Following President Ho Chi Minh’s teachings of “Helping friends is helping yourself,” the late general contributed significantly to the revolutionary cause of the Lao people. He was dearly called by the Lao troops and people as General Thao Chan.

Helping friends effectively

After the Geneva Accords were signed in 1954, the Lao Ministry of National Defense requested assistance from Vietnam in organizing their armed forces. On July 16, 1954, the General Command of the Vietnam People’s Army decided to establish a delegation of Vietnamese military advisors to assist the Lao Pathet troops, which was named Unit 100.

General Chu Huy Man and Prince Souphanouvong and his wife

General Chu Huy Man, who was the Political Chief of Unit 316 at that time, was assigned as the head and secretary of the Party committee of Unit 100. The unit's task was to assist their Lao friends in building the Pathet Lao liberation troops and gathering forces in Xamneua (Houaphanh) and Phongsaly provinces.

Before the mission, President Ho Chi Minh met with General Chu Huy Man and praised the determination and willingness of the Vietnamese military advisors. He advised the unit to raise members' awareness, prepare adequate plans, respect the national sovereignty of Laos, and assist Lao friends in gradually taking over by themselves. President Ho Chi Minh's teachings became the motto of action and a source of strong encouragement for General Chu Huy Man and his unit to complete the international mission to assist the Lao revolution.

When implementing their mission in Laos, General Chu Huy Man ordered the members of Unit 100 to strictly follow principles while enhancing solidarity, friendship, and mutual respect. On that basis, he often advised his unit members to be calm, tactful, and sincere when working with Lao friends.

General Chu Huy Man and the delegates of Unit 100 spent much time understanding all situations to build an appropriate project for organizing the Lao Pathet troops. The Vietnamese military advisors proposed measures to build the Lao Pathet troops mainly in politics, ideology, and personnel training.

They recommended organizing the Lao Pathet troops into battalion levels with infantry and assistance soldiers and the Lao Defense Ministry into three parts: staff, political, and logistical organs. The Lao Pathet troops were suggested to be organized into three types of troops: main battalions, independent and local companies, and guerrilla teams in communes and villages serving as the core for the militia and self-defense movements in agencies and enterprises.

The project proposed by General Chu Huy Man and the Vietnamese military advisors to build the Pathet Lao armed forces was unanimously approved and implemented by the Lao politico-military conference in early December 1954. By the end of December 1954, the Lao Pathet troops had been arranged and formed into a complete structure of a major military and the local armed forces in Xamneua and Phongsaly provinces.

A noble and pure international spirit

To help the Lao Pathet troops build a comprehensive force, General Chu Huy Man directed his experienced team members to instruct Lao friends to compile documents and materials serving political education and military training while supporting them in launching political education programs for troops to implement missions, raise awareness of the traditions and nature of the Lao revolution and military.

Members of Unit 100 instructed Lao friends to master weapons and shooting skills, understand military rules and tactics, and hold training and live-fire exercises. During the two years of 1955 and 1956, the political education and military training programs were conducted continuously with many positive results, contributing to improving the political quality of the Lao Pathet troops.

General Chu Huy Man also directed Vietnamese military advisors to help Lao friends organize classes to help enhance literacy education for Lao troops. He and his comrades assisted Lao troops develop the force of Lao Party members.

After completing their tasks in early January 1958, General Chu Huy Man and Unit 100 members were ordered to return to the home country. At the solemn ceremony to send the delegation back home, Lao President Kaysone Phomvihane said with emotion, "We are forever grateful to the Party, people and military of Vietnam, grateful to Unit 100 for their wholehearted and great efforts, which have helped the Lao revolution and the Lao Pathet troops grow into what they are today. Years will pass, but the Laos-Vietnam friendship will forever shine brightly in history.”

Nearly 4 years doing international duty in Laos, General Chu Huy Man and Unit 100 left a lot of good impressions on the Lao troops and people, actively contributing to the special relationship between the two countries, marking the beginning of a comprehensive and effective relationship between Vietnamese volunteers and military advisors and the Lao revolution in the following years.

Translated by Trung Thanh