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Vietnamese soldiers celebrate Tet on submarine hunters

Vietnamese soldiers celebrate Tet on submarine hunters

Wednesday, February 07, 2024, 16:27 GMT+7
Vietnamese soldiers celebrate Tet on submarine hunters
Soldiers serving Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, make 'banh chung' (square sticky rice cakes) for the 2024 Lunar New Year. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

While the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday is a time for homecomings and family reunions, for the soldiers safeguarding Vietnam’s sea and sky, their Tet celebrations take place away from home on submarine hunters.

This Tet, soldiers of Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, continue their duty away from home, a familiar experience for them. 

Brigade 171, a combat ship unit with a 57-year history, is entrusted with safeguarding Vietnam’s southern islands and continental shelf.

During the Tet period, each officer and soldier aboard Brigade 171’s submarine hunters faces heightened responsibilities.

Despite the festive atmosphere, they remain diligent, practicing day and night to avoid being caught off guard. 

Their ships remain prepared for patrols at sea. 

Representatives from Brigade 171 present gifts to a child sponsored by the unit ahead of the 2024 Lunar New Year. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

Representatives from Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, present gifts to a child sponsored by the unit ahead of the 2024 Lunar New Year. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

Adhering to the training motto ‘basic, practical, solid,’ they enhance their equipment knowledge through study and teamwork, particularly drawing insights from seniors.

Colonel Pham Ngoc Quy, political commissar of Brigade 171, emphasizes that while their Tet festivities are rooted in tradition, they also possess distinct characteristics.

As the unit’s officers and soldiers uphold traditional customs like setting up fruit offerings and preparing banh chung -- a Tet staple in northern Vietnam made of glutinous rice, mung beans, and fatty pork -- they also host competitions and games to promote camaraderie, particularly among those serving on combat ships.

Soldiers serving Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, inspect technical equipment before carrying out missions. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

Soldiers serving Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, inspect technical equipment before carrying out missions. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

Notably, soldiers gather to hear from veterans and historical witnesses, reflecting on the brigade’s past victories and heroic battles. 

These activities aim to instill a deeper understanding of the brigade’s heritage and sacrifices among the younger generation. 

On Lunar New Year’s Eve, ship commanders signal the transition of the old lunar year to the new with long whistles from the ships’ bridges.

After over three decades of service in the brigade, experiencing many Tet celebrations away from home, Lieutenant Colonel Bui Van Hanh, a battery commander of Ship 13, affirms that safeguarding the country's seas and islands is a sacred duty for him. 

During Tet, he stays in regular contact with his wife and children to offer support and deepen their understanding of his work.

Soldiers serving Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, are on duty. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

Soldiers serving Brigade 171, under Naval Region 2, are on duty. Photo: Anh Tho / Tuoi Tre

For Hanh, the ship is akin to a second home, and the onboard weapons are like extensions of his own body. 

Hanh has been honored with multiple recognition, certificates of merit, and prestigious titles.

Meanwhile, this year marks the first Tet celebration away from home for Sergeant Nguyen Hoang Khang, serving Ship 15.

In the days preceding Tet, Khang has enthusiastically engaged in traditional preparations to usher in the new lunar year. 

He has received support and encouragement from unit leaders and comrades, helping to alleviate the young soldier’s homesickness during this significant time of the year.

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Bao Anh - Anh Tho - Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre News

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