“The Americans bombarded our defenses on the hill with their planes and artillery. As soon as the shelling was over we moved back into our bunkers and trenches and uncovered the machine guns.
We could see their soldiers coming up the hill. Once they were within range we fired at them. One of them carried a flame thrower. He was shooting fire at our forward line of bunkers.
One of my friends was one of the men who caught fire. He left his bunker, completely covered in flames with something in his hand. I didn’t realize what it was until he tackled the American and they both blew up in a giant ball of flame. It was a grenade he was holding.
I thought to myself, ‘What a shame that they should be wasted like that.’
An American jumped in my hole and stabbed me in the leg with his rifle bayonet. I did not want to die so I dropped my rifle and held my hands in the air pleading for him not to kill me.
As a prisoner, the soldiers on the front line treated me well. We respected each other as combat soldiers. It wasn’t until I was given to the rear troops was I treated poorly at times. I hold respect in high regard.”
– Bao Phan. North Vietnamese Army. 1968
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.