The Russian involvement in the war of Viet Nam is exaggerated. There was only a total of 6 000 Soviet military specialists there. Thirteen died there, out of which 3 or 4 died in combat. At the beginning, soldiers of two antiaircraft missile-launcher battalions departed to train the Vietnamese on how to use the C-75. Our men fought at least at the beginning. The pilots only delivered lessons. As of 1966, the Soviet specialists were only in charge of the material.
We went there because the Vietnamese were building socialism and requested assistance from Moscow to fight against The United States. The Americans had replaced the French defeated in 1954, and knew that there was oil, coal, gas and gold there ...The one that controled Viet Nam would control Southeast Asia. Out of the 2 million American soldiers that were sent to Viet Nam, 57 000 died and the figure of wounded is even higher.
For the «Linebacker 2» operation, the Americans used the new F-111 aircrafts. The strategic aviation performed at least 3 night flights and tactical aviation operated during daytime. They bombed areas of 1 Km long and 150 m wide; after that nothing survived. But the clash was won by the Vietnamese artillerymen, who shot down 81 planes, among them 34 B-52. The antiaircraft missile-launcher battalions were decorated collectively, but in Viet Nam decorations are on individual basis. From our side, those who shot down American planes were decorated first, the rest for training the Vietnamese. Just once was enough to receive a medal. In Russia, several manuals were reviewed after that war; the army learned a great deal from that experience. The pilots, for example, learned a lot of lessons from the damages caused to the American apparatus.

Vremya Novostyey (Russia)

Награждать можно было за одно пребывание во Вьетнаме”, by Anatoly Khiupenen, Vremya Novostyey, April 29, 2005. This text has been adapted from an interview.