Bravery in Defeat: A Sailor's Journey
by Ho Van Ky Thoai, Former Rear Admiral, Republic of Viet Nam Navy
In war, it is convenient to separate factions, armies, countries into
different sides. But in reality, the lines of the battlefield are as
complex as the lives that fight within that tenuous and sometimes
arbitrary separation. Through different goals, different dreams, these
soldiers — though diverse — were united in their sense of duty. Such
self-sacrifice should not be diminished by the notion of ‘sides,’ but
remembered by future generations, in victory or defeat.
Two hundred years from now, our grandchildren, when learning history,
will neither commend the winning side nor disparage the losing side, but
instead will recognize acts of bravery and cowardice on both sides. They
will not forget the bravery of Lieutenant Commander Le Anh Tuan on the
river of South Viet Nam, nor the courage of Sea Commando Pham Viet on the
sea of North Viet Nam.
In this autobiography, we see the Viet Nam War through the eyes of one
of its most decorated soldiers. Both as a sailor and a witness who spent
almost half his career on the frontlines of an unforgiving war, former
South Vietnamese Navy Admiral Ho Van Ky-Thoai gives us keen perspective
and an unparalleled viewpoint into some of the most important and often
pivotal moments of the war.