Firmly fortifying the Green Hill would create favorable conditions for Vietnamese troops to build roads and carry artillery pieces to the front, creating a springboard for the brigade to deploy forces to reinforce battlefields and to launch counter-attacks at the enemy to the east of the group of fortresses in Dien Bien Phu.

Spotting movements on the Green Hill, the enemy mobilized aircraft, ground forces and artillery fire to attack the area  and other nearby hills, including Hill 781 defended by Platoons 10 and 11 of Company 28 of Battalion 439.

Song's canteen is now on display at the Fame Hall of Regiment 98 of Division 316 of Military Region 2. 

One day in late February 1954, the enemy opened up an artillery bombardment at the defensive area of Platoon 11, felling a number of trees and heavily damaging part of a communication trench system of the platoon.

When the enemy’s artillery stopped, Dang Duc Song, the deputy-commander of a squad of Platoon 11, discovered that an enemy platoon was getting close to the foot of Hill 781 while many troops of his squad were killed or injured. With no hesitation, Song fired his light machine gun at the enemy.

Song moved around the communication trench and teamed up with other troops of Platoon 11 trying to throw grenades and open fire at them to check their advance and attack sorties.

When the sun set, the enemy pulled back their troops. At that time, Song was very exhausted, thirsty and hungry. Leaning his back on the combat trench, Song took his canteen and stared at the empty container; it had been hit by enemy bullets.

This canteen, as a war keepsake, is now on display at the Fame Hall of Regiment 98 of Division 316 of Military Region 2.

That battle was recorded in the regiment’s historical book.

Song and other troops of Platoon 11 had courageously defended Hill 781, contributing to the protection of the Green Hill area, laying a good foundation for the Dien Bien Phu Campaign’s Command to make a decision to attack hills in central Muong Thanh.

In recognition of his outstanding feats of arms in the defensive combat in the Green Hill area, the State of Vietnam conferred the titled “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” on Song on May 7, 1956.

Translated by Mai Huong