Memorial services for soldiers killed protecting Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef)

Pham Minh Chien and many soldiers meet every year to commemorate their comrades who were killed when defending Vietnam’s sovereignty over Truong Sa (Spartly) islands in 1988.
Chien always make sure to leave a few empty chairs. 
“It has been 28 years. You have become immortal with Truong Sa,” the former political chief of the Vietnamese Navy's Brigade 125 said on Sunday, during a requiem for the 64 Vietnamese soldiers who fought against the Chinese on March 14, 1988.
On that day, Vietnamese Navy's Brigade 125 mobilized three ships, HQ-604 and 605 and HQ-505, with nearly 100 officers and soldiers to the Gac Ma (Johnson South), Co Lin (Collins or Johnson North) and Len Dao (Lansdowne) reefs.
The soldiers were transporting construction materials from the ships onto Gac Ma when four Chinese vessels arrived.
Lieutenant Colonel Tran Duc Thong of the Brigade 146 ordered second-lieutenant Tran Van Phuong and two soldiers to use a small boat to rush to the island and protect the national flag.
The Chinese soldiers reportedly opened fire, killing Phuong on the spot.
HQ-604 Captain Vu Phi Tru ordered the soldiers to fight back, but their ship was damaged and sank. 
Colonel Vu Huy Le, HQ-505 captain, said in a heroic act, his unit managed to plant a flag on Co Lin at 5:30 a.m. the same day. Chinese ships began to fire at HQ-505 but Le decided to run his ship aground and they successfully defended Co Lin.
The other ship, HQ-605 with 18 aboard, was also attacked soon later while defending Len Dao.
“I was on the watching tower and warned others after the Chinese ships opened fire at Co Lin and Gac Ma. They quickly turned to us after shooting at the HQ-505 and HQ-604,” said Nguyen Viet Hai, a former soldier on HQ-605.
Engineer Uong Xuan Tho on HQ-605 said he and the others had to leave the ship and did not have time to recover the body of a soldier who was shot dead. 
Tho said after four hours floating at sea, they were rescued. But by then another soldier had succumbed to injuries.
"He was asking for water the moment before his death,” Tho recalled.
A total of 64 Vietnamese soldiers were killed in the battle.
Later on the same day, three other Vietnamese naval ships arrived at the site to support the defense of Co Lin and Len Dao. But Chinese forces managed to occupy Gac Ma.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 10 ]

John Smith 16/3/16 10:46

At that time, Vietnamese naval soldiers were doing their duty of safeguarding the fatherland and building works to serve the life of soldiers and people in Truong Sa when they were attacked by Chinese warships

Gentle Moon 16/3/16 10:48

Many Vietnamese soldiers stood in a circle around the fatherland’s flag to protect it as an action to affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelago

LawrenceSamuels 16/3/16 10:49

That clash left three Vietnamese ships on fire and then sunk, three Vietnamese combatants dead, eleven soldiers injured, and 70 others missing.

Jane smartnic 16/3/16 10:50

In commemoration of the fallen combatants in the battle to protect the fatherland’s sovereignty, I have long nurtured an idea to build a memorial park for them

yobro yobro 16/3/16 10:50

The Chinese have forcefully occupied Hoang Sa, Gac Ma, and some other islands in Truong Sa. Such occupation is temporary and Vietnamese generations have the responsibility to claim back these sacred territories of the fatherland

Love Peace 16/3/16 10:53

Chinese army on March 14, 1988 used force to occupy Gac Ma Island, which belongs to Vietnam.

MaskOf Zero 16/3/16 10:53

Vietnamese naval forces bravely fought against the invaders to protect the island and suffered great loss of life.

Only Solidar 16/3/16 10:54

Twenty-seven years has passed since the battle, and the Vietnamese people have always remembered the soldiers who sacrified themselves in the combat to safeguard the fatherland

Pack Cassiopian 16/3/16 10:55

Over the past many years, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly affirmed that Vietnam has sufficient legal foundation and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over both the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos in the East Vietnam Sea.

Deck Hero14 16/3/16 10:58

we always remember their sacrifices!

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