Dai was really shocked when he heard the bad news and dumbfounded with the thought that he would never meet the respectable leader, brother, and comrade again, and his head was full of memories of the former senior officer.

Comrade Le Kha Phieu in 1971 (A file photo: bacgiangtv)

The war veteran recalled that in spite of being later promoted to Chief of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army and different senior leadership positions of the Party, former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu was always simple, friendly and open-hearted and treated his comrades with respect. His characteristics left good impressions on a large number of his comrades.

Senior Colonel Cao Xuan Dai remembered the time when Comrade Le Kha Phieu, who was then Head of the Organization  Office of Tri - Thien Military Region, met with troops of Company 2 under Battalion 4 and Commando Company of Regiment 812 under Division 324 on May 17, 1970. The two units’ troops were tasked to attack Height 440 in Quang Tri province’s Hai Lang district to annihilate the 2nd Battalion of the 54th Regiment of the Saigon puppet military. While encouraging troops to try their best to fulfill their task to expand liberated zones, Comrade Phieu stopped and asked an officer, “What day is the day after tomorrow?” The troop replied, “The day after tomorrow is May 19, the 80th birthday of our beloved Uncle Ho.”

The Head of the Organization Office of Tri - Thien Military Region went on, “Victory will be a significant and practical birthday gift to the great President. So are you determined and ready for the combat?” All the troops replied in unison, “Ready!” In just one night, all troops of the puppet battalion on Height 440 were annihilated.

Talking more about his superior, Senior Colonel, war veteran Cao Xuan Nguyen said that Comrade Le Kha Phieu was both a scholar and a warrior. In early 1975, as the Political Chief of Army Corps 2, Comrade Le Kha Phieu visited each squad of Divisions 324 and 325 to embrace the ideological situation and determination of their troops who were tasked to attack and occupy enemy’s bases in Thua Thien - Hue province. Having inspected the divisions, the Political Chief of Army Corps 2 requested the units to reinforce their strength. He also emphasized the importance of harmonious coordination between infantry and artillery forces in attacking targets in Bong and Nghe Mountains in Phu Loc district. It was praiseworthy that Comrade Le Kha Phieu was always present at the fiercest battles to direct and encourage participating troops. Thanks to timely direction and encouragement of Comrade Phieu, on March 25, 1975, the Vietnamese troops captured 16,600 enemy’s troops in Thuan An Port and seized dozens of tons of weapons and documents. This greatly contributed to the liberation of Hue city.

In peacetime, former Party General Secretary always attended war veterans’ meetings and shared heartfelt sentiments with his comrades without minding hierarchy. 

In late December 2017, Senior Colonel, war veteran Cao Xuan Dai and his comrades had a chance to visit and congratulate former General Secretary on his birthday. During the visit, Comrade Le Kha Phieu kept complimenting the former soldiers on their efforts in searching and collecting sets of remains of fallen soldiers. He applauded Dai’s great contributions to helping units and families search and collect thousands of sets of remains of martyrs. The former General Secretary urged younger generations to not forget the past as generations of his comrades had shed their blood for national independence and freedom.

Translated by Tran Hoai