Receiving the reporters from the People’s Army Newspaper in his residence, General Hoi uttered, “So another talented general-rank officer has passed away. I regret not being able to go to Hanoi to pay my last respects to my beloved senior, because of my sickness.”

He recalled, “When General Le Kha Phieu was posted to Military Region 9 as the Deputy Commissar, I was still a young officer. General Phieu often visited and talked with young officers and soldiers. Although he was a senior leader, he behaved equally and nicely toward his juniors so we all respected and loved him.”

General Phieu was a talented leader and many learnt a lot from General Phieu when they worked under his leadership.

According to General Hoi, General Le Kha Phieu was appointed the Deputy Commissar of Military Region 9 in 1978 when the Southwestern Border War broke out. As soon as General Phieu settled down his life and work, he made several decisions on personnel, showing his excellence in personnel management and posting.

Major General Le Xa Hoi looking at the photo taken with former General Secretary Le Kha Phieu

“As General Phieu often met and talked with his juniors, he learnt about their thoughts as well as their strong points and weaknesses. Based on his deep knowledge of his juniors, he planned to help them overcome their difficulties and weaknesses while bringing into full play their strengths. After some time, General Phieu crafted a general plan on personnel posting, especially a plan to appoint officers to commanding positions and a plan to select units to engage in combat along the Southwestern border.”  

At that time, General Le Kha Phieu listed a number of criteria for assessing personnel, of which loyalty to the Party, State and people, and bravery in fighting topped the list.

“General Phieu also hated corruption, so he would impose severe penalties on any corrupt cadres. He often said that corruption would break internal unity, lead to conflicts among cadres, reduce the war-fighting ability of the unit and undermine the people’s trust in the military. Thus, General Phieu attached much importance to educating revolutionary standards of morality for troops while resolutely struggling against egoism, opportunism and social evils,” Hoi said. 

At the same time, General Phieu paid special attention to selecting cadres for short- and long-term training courses at both military and civilian education and training institutions. According General Phieu, military officers should regularly be trained in leadership and military skills, updated on political knowledge and modern warfare as well as equipped with social, cultural knowledge and science and technology.

Thanks to General Phieu’s long-term vision, many officers from units of Military Region 9 were qualified and later appointed to high positions at the Military Region 9 Command and Defense Ministry’s agencies, General Hoi said.

“During more than a decade of working at the Military Region 9 Command, General Phieu made breakthroughs in personnel work and Party and political work, contributing importantly to the development of the military region.

Particularly, the strategy to foster cadres and the method of assessing cadres initiated by General Phieu years ago still remain good references for the current leadership of Military Region 9,” General Hoi affirmed

When General Phieu led Military Region 9 to do international service in Cambodia, he made a large contribution to promoting the relationship between the Vietnamese and Cambodians, according to General Hoi. General Phieu often told his subordinates to learn the Khmer language and follow local people’s customs and practices. General Phieu said, “Vietnamese volunteer soldiers came to Cambodia to help the nation oust the genocidal regime of Pol Pot and rebuild a new life. We should speak their language and follow their ways of life so as to understand their needs and make them comprehend our goodwill. Along with safeguarding Cambodians from Pol Pot’s forces, Vietnamese troops should wholeheartedly support them in raising crops, building infrastructure and improving their living conditions. We should try to help the Cambodians build their defense capabilities and develop their economy before we leave Cambodia, completing our just international service in the country.”

For his contributions to the recovery and development of Cambodia, Cambodian leaders expressed deep condolences over the decease of former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu.

Written by Thuy An

Translated by Thu Nguyen