Gac Ma ‘Inmortal circle’ lives on

VietNamNet Bridge – Former soldiers of the Navy Engineering Regiment No 83 who fought to protect the Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef, part of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, from Chinese invaders in 1988 hosted a memorial service for 64 of their comrades on Thursday.

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Families of martyrs join a memorial service in Da Nang. Sixty four naval engineers were killed by Chinese armed men in protection of Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef of Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago on March 14, 1988. Chinese then illegally occupied the reef by using armed force (six frigate missile). – VNS Photos Cong Thanh


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Canoes with garlands are released to the sea in a memorial ceremony for naval martyrs.


Veterans who were stationed on the Truong Sa Archipelago and the families of those who lost their lives released wreaths to pay homage to the fallen soldiers.

A group of Vietnamese engineers were sent to build concrete structures on Gac Ma, Co Lin and Len Dao (Landsdowne) Reefs on March 14, 1988, but were attacked by six Chinese frigates.

Sixtey four engineers were killed, 11 wounded and nine kept in prison by the Chinese navy. Two unarmed cargo ships were sunk in the incident.

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Ex-naval soldiers of the Navy Engineering Regiment No 83, who fought to protect Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef.


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Families of martyrs carry paper-made steles printed with names of the martyrs who were killed by Chinese armed men on March 14, 1988.


“Our soldiers bravely defended the country’s sovereignty until they died. Their hands created a Gac Ma ‘immortal circle’ on the sea. They sacrificed their lives for their country,” Colonel Nguyen Duy Lap, former commander of Regiment No 83, said at the ceremony.

The successful defence of Gac Ma Reef helped Vietnamese forces protect Co Lin and Len Dao from attacks by the Chinese. 

Source: VNS

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