His real business was revolution

A revolutionary famous for his role in the attack on the American Embassy in 1968 passed away on October 20, 2008.

Tran Si Hung (left) and his younger brother

Forty years later, Tu Hung’s eyes filled up with tears as he recalled a landmark event in the nation’s struggle for reunification – the heroic attack on the US Embassy in Saigon in the spring of 1968.

Tu Hung was well known in the Saigon business community as an affluent, prestigious contractor, but no one knew that he was making money to fund the revolution.

He was also engaged in collecting strategic intelligence in the early 1950s and 70s.

Earlier this year, he recounted the lead up to that fateful event.

“In the afternoon of the 30th day of the twelfth Lunar month, Hai Chi, a member of the Saigon Special Task Force, came to see me and told me about the plan. Hai Chi needed a car so he asked me for help. At the time, Hai Chi knew me only as a patriotic contractor. If he had figured out I engaged in gathering strategic intelligence, he wouldn’t have approached me, because I couldn’t get myself involved in any violence. ”

Hung knew that it was an unscheduled plan, but could not refuse to help Hai Chi.

“Since the American Embassy is an important target, a successful attack on it would not only stir public opinion but also terrify the enemy on the other side of the ocean.”

In the evening, Hung drove his 4-seat white Dauphine to a noodle soup shop in Yen Do (now Ly Chinh Thang) Street, which was the headquarters of the Mau Than campaign. At midnight, he drove Ba Den, leader of the special task force and three other people to Ms. Phe’ s house on Phan Thanh Gian (now Dien Bien Phu Street) to get the explosives. The car then headed to the U.S. Embassy. Following his car was a light truck carrying 12 members of the special task force.

“We stopped in front the gate of the U.S. Embassy. The troops quickly got out of the truck, put the explosive charges against the wall, exploded it and rushed into the embassy, firing their rifles.”

After dropping the last revolutionary soldier off the car, Hung immediately drove into nearby alley and parked it there. He got out of the car, walked to a vacant house opposite the embassy and stood there directly observing the scene.

“Policemen and militia jumped out of dozens of siren-sounding jeeps, pointing their rifles’ barrels into the embassy. A few minutes later, several helicopters appeared and fired down like rain. I knew that all the troops were killed.

“I couldn’t hold back my tears. I caught myself thinking of my younger brother, who was also a revolutionary soldier. I met him in jail between 1959 and 1964. We also saw each other on the streets sometimes after that but we ignored each other. We were both on mission.”

Tran Si Hung, widely known as Tu Hung, was born in 1921 into a well-off family in Binh Luc District of Ha Nam Province. He became a revolutionary fighter in 1937 when he was just 16 years old. In 1954, Hung was assigned to a special mission in Saigon to gather strategic intelligence.

In real life, Hung was a modest and simple man, easy to get along with. 

The contribution he made to the cause of independence and freedom of the country is immense, and a grateful nation will cherish his memories forever. 

By Dao Van Su – Translated by Phuong Lan

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