A Vietnamese naval officer has successfully captained one of the country’s most advanced warships since he was in his early 30s.
Lieutenant Pham Van Son was only 31 when he was entrusted with captaining warship HQ375 in 2013.
The vessel is one of the navy’s Molniya-class fast-attack missile warships.
Son, now 33, was also selected as one of the navy’s most outstanding young officers and warship captains in 2013 and 2014.
The young captain considered his service onboard the warship HQ375 a momentous twist of fate.
In 2010, the lieutenant served as the vessel’s deputy captain and surmounted tremendous hurdles to gain mastery of the state-of-the-art ship.
Three years later, Son was named its captain.
The young captain soon found himself under mounting pressure and shed a few kilograms during that time.
“It’s a sheer honor to be in command of such an imposing, cutting-edge ship, and I was understandably nervy during the beginning of my captaincy,” Son said.
“The greatest challenge I’m faced with is whether I can fully harness the vessel to make the most out of its designed capacity. I’ve never allowed myself to be complacent and cease teaching myself so that I can give sound, convincing commands,” he stressed.
Son’s ship has repeatedly been named an outstanding unit and received certificates of merit from the Ministry of Defense and the Prime Minister.
The vessel’s accomplishments were honored with a third-grade Motherland Defending Medal last year.
Son was also among those who inspected the quality of the navy’s new warships before taking them over from the shipbuilders.
The young captain was also among the batch of officers who received intensive training one year prior to the handover of the warship HQ375.
“I’m not excelling; I just had the opportunity to approach Molniya-class vessels before many others did,” he said modestly.
Son also expressed his great pride in his crew’s professional competency and team spirit.
A number of officers have trained in other countries, and many of the crew members are around 30 years old.
“They are always keen to improve their professional skills and command of foreign languages so as to enhance their control of the vessel’s hi-end technologies and weaponry,” the captain remarked.
The crew put in tremendous effort to get used to and gain gradual control of the ship during the first several months, Son added.
All the crew members also make it a point that the vessel and all of her equipment and weaponry are treasured and well tended to.
“The vessel is one of our people’s great assets, so our mission is to ensure her utmost safety,” he affirmed.
Speaking on behalf of the navy’s young generation at a ceremony to celebrate its founding anniversary on Saturday, Lieutenant Son reiterated their absolute resolve to brave overwhelming hurdles and threats to safeguard the country’s sovereignty over its seas and islands.
The ceremony took place at the Cam Ranh military port in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa to mark the 60th birthday of the Vietnam People's Navy.
The country’s first two locally-built Molniya-class warships were produced at the Ba Son shipyard under the General Department of Military Industry and handed over to the Vietnam People’s Navy in July last year, according to the government website chinhphu.vn.
The Vietnam People’s Navy will add two such warships to its fleet in the second quarter, chinhphu.vn added.
This is the second batch of a series of six such missile warships designed on the basis of a Russian version in accordance with an agreement on technology transfer signed by Vietnam and Russia in 2009.
They can operate at sea for 10 straight days in winds as strong as 74kph and are able to attack targets both in the air and on the sea, chinhphu.vn said.
The ships are designed to destroy teams or groups of warships, amphibious ships, corvettes, and other enemy fleets independently.
They can also help protect submarines and amphibious ships, and perform reconnaissance missions at sea.
The last two warships will be given to the navy in the second quarter of 2016.
The flag raising ceremony for two fast-attack missile warships, HQ377 and HQ378, held in July 2014. Photo: Tuoi Tre