadres and soldiers to promote their fighting spirits, and make swift preparations concerning air forces, weaponry, hardware, posture, logistics, and a tactic to destroy B52 bombers, thereby surmounting all the difficulties and hardships to multidimensionally wage various continuous battles around the clock and successfully shoot down “B52 flying fortress” – the pride of the US Air Force and one of their triple strategic deterrents. The unique feature of the Division’s combat art lies in close coordination between diffuse combat of three-category air defence force and focalized combined arms combat in shooting down  the enemy’s targets, particularly B52 strategic aircraft. During the 12-day-and-night Air Defence Campaign in late December 1972, being limited in force and military equipment, but strong on determination and intellectuality, the Division engaged in numerous decisive battles, and shot down 29 assorted aircraft (25 B52 bombers of the total 34 shot down in the entire Campaign (16 B52 bombers shot down on the spot), thereby contributing greatly to the triumph of the Campaign.

Inheriting and promoting that glorious tradition, the Division has synchronously taken various measures to enhance its overall quality and combat strength, accomplishing all the assigned tasks. In recent years, in response to increasingly high demands for defending the Homeland, the Division’s Party executive committee and commandants have continuously inherited, applied, and fostered precious lessons of late December 1972 Air Defence Campaign to innovate and enhance quality of training and combat readiness in a bid to firmly defend Hanoi’s sky in any circumstances, and regard them as a breakthrough determining factor in completing its political mission. Accordingly, some key measures should be taken as follows.

First, cadres and soldiers should be educated on the significance of tasks of training and combat readiness which acts as a determinant to the Division’s qualities of training and combat readiness. At present, stationed diffusely in 10 provinces and cities, the Division is in charge of training wide-ranging subjects and a broad variety of old and modern versions of technical weapons, hardware and equipment whilst being weightily tasked with not only cooperating with other forces in protecting key targets and sites in Hanoi and other adjacent provinces, but streamlining its organization according to the requirement for modernizing Air Defence- Air Force Service. Fully aware of that, the Division’s Party executive committee and commandants have instructed its affiliates to properly educate cadres and soldiers on the importance of tasks of training and combat readiness, thereby creating positive transformation in their awareness and sense of responsibility. The comprehensive content of education chiefly covers the Party’s line, viewpoints and new military thinking; the enemy’s air combat artifices and stratagems; and orientation, roadmap, and requirements for modernizing Air Defence- Air Force Service in the new revolutionary stage as enshrined in the Party and Central Military Commission directions and resolutions, notably Resolution of the 12th National Congress of Communist Party of Vietnam, and Resolution of the 10th Congress of Military Party Organization with a focus on educating the tradition of Air Defence- Air Force Service and of the Division in “Dien Bien Phu in the air” Campaign, and combat training and political education plans, thereby contributing to enhanced resolve, responsibility and confidence in weaponry, equipment, and combat tactics amongst cadres and soldiers.  During the implementation process, for the sake of high effectiveness, offices and units need to actively reform education approaches in line with every specific subject, and closely combine annual combat training and political education programs with peak emulation movements through the execution of three breakthrough stages (breakthrough in combat readiness capability, training quality, and commanding and managerial capability). In addition, it is necessary to attach the implementation of military, political and legal education missions and discipline observance to that of Directive No.05 by the Politburo on accelerating the study of following of Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality, and lifestyle in an effort to build scientific and comprehensive working style amongst cadres and soldiers. Hence, all the Division’s cadres and soldiers feel at ease in their service, fulfil their responsibility, and rectify deviant ideology and awareness.

Combat training in Regiment No. 218 (photo: phongkhongkhongquan.vn)

Second, concentrating on boosting qualities of training and combat readiness, satisfying the requirement for protecting Hanoi capital city’s sky. Presently, Air Defence- Air Force Service has been consolidating its force and modernizing its materiel as well as developing air defence combat art in a bid to counter the foe’s air attack tactics via high-tech weapons. Therefore, it is essential to provide training for proficiently using modern weapons, hardware, and equipment to effectively deal with the opponent’s air attacks. Grounded in approved training plans, the Division has directed its affiliates to make proper preparations concerning the work of training. First and foremost, in addition to proactively reorganizing units (especially combat readiness ones, newly formed ones; protection forces in critical targets and areas), the Division has attached great importance to offering training courses intended to promote training and combat readiness capabilities for a contingent of cadres at all levels, particularly managing commanding and training cadres while encouraging technical initiatives and renovations and applying information technology to training tasks. The content of training mainly involves proficient use of modern technical weapons, hardware, and equipment (self-propelled anti-aircraft gun ZCY-23-4M; long-range strategic missile C300-PMU1, Spyder); innovated technical weapon C125-2TM; physical training; and intensive night training. For the sake of higher efficiency in basic and combat reality training, it is essential to focus on training assorted missiles (long-medium-short ranges) and anti-aircraft guns; offering in-depth training for combat teams (commanding officer, artilleryman, and radar operator) to master individual combat technique and promote mobile and coordinative combat abilities from artillery team  to the whole combat team (company, battalion, radar station) under the motto “swift deployment, combat, withdrawal and mobility” whilst growing importance is attached to combining the work of training with passing down combat experiences, especially the Division’s signature battles in late-December-1972 Air Defence Campaign, thereby raising soldiers’ confidence in the Division’s tactics. Besides, the Division has proactively cooperated with the local party executive committees, governments and military units in adequately training the reserve forces.

In order to meet new combat missions and requirements, the Division has instructed its competent agencies as well as cadres and commandants at all levels to promote research and development of air defence tactics under modern combat conditions, and formulate combat plans in line with the enemy’s air combat artifices, characteristics of their stationed areas, function of weapons and hardware, and their stated tasks in a bid to apply those to the work of training and strengthen combat readiness capabilities amongst the Division’s units. Annually, the Division has carried out field trip training, practice in turning to combat condition and combined arms combat drills, particularly live fire drill of accompanying anti-aircraft guns protecting combined arms units, and joined local defensive area exercises in their stationed areas. All the Division’s units yielded A-level results in 2017 live fire test. When joining PK-17 exercise and MB-17 and DT-17 exercises conducted by Air Defence-Air Force Service and Ministry of National Defence respectively, the Division was highly lauded by the Steering Board of all-level Drills, with the result that the Division killed its targets and ensured absolute safety.

Third, strengthening technical and logistical work to meet tasks of training and combat readiness via synchronous measures as a basis for ensuring the accomplishment of the Division’s routine and unexpected missions. In view of technical work, due to the sheer number of combat weapons, hardware and equipment, the Division has given priority to synchronously guaranteeing technical weapons, hardware and equipment to a high specification for the purpose of performing tasks of training and combat readiness whilst effectively implementing the Campaign “managing, exploiting, and using technical weapons and equipment properly, durably, safely and economically, and traffic safety” via technical days and hours. For the sake of high maintenance, on the one hand, the Division has tightly combined the promotion of researching, renovating, upgrading, and repairing old versions of technical weapons and hardware with the exploitation and maintenance of modern versions of ones; on the other, the Division also has proactively received technology transfer and mastered modern technical weapons and hardware for the sake of effective usage and exploitation. In addition to technical work, grounded in the higher authorities’ combat characteristics, missions, and plans, the Division has instructed its affiliates to wholly formulate a series of documents concerning the work of logistics in order to effectively fulfil the tasks of training and drilling. Great importance is attached to guaranteeing adequate supply of combat readiness logistics whilst actively reforming logistical support services through combining the higher authorities’ logistical supply with on-the-spot one, thereby gradually creating strong logistical posture in the Division’s stationed areas.

Given creative and flexible methods, the Division has accomplished its stated tasks, deserving to be “Unit of People’s armed force Hero”- the Party, State and Army’s key and reliable force in governing and defending Hanoi’s sky, contributing to the building of prosperous and civilized Hanoi Capital City.

Snr. Col. Nguyen Manh Khai, Commander of Division No. 316        

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