Pa Co, The Story of a Vietnamese War Hero

Vietnam War Hero Pac O

Tell me some of the details in the Viet­nam-Amer­i­ca war that you can­not forget? They had dif­fer­ent types of planes. One of them was the Dako­ta which was used for spray­ing the tox­ic sub­stance (Agent Orange). All the trees died! They sprayed it all over the val­ley of A Luoi. It cov­ered every­thing and was as white as salt. There were 3 types of fla­vor: spicy, salty, and bit­ter. The sub­stance was falling down like rain (she was in the jun­gle when they sprayed and got com­plete­ly soaked by Agent Orange). You know… The cas­sa­va was this small (reg­u­lar size), but when it absorbed the tox­ic sub­stance (Agent Orange) and it man­aged to sur­vive, it was this big (much larg­er than usu­al). That cas­sa­va tast­ed sweet and was full of yel­low liq­uid. I did­n’t know that at first and I ate it raw. I was so hun­gry dur­ing that time. Dur­ing the war, every­thing was so dif­fi­cult, but we (she and her team­mates) always encour­aged each oth­er. I was the leader, so it was impor­tant to take care of all of them. We shared food and every­thing. We worked hard to get back the free­dom for our coun­try and people.

You ate the tox­ic sub­stance (Agent Orange)!!! Do your descen­dants have any effect from it? (Yes) But it was too late and I couldn’t do any­thing. My grand­child, who passed away at 8, could just lay there (she was com­plete­ly dis­abled). My 2 kids are affect­ed by the tox­ic sub­stance. One has a tumor on the shoul­der and my oth­er kid has no bone in his one arm. I know the Amer­i­can sol­diers were forced to fight. I cap­tured one para­troop­er, an Amer­i­can sol­dier. I asked, “Why do you come here?” He replied: “We can­not go back. If we go back we will be arrest­ed too, we are just hired soldiers”.

What is your advice for the young gen­er­a­tion of Viet­nam? The young gen­er­a­tions now and in the future have more oppor­tu­ni­ties to study and more pros­per­i­ty than we did. In the past, we ate wild roots and had sim­ple weapons but suc­cess­ful­ly pro­tect­ed our coun­try. Now my gen­er­a­tion is get­ting old­er. We pro­tect­ed our land and now you have peace. Please pre­serve our beau­ti­ful tra­di­tion and land. Stay united!

A Viet­namese War Hero who despite the atroc­i­ties she wit­nessed, includ­ing the bat­tle for Ham­burg­er Hill and get­ting sprayed by Agent Orange, is for­giv­ing and has a promis­ing mes­sage for the future gen­er­a­tions of Vietnamese.

I fought con­stant­ly dur­ing the (Viet­nam-Amer­i­can) war. I joined the army when I was young, in 1959.”

How many bat­tles did you fight in? I can­not count. I began to fight in 1962. In 1968, the ene­my invad­ed the whole val­ley. They sprayed the poi­son sub­stance every­where (Agent Orange). All trees, all plants died! I also fought in the Ham­burg­er Hill Battle.

Tell me what the Ham­burg­er Hill Bat­tle was like? I was in the main army force. The bat­tle was chaot­ic and ter­ri­ble. Both sides fought against each oth­er. The US army had all the mod­ern equip­ment and good food. On our side, the food was pri­mar­i­ly roots in the for­est and just a lit­tle bit of rice.

Were you afraid while fight­ing in the war? I was not scared at all, I fought for my coun­try and peo­ple. Of course, every­one is afraid of death. How­ev­er, they tried to invade our land, we had to stand up for ourselves!

Now, are you mad at the Amer­i­cans? No. Not at all. They came to attack us, so we were in the posi­tion that we had to fight back. How­ev­er, now Viet­nam and the US are friends and broth­ers. We sup­port and coop­er­ate with each oth­er, share the same ideas.


Pa Co Vietnamese War Hero

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