Commander of legendary Ho Chi Minh trail dies at 96

By Viet Tuan   April 5, 2019 | 01:40 am PT
Commander of legendary Ho Chi Minh trail dies at 96
Lieutenant general Dong Sy Nguyen. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Thuy
Lieutenant general Dong Sy Nguyen, who commandeered the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trail that helped Vietnam defeat the U.S., has died.

Nguyen, former Vice President of the Council of Ministers and a member of the Politburo, the decision-making body of Vietnam Communist Party, died Thursday at the 108 Military Central Hospital in Hanoi after a long period of sickness.

Born in 1923 as Nguyen Huu Vu in the central province of Quang Binh, Nguyen joined the revolution at age 15 and became a member of the party a year later.

He participated in French resistance movements, holding several key positions.

In early 1967, during the Vietnam War, he was appointed commander in chief of Group 559, the transportation and logistical unit of the People's Army of Vietnam.

The group was established in 1959 to move troops, weapons, and material from North Vietnam to paramilitary units in southern Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which ran along the central region across Truong Son, or the Annamite Mountain Range, and through Laos and Cambodia.

During eight years as commander of the trail until the war ended in 1975, he transformed it from an old low-key covert supply line into a modern, strategic, overt battlefield.

Much of his success is owed to the fact that he converted most of his force, which had previously used foot power or bicycles to carry loads, into vehicle transportation units.

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