|The photo featuring Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Mỹ (first from right) sitting on the tank of the Vietnamese troop and led them the way to the US army in Củ Chi District in the night of April 29, 1975. VNA/VNS Photo|
Nguyễn Văn Việt
BÌNH DƯƠNG — Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Mỹ has never forgotten the moment she volunteered to climb on top of the tank and led Vietnamese soldiers to US troops in Củ Chi District, contributing to the liberation of Sài Gòn on April 30, 1975.
Mỹ, who was in her 20s at the time, showed the Vietnamese troops the way to the enemy battalion, which was reinforced to fight the Vietnamese army in Lái Thiêu District.
The US battalion was surrounded, forcing the enemy in the headquarters to surrender. The Vietnamese troops quickly captured Vĩnh Bình Province (now Trà Vinh Province) and Lái Thiêu iron bridge.
Mỹ was born and raised in Vĩnh Phú Commune in Thủ Dầu Một Province (now Bình Dương Province). She dropped out of school after finishing grade two due to poverty.
Mỹ stayed at home, did chores to help her parents and started delivering messages between undercover revolutionaries in the enemy-occupied zone in Vĩnh Phú Commune.
At the age of 16, Mỹ was assigned to get information from the US troops and the southern puppet government and pass it to revolutionary officials.
She was also tasked with mobilising young people in her village to participate in the revolution.
During the Mậu Thân General Offensive and Uprising in Spring 1968, Mỹ made flags and took food and ammunition into revolutionary bases.
On the first days of the Tết (Lunar New Year) in 1968, Mỹ carried wounded soldiers on oxcarts from the inner city of Sài Gòn to field hospitals in the revolutionary base.
In the next months, enemy troops counterattacked in both the inner city and the Sài Gòn suburbs. Some revolutionary bases in Vĩnh Phú were captured.
Mỹ was assigned to move to Thuận An Hòa war zone (now Thuận Giao Ward in Bình Dương). She joined a four-month nursing class held by Dĩ An Military Army on the banks of the Bé River.
When Mỹ had almost finished the course, the enemy suddenly launched a raid on the base.
She was ordered to move to Tân Thới Commune in Thủ Dầu Một Province (now Thuận An City in Bình Dương) where she was arrested. She was 18 at the time.
After eight days of torture and interrogation, Mỹ was released.
In early 1970, Mỹ was told to return to her family and work as a secretariat of the Youth Union of Vĩnh Phú, but she was soon arrested again.
This time, the enemy used all sorts of torture, including electric batons to try and force her to divulge information on her fellow revolutionaries.
She was imprisoned in a dungeon for two months but Mỹ stayed silent, so the enemy was forced to release her in May 1970.
Once out of prison, Mỹ continued her work building a revolutionary base in the enemy zone in her hometown.
Three years later, she was admitted to the Communist Party of Việt Nam. Mỹ was under tight observation of the US army.
She was forced to leave her family to live in the forest and continued her revolutionary path. In 1974, Mỹ was selected as the secretariat of Lái Thiêu District’s Youth Union. She was in charge of seeking information on the enemy and reporting to Vietnamese soldiers.
On the night of April 29, 1975, the sound of gunfire was severe. Mỹ was riding her bike to the revolutionary base as usual and met commander Nguyễn Huy Hiệu and his Regiment 27.
Although they were informed about the positions of the enemy and supplied with a map, the regiment struggled to manoeuvre on the unfamiliar roads.
Mỹ decided to lead the way for the Vietnamese troops and she climbed onto the leading tank and helped the troops fight the US army in Củ Chi District.
The victory led to the surrender of the enemy in the district and a series of victories in the province.
After the liberation of Sài Gòn, Mỹ worked in several positions in her local authority until she retired in November 2002. VNS