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Three times awarded the tile of hero

Thai Binh has a solder known to the whole world with respect and admiration for setting two records: the first fighter pilot to shoot down the American B-52 and the first Asian to fly into the universe. He was awarded the tille of hero three times - that was Lieutenant General Pham Tuan.


Thai Binh has a solder known to the whole world with respect and admiration for setting two records: the first fighter pilot to shoot down the American B-52 and the first Asian to fly into the universe. He was awarded the tille of hero three times - that was Lieutenant General Pham Tuan.


Pham Tuan and Soviet Hero Viktor Gorbatko on raft "Soyuz-37".

Pham Tuan was born in 1947 in Quoc Tuan commune, Kien Xuong district. In September 1965, he enlisted at the age of 18. At that time, the young Pham Tuan was only 1.65m tall and weighed 52kg. After a short time, due to the lack of fighter pilots, Pham Tuan was recruited to study pilots and graduated from Soviet Air Force School in 1967, returning home to fight in 1968. In mid-1972, he was one of 12 pilots selected to train night fighter, preparing to shoot down the "flying fortress" of the US B-52.

Nearly half a century has passed but Lt. Gen. Pham Tuan's memory of the historic 12-day battle in Hanoi in 1972 was the most majestic. According to his account: Around 7 pm on December 18, 1972, the enemy started a campaign to attack Hanoi. B-52 flied at an altitude of about 10km, speed from 900 - 950km/h. Before taking the B-52 to raid the North, the United States carefully researched our forces and vehicles, knowing very clearly what kind of missiles, artillery, aircraft, and ... they knew all our airports. Therefore, they were very confident to bring B-52 to bombing Hanoi and other provinces. Every time a B-52 was deployed, it was often supported by other aircrafts such as F4, F100, F111 ... On the other hand, the radar jamming system of these aircraft was very good, so it was difficult for us to detect B-52 to deploy attacks. Pham Tuan and his teammates received orders from their superiors by all means to prevent, the air force to take off, the rocket must fight, if we were not able to shoot B-52, we must chase them out of Hanoi, to goal above all is to defencse. He volunteered to fight continuously, sometimes throughout the day and night, always actively asking to take off to fight the B-52 of the enemy. On the night of December 18, 1972, when he was ordered to take off, despite the enemy aircraft raiding the airport, Pham Tuan quickly maneuvered through the bomb pit to where the plane was and immediately took off. The rocket launched when his plane was discovered flying. Calmly avoiding enemy missiles, Pham Tuan arrived in the battle area in time. When ordered to land, the enemy aircraft was still hitting the airport, the communication system, the lights, the airport runway failed, he still landed safely. Then, on the night of December 27, 1972, many American B-52 aircraft from the Northwest flew into Hanoi. Being ordered to take off, Pham Tuan quickly approached the area where the enemy aircraft were, asking for assaults. At this time, the F4 aircraft flew at many altitudes to protect B-52 very closely, he bravely stormed into the top of the B-52, firing 2 missiles, one at a B-52, returning to land safely.

Because of this achievement, the next morning he was sent a commendation by General Vo Nguyen Giap. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Vietnam People's Armed Forces on September 3, 1973, at that time he was a Lieutenant, Platoon leader of 5th Company, 921 Regiment, 371 Air Division, Ministry of Air Defense - Air Force commander. Pham Tuan shared, his feat was "80% lucky", but luck here was the opportunity and one must grasp the opportunity in order to make it happen. According to him, the battle was not really complicated, but the result was because we had shed blood and sweat for the previous battles.

In 1977, Pham Tuan was sent to study at the Gagarin Air Force Academy (Soviet Union), the following year switched to space flight. Pham Tuan was selected to the sixth international fleet in the Soviet program Intercosmos on April 1, 1979. After undergoing training, Pham Tuan and Soviet cosmonaut Viktor Vassilyevich Gorbatko were launched into space from Baikonur space airport on Soyuz 37 on July 23, 1980 and returned to Earth on July 31 July on Soyuz 36. They were on duty on the Salyut 6 space station with two other Soviet astronauts. Luggage carried by the hero is the image of President Ho Chi Minh, General Secretary Le Duan, a handful of Ba Dinh land, the Declaration of Independence, President Ho Chi Minh's Will, the National flag and the Party flag, photo family, wife, children, envelopes ... During the entire orbit, the two pilots worked together, performing experiments in a state of zero gravity; observed the surface of the earth and saw the faults in order to judge the locations of mineral deposits, observed the flow of rivers and seas where fish was concentrated to guide fishermen; observed distant planets ... Pham Tuan also conducted experiments on strawberry hyacinth, photographed Vietnam from Earth's orbit. He was in space for 7 days, 20 hours and 42 minutes; made a total of 142 orbits around the earth. When returning from space, he was awarded the title of Labor Hero and Ho Chi Minh Medal by the Party and State. In the same year (1980), he was honored to become one of the first foreigners to be awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the Lenin Order at the age of 33. As such, he is the only Vietnamese who has set a record three times to be awarded the title of hero.

In 1982, Pham Tuan graduated from Gagarin Air Force Academy (Soviet Union). In 1989, he was Deputy Commander of the Political Forces of the Air Force. Since 1999, he has held the rank of Lieutenant General of the Vietnam Air Force and since 2000 has held the position of Director of the General Department of Defense Industry and Ministry of Defense. In 2002, he was elected Chairman of Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank and held important positions in the Bank's subsidiaries. In 2008 Lieutenant General Pham Tuan retired. He said: "I am very fortunate to have gone to the end of the war and still have a good time to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere." When talking with the younger generation, he is often very proud when talking about the Vietnam Air Force, about the historic 12-day-night battle, about the memorable memories of flying into space, inspiring and aspiring young people. “Today's young generation should never forget history. We have had a heroic past. I want to tell the children to understand how our father lived and fought”, Lt. Gen. Pham Tuan shared in many conversations.

When talking about the special achievement three times awarded the title of hero, Lieutenant General Pham Tuan confided: I am very honored to receive the important tasks assigned by the Party, State and people. Thanks to the people, thanks to comrades, teammates, I have overcome difficulties and completed the task. The title of hero belongs to the people, to comrades, comrades, that I am only the one who performs it.

With Lieutenant General Pham Tuan, Thai Binh's homeland is forever engraved in the heart. It is a countryside with aa lot of difficulties but it is in the difficult time Thai Binh people always have the tradition of patriotism, revolution, solidarity, bundling together to fight natural disasters and fight against foreign invaders, protecting a peaceful life. That tradition has made Thai Binh people brave, courageous and resilient before all difficulties and challenges. That tradition followed the Hero Pham Tuan throughout his life and in the most difficult times he thought of his homeland. The homeland is the great motivation to help him overcome all difficulties, challenges and fulfill the tasks assigned by the Party, State and people.

Pilot Colonel Vu Dinh Rang, former officer of 921th Regiment, 371 Division, Air Defense - Air Force

If my battle with my comrades on the night of November 20, 1971 defeated the US "B-52" flying fortress, confirming the wise leadership of the Politburo, the Central Military Commission and the spirit of fighting of the Vietnam People's Air Force, asserting the bravery and intelligence of Vietnam, making the preemptive strike on US imperialists, by the "Dien Bien Phu in the air" battle 12 days and nights in December 1972, Pham Tuan and Vu Xuan Thieu dealt a decisive blow, shot down at B-52, knocking down the symbol of the US Air Force.

Mr. Tran Duc Dung, Secretary of the Party Committee, Chairman of People's Council of Quoc Tuan Commune, Kien Xuong District

Quoc Tuan's homeland was honored and proud to have given birth to Lieutenant-General, Hero Pham Tuan who was the first Asian to fly into space and also the three-time-honored hero. Both when being a soldier and when being retired, Lt. Gen. Pham Tuan was always a man who loved his homeland. On the renovation process of Quoc Tuan commune today, there is always the support of the local people far from home, including Lieutenant General Pham Tuan. The Party, government and generations of people of Quoc Tuan will continue to unite, maintain and promote the values ​​of culture, patriotism and revolution of the homeland, and build the nation. Quoc Tuan became a newly upgraded rural commune, a new model countryside, worthy its title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces during the resistance war against the French.

Mr. Pham Dinh Niet, younger brother of Lieutenant General, Hero of the People's Armed Forces Pham Tuan

Tuan has been smart from an early age. He often created games for us to play with. My childhood with him roaming around the village on the lower village is unforgettable memories. When he became a pilot and had trophies in his military career, he still kept to himself the simplicity of child from a rice province. We are proud of our family tradition, our eldest brother who died in the resistance war against the French colonialists and Tuan. Traditional family values are the most valuable things to pass on and educate the descendants today and in the future to inherit and promote.

Pham Bao Chau, a student at Vinschool, Hanoi

I often tell my friends about my hometown, which is the home of Hero Pham Tuan; the countryside located along the green Tra Ly River. Not only did I know him from books and newspapers, but every time I came back to my homeland, I was told by the grandfather the stories of the first people in Asia who flew into space, who made their homeland famous. We grow up when the country is peaceful; we should appreciate the merits of the previous generations.  I promise to work hard to follow the example of Pham Tuan Hero to contribute my efforts to build the homeland, the country.



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