PANO - During the 81 days of fierce battle at the ancient citadel of Quang Tri, communication played the most vital role in connecting the commanders with the soldiers.
The enemy had tried by all means to cut the communication of our army. In one of these fierce battles, hero Tran Duy Hoan had to hold the broken wire between his teeth for 10 minutes to keep the communication line on. As a result, the fighting order could reach the soldiers on the front in time to secure our victory.
Signal soldier clearing mines
Soldier Tran Duy Hoan and his wife are now leading a happy life in a modest house in Dong Que village, Vu Ban Commune, Binh Luc District, in Ha Nam province.
Born in 1949 into a revolutionary family in Binh Luc District, Ha Nam Province, Tran Duy Hoan joined the revolutionary insurrection for the national salvation at young age. In 1968, like other youths, he officially joined the army and was trained to be a signal soldier in Company 5, Huu Ngan Military Zone (now, Military Zone 3). In late 1968, he was enlisted in the Regiment 34 under the Signal Arm.
Hoan confided that for them the communication line was just their own intestines, poles were their backbones. A signal soldier’s weapon is just a wire coil and pliers but they could destroy a number of enemy’s bombs and mines.
Tran Duy Hoan had thoroughly studied different kinds of destructive weapons used by the enemy and then introduced ways how to avoid casualties to other soldiers especially in the Vinh Linh battle-field.
To reconnect communication lines, soldiers of his battalion had to often defuse or explode time bombs. Sometimes, he had to creep down trenches and use a long telephone wire to drag the bomb to a distant area for explosion.
Ten minutes made history
In the war, our communication lines were subjected to enemy’s constant bombardment, but thanks to the courage and great efforts and sacrifices, the communications could resume immediately. The signal soldiers had made great contributions to the victories of soldiers on the front.
During the scorching summer in Quang Tri in 1972, the enemy continuously fired at the area linking Vinh Linh with the Thach Han River with an effort of blocking the communication between Hanoi and the South.
The area taken by the group 29 led by Tran Duy Hoan was heavily devastated.
In these days, soldiers had to work tirelessly to reconnect broken wires, and they often had run short of materials.
Once, in an urgent circumstance, Hoan himself had to keep the broken wire in his mouth to secure the signal transmission for 10 minutes.
His wise and brave action won him a first-class Order of Feat of Arms.
Hoan had brought home and preserved that piece of wire with various other joints as a souvenir of the resistance war.
According to a book featuring the history of the Regiment M34, in 1972 alone, Hoan alone had fixed broken wires 157 times. Hoan had braved dangers at the risk of his life to fulfill the assigned tasks.
After battles in Quang Tri, Hoan was sent back to the North and studied in the Military Academy. After graduation, he worked as a director of a communication company in a communication network running in Hanoi, Ha Tay (now part of Hanoi) and Vinh Phuc (Phu Tho and Vinh Phuc at present).
In recognition of his significant contributions, Tran Duy Hoan was conferred the title “Hero of People’s Armed Forces” in 1972 and along with many Orders and Medals.
Translated by Tran Hoai