Colonel Tran Trong Trung

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Colonel Tran Trong Trung was born to a poor peasant family in North Vietnam during the 1920s. After attending some classes and working to support his family, he went to work as an interpreter for the French in a mine in the mountainous region northwest of Hanoi. There he established contact with the Viet Minh resistance and worked to proselytize his fellow workers. He joined the Viet Minh armed forces when the Japanese overthrew the French colonial government in early 1945. Because he spoke French and some English, he was sent to Tan Trao to serve as a Viet Minh liaison officer with the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) team that was sent into North Vietnam to assist and train the Viet Minh in July 1945. Following the Viet Minh takeover of the government of Indochina, Trung went to work as a secretary in the General Headquarters of the Viet Minh Armed Forces, working under the Viet Minh Chief of Staff, General Hoang Van Thai. He served on the General Staff for some years before transferring to the enemy proselytizing department, which conducted propaganda and proselytizing activities against French troops. He conducted enemy proselytizing activities during the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Trung served as an artillery officer during the late 1950s-early 1960s. He returned to work in the North Vietnamese General Staff Headquarters for several years in the mid-1960s. In early 1968, Trung was sent to fight in South Vietnam and Laos, where he spent the last years of the war until he was wounded in 1974 and sent to China for medical treatment. Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, he worked in the Army’s History Branch researching and writing histories of the war. Trung is the author of several books, including a book titled “Supreme Commander Vo Nguyen Giap” (Tong Tu Lenh Vo Nguyen Giap), which covers General Giap’s activities during the war against the French. The bulk of this interview is devoted to high-level strategy discussions and Colonel Trung’s analysis of General Vo Nguyen Giap’s role in the conduct of the wars against the French and the Americans.

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