|The three corporals Ngô Thị Dung, Triệu Thị Yến and Nguyễn Thị Mơ are talented and courageous soldiers of the National Training Centre for Counter-Terrorism under the Mobile Police Command (MPC). Photos cand.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — In a corner of the Quảng Yên Forest in the northern province of Quảng Ninh where the anti-terrorism forces have set up their boot camp, three female soldiers clad in camouflage outfits were practising shooting.
They moved flexibly through positions, overcame obstacles, aimed and shot quickly and accurately. The three corporals Ngô Thị Dung, Triệu Thị Yến and Nguyễn Thị Mơ are talented and courageous soldiers of the National Training Centre for Counter-Terrorism under the Mobile Police Command (MPC). This is the first unit of the mobile police force tasked with training for counter-terrorism and armed rebellion tasks.
Corporal Dung, 26, from Bắc Giang Province, shared: "During shooting practice, we must always have total focus on each shot. I still remember the first time I held the heavy AK rifle. Now, I'm used to it. The gun feels lighter, ears are accustomed to the gunshot, eyes are accustomed to the target, and I am even accustomed to the thick smell of gunpowder. All three of us are proficient in using various types of guns in the training inventory."
Colonel Triệu Văn Minh, director of the Centre, said that the three female soldiers all enlisted in February 2022, having previously served in special police units. After training at the shooting team, all three soldiers expressed their desire to stay in the unit to continue training in the counter-terrorism team.
Whether on scorching hot summer days or bone-chilling cold winter days, all three must participate in the comprehensive training exercises according to the common plan, with no deviation from the activities their male counterparts do.
Faced with high-intensity, rigorous exercises such as wall climbing and rope swinging, the women had to put in three or four times more effort than their male counterparts, he said.
Triệu Thị Yến, 25, from Bắc Kạn Province, said she usually cried before a new training exercise.
"I cry because I worry about whether I can overcome the challenge and complete the mission or not. The first time I practised rope rappelling from the 27th floor of a building with my teammates, looking at the rope dangling from above, I cried, but I still tried to execute the manoeuvre quickly and safely, and I did it," she said.
"The feeling of seeing male teammates accomplish what I can't is very uncomfortable. Once determined to be part of the counter-terrorism force, there's no room for weakness. We must endure hardship to mature, to meet the mission requirements," she recounted.
Coming from the rural area of Phú Yên Province, Mơ, 23, had to face her first challenge of adapting the cold winter weather when joining the counter-terrorism force.
Mơ shared: "I threw myself into training to get over the cold. We strictly adhere to a nutritious diet, regular and scientific training, so our physical fitness improves day by day. On marching nights, however much weight male teammates have to carry, we carry the same on our backs,” she said.
“Upon joining the centre, in just one afternoon, under the guidance of the training officers, the three of us learned how to drive off-road. Now, we can drive skilfully on rugged trails, up and down in the forest," she said.
More hardships, more determination
Injuries have become commonplace on the training ground. The female soldiers were hit by the AK rifles on their backs, slipped from trees due to the slick oil on fresh leaves, and fell and got tangled in barbed wire. However, these soldiers endured the pain to continue their training, as this was an opportunity to temper their fighting spirit to grow stronger day by day.
The hobbies of the three women after training hours are martial arts, karate, volleyball, and soccer with male teammates. Since joining the army, they hardly care about fashionable clothes, their hair is tied up all day and only let down in the evening.
Asked about their first days in the military, all three said it was destiny. Yến's soldier parents directed their daughter into the military, while for Dung and Mơ, it was secret they kept until the last minute.
|The female soldiers drive skilfully on rugged trails.
The dream of becoming a police officer has long been in Dung and Mơ's hearts, so even though they graduated in medicine and nursing, the two hid their registration for military service from their parents. Just before enlisting, when they received their military uniforms, the two finally confessed their intentions to their parents.
"My parents kept worrying, repeatedly asking if I had thought it through as being a soldier is very tough. I replied I could do it. Knowing they couldn't change my mind, my parents reluctantly agreed," Mơ recalled.
The first time Mơ came home on leave, her mother looked at her and said that before joining the military, her skin was as fair as a pomelo flower, but now she is thin and tanned.
Mơ said: "Female counter-terrorism soldiers have to be sun-tanned, strong and fit. A few bruises and scratches are nothing. Now my parents are reassured and proud that their daughter is trained in a professional environment".
After months of rigorous training, the three female soldiers are not only in strong physical condition, but also have talents in military martial arts, with a record of many outstanding achievements. All three women are recipients of the gold medal in the short-range shooting event at the Military and Martial Arts Competition for Direct Combat Forces in the Ministry of Public Security's Second Stage in 2023. Dung and Yến also won the gold medal for strong police officers. In the 2023 Mobile Police Command's fifth Competitive Cluster Games, Dung won the silver medal in the frog swim event. Yến and Mơ jointly won the gold medal in the women's 3,000m cross-country running event. Mơ also achieved a silver medal in freestyle swimming.
Especially, Dung was selected for the Ministry of Public Security's team to participate in the Outstanding Firefighting and Search and Rescue Soldiers competition in Belarus in 2023.
"In a particularly elite and combat-effective unit, these female soldiers have made significant contributions to the unit's overall achievements, deserving to be called 'steel roses' in the counter-terrorism lineup," Colonel Minh emphasised. — VNS