Over the past 30 years serving the military, non-commissioned Major Truong Cong Bien, Head of the bomb and mine clearance team of Engineering Brigade 25 of Military Region 9 (MR9), together with his comrades, has exerted all-out efforts to gather and clear UXO items.

Non-commissioned Major Truong Cong Bien and an MK-36 torpedo

Getting firmly tied to mine clearance

Non-commission Major Truong Cong Bien was born and grew up in Dong Co commune, Tien Hai district, Thai Binh province. However, his military career has been attached to Vinh Long province for nearly 30 years.

When he was 21 years old, he followed his older brother's family, who was working at Engineering Brigade 25, MR9, to live in Vinh Long. In September 1994, he volunteered to join the military. After completing the training course for new recruits, he was assigned to the bomb and mine clearance team of Engineering Brigade 25. In 2011, he was appointed to be head of the team. He has held this position until now.

Bien shared that clearance bombs, mines, and UXO left from war is  particularly hazardous. Danger is always lurking at any time; therefore, the first thing to do is to make himself and his loved ones feel secure. In addition, he has constantly trained and practiced to improve his skills and spirit, and master different kinds of machinery and vehicles. Meanwhile, he and his comrades have received care and directions of higher levels. This has created motivations for them to overcome all difficulties and accomplish the mission.

As the head of the bomb and mine clearance team, Bien constantly asks troops to strictly observe safety regulations and comply with procedures for clearance bombs, mines and UXO.

Braving hardships and dangers

Reportedly, in MR9, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Ca Mau, Ben Tre and Tra Vinh are provinces heavily contaminated with UXO. Most of them have their chemical and physical properties changed due to the impact of the environment; therefore, many unsafety risks are hidden. Some types contain napalm - an extremely dangerous chemical, are exerting negative effects on socio-economic development and directly threatening people's lives and property.

Major Bien and a newly disposed bomb in Tra Vinh

Since 2018, Bien and his team have detected, gathered and denoted more than 100 tons of UXO, cleaned up nearly 1,500 hectares of contaminated land while ensuring absolute safety for personnel, vehicles, as well as people’s lives and property.

According to non-commissioned Major Truong Cong Bien, apart from performing assigned missions, upon receiving information about UXO from local people, the team promptly rush to the scene. In July 2022, the team found the wreckage of a wartime U.S. military aircraft in Ward 1 of Duyen Hai town, Tra Vinh province. With a high sense of responsibility, after nearly 20 days, the team collected most of the aircraft’s wreckage, including a bomb with an intact detonator.

Also, Bien affirmed that the number of disposed UXO items over the past five years has decreased significantly compared to previous periods. It means that the level of UXO pollution in MR9 has reduced.

In order to clear all the UXO left from the war, Bien and his team would continue to do their utmost to surmount difficulties and dangers to accomplish assignments.

Translated by Quynh Oanh