|Mr. Dinh Phong in the meeting of "Souvenirs of those who went to B" program (Photo: Mai Hai)|
In early 1965, a troop of cadres called K33 Troop arrived to the South Viet Nam. It consisted of over 300 members of different careers such as education, health, agriculture, labor union, youth proselyte, sport, culture, press, grouped and trained at the Co hill within the periphery of Phu Tho Town in the middle of the year 1964. Up to that time, it had been considered the largest number troop including over 10 women.
The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party Le Duan, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party To Huu, Public Health Minister Pham Ngoc Thach and other comrades paid a visit to encourage us during our training time. During on the evening of December 20, 1964, all of the members of the K33 Troop in liberation army’s uniform sang the song “Liberate the South” in the departure ceremony.
According to regulations of the central committee, cadres in the troop that went to the South had to change their names and were not permitted to carry souvenirs, money, documentaries. We were just allowed to carry a picture of our relatives and operated card. When arriving at the Lang Ho station – the first stop along the Truong Son Mountain, once again, we had to leave all of our documentaries, money that still remained.
Our K33 Troop included four small groups: Tri Thien Group, Fifth Zone Group, Sixth Zone Group and Southern Group. The Southern Group had over 200 members divided into four small units. These small units included two educational units, one cultural-politic unit, one agricultural, health, youth proselytized unit.
Cadres in the troop were provided with clothes, a plastic sheet to cover the hammock from above (to protect against rain, hot sunshine), medicine, salt, dry provisions, and always carried an amount of rice for five days with them. Daily work was the same and repetitive every day. We prepared meals and water at 5 A.M. At 6 A.M., it was time to operate. We had ten minutes resting after each sixty minutes walk. In the afternoon, we had thirty minutes for lunch and rest, and then kept on walking. We reached the commo-liaison stations sometimes at 5-6 P.M., sometimes at 7-8 P.M. After preparing dinner, cooking water, drying our clothes, we went to sleep, maybe at 9-10 P.M. During the Tet of 1965, the troop stopped 3 days for the holiday in Kon Tum.
At that time, the Truong Son trail was still in secret so we did not face the American bombings. Short of rice, we had to look for wild bulbs and vegetables. When walking through the Southern Highland, a hot and dry land, we had to save meals and water for 2-3 days.
It took the Tri Thien Group about haft a month to go to its final station. We said goodbye at A So pine hill in the west of Thua Thien Province. The Fifth Zone Group spent two months to go to its final station, the Sixth Zone Group over two months, and the Southern Group 88 days. On March 17, 1965, we came to the last station. During several days resting at this station, Member of the Standing Central Committee Pham Van So and other head comrades of the South visited our group.
On December 20, 2004, we celebrated our 40 years since operation to B. Now, we decide to celebrate the anniversary every year in order to honor about the time in operation to B.
The youngest member in our group is 63 years old now. It has been 41 years since the day operated to B.
(The author is former deputy chairman of the Vietnamese Journalists' Association)