Meeting Colonel Tan

(click on picture for larger image)

I know some of my vet friends will think I'm crazy, but we had the opportunity to spend more than two hours at the house of Col. Duong Ngoc Tan. He doesn't speak English, but we heard an incredible story from him through our interpreter.

Col. Tan is a gracious, 80-year-old Viet Minh veteran who started fighting the Japanese when he was just 16 years old. He was part of COSVN, which was the North Vietnamese military command for the fighting in South Vietnam. Here we're sitting at his dinner table hearing about his background. He worked regularly with Gen. Giap, and knew him well.

Although his eyesight is fading somewhat, he is still sharp as a tack. He told us about hiding in the caves on Nui Ba Den, and how difficult it was to move up and down. He said they moved up on four points (hands and feet) and down on five (butt added). He has a sly sense of humor.

He wouldn't let us leave until he dressed up in his uniform for photos with us. On the left is Thanh, who organized the Vietnam portion of our trip, then Larry, Col Tan, me, Thi, and Thane.