Posts Tagged ‘Hanoi’

Colonel Luu Dinh Mien

Colonel Luu Dinh Mien was born in Haiphong during the mid-1930s. His family fled to the Thanh Hoa Viet Minh “free zone” following the French re-occupation of Haiphong. Mien attended school in Thanh Hoa throughout the war against the French. After the signing of the Geneva Peace Agreement and the communist occupation of Hanoi in 1954, Mien moved to Hanoi to complete his high school education. He then joined the North Vietnamese Army. After basic training, because of his educational background he was assigned to work as a teacher in an Army “Cultural School” in Haiphong (“Cultural Schools” provided supplemental education to poorly educated North Vietnamese soldiers, primarily officers). In the late 1950s, Mien was sent to attend Hanoi University and graduated with a degree in “Pedagogical Studies” (teaching). He served as an instructor at the Army’s “Mid and High-Level School” (the equivalent of the U.S. Army Command and Staff College) during the early-mid 1960s. In late 1965 Mien was sent to attend a special one-year English-language training course in Hanoi. After graduating from English language training, he was assigned to the General Political Department’s Enemy Proselytizing Branch [Cuc Dich Van]. He described his duties there as analyzing news reports and other information to develop enemy proselytizing themes to be used against U.S. and South Vietnamese troops. He also said that one of his duties was to meet with and debrief captured American pilots (during the interview Colonel Mien was reluctant to discuss this aspect of his duties and would not provide the names of the pilots he interviewed). Mien also made a number of relatively short (several months each) trips into battle areas in the northern part of South Vietnam during the war to support enemy proselytizing operations. During the final offensive against South Vietnam in 1975 Mien was sent south to conduct enemy proselytizing activities, but returned to Hanoi shortly before Saigon fell to North Vietnamese forces on 30 April 1975. After the war Mien worked in enemy proselytizing assignments, (including work against the Khmer Rouge forces in Cambodia and assisting with the “reeducation” of captured South Vietnamese officers) until he retired. [Note: According to a 5 October 2008 story in the Washington Post, Luu Dinh Minh was one of the North Vietnamese interrogators who questioned Senator John McCain after McCain was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese in Hanoi in 1967. Mien is described in the story as a former military interrogator who participated in the initial questioning of McCain. Mien is quoted in this story as saying, “I was what the Americans called a brainwasher. … We explained to the Americans why we had fought the French, why we were fighting them, and why it was wrong for them to bomb us.” The article says that Mien remembered McCain “as a prisoner who ‘liked to talk’ and who frequently boasted about his family’s naval traditions.]

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