October 23, 2021 marks the 60 years of the launch of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea (October 23, 1961-2021). This was one of the three special routes (together with the Truong Son (Annamite) Road and the petroleum pipeline from the North to the South) with strategic significance, which were formed under the direction of the Politburo and the Central Military Commission - the High Command in order to transport personnel, weapons and other supplies to the Southern theater to liberate the South and reunify the nation. The bold decision to open the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea manifested the will and aspiration for independence, reunification and territorial integrity of our nation. The spirit of bravery, ingenuity, and creativity to overcome all sacrifices and hardships of troops of the No-number ships to transport necessary forces, weapons and supplies to the Southern theater created a legendary route at sea.

K15 relic site (in Do Son, Hai Phong) was the start of no-number ships' shipments of military supplies to the South. (A file photo)

It was proved that the decision on establishing Maritime Transport Unit 759 (the predecessor of Naval Unit 125) and the birth of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea opened up a strategic maritime route that not only served the urgent need of the resistance war against the U.S. invaders for national salvation in a timely manner, but also paved the way for the development of the maritime transport force of the Vietnamese military and country.

It was also proved that it was the ingenuity, creativity, especially the resilience, bravery and readiness to sacrifice of the No-number ships’ troops that were decisive factors for the success of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea.  With small, rudimentary ships, operating in the conditions of high seas, high waves, storms, especially U.S. and puppet troops’ “seek and destroy” strategy using modern equipment, no-number ships’ troops always held “strong will and heart” to transport personnel and supplies by all means to reinforce the South. That courage and stratagem was a vivid symbol of the revolutionary heroism.

The strategic vision, wise and bold guideline of the Politburo, the Central Military Commission - High Command were realized by troops of the No-number ships with the wholehearted support of troops and people in the coastal areas and estuaries. Thanks to that, the exploit of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea was made, importantly contributing to the liberation of the South and national reunification.

Proudly recalling the history, tradition and clearly acknowledging the special value of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea as well as admiring troops of the No-number ships, we find it even more necessary to bring into play the value of the exploit of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea in the current period.

Arousing national pride, making efforts to innovate to realize the aspiration to develop a prosperous and happy country, to firmly build and safeguard the Fatherland are the common spirit emphasized at the 13th National Party Congress. To create fast and sustainable development, our Party encourages cadres to dare to think, dare to do, dare to take responsibility, dare to innovate, dare to face difficulties, challenges and act decisively for the common interest. Moreover, the Party also encourages every cadre, Party member and the Vietnamese people today to apply the valuable lessons learnt from the exploit of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea.

Vietnam's marine strategy by 2030, with a vision to 2045, defines that our country must become a strong and rich country based on the sea, develop its marine economy sustainably, prosperously in a safe and secure manner in association with ensuring national defense and security. To effectively realize that strategy, it needs to apply and bring into play the lessons learnt from and the tradition of the launch of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea, especially, the will, determination, boldness and creative and flexible solutions to create a breakthrough in development, first of all in maritime transport and seaport services, maintaining maritime sovereignty.

For military troops, the most valuable lesson and value - the decisive factors in making the exploit of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea are the incomparable bravery, courage, and readiness to sacrifice for the Fatherland of troops of the no-number ships. When a person is highly determined, no matter what difficulties he faces, he will find a way to overcome and win. Therefore, chains-of-command of agencies and units in the whole military must really set an example of the spirit of dedication and sacrifice, and at the same time educate, foster, train troops and arouse revolutionary heroism to help troops have firm stance, spirit and attitude to complete all assignments in any circumstances and situations. 

Success comes from the right guideline, with high resolve, efforts, creativity, breakthroughs. Tradition and lessons from the exploit of the Ho Chi Minh Trail at Sea remain valuable to on-duty troops at sea today and in the future!

Translated by Mai Huong