Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea

Promoting the glorious tradition and achievements of the Vietnam People's Army and the Heroic Naval soldiers, soldiers in Brigade No.167 of Naval Region 2 undergo hard on-land physical training to better adapt to harsh working conditions at sea.
January 13, 2021 | 06:38
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Young soldiers undergo hard on-land physical training to be stronger and adaptable

According to Vietnamnet, artillery-Missile Ship Brigade 167 under the Vietnam People’s Navy was established on July 12, 2013. The brigade, outfitted with many modern weapon systems, is a strategic unit that can operate independently or in coordination with other units in naval campaigns to protect the country's sea and island sovereignty, covering the waters from the south of Binh Thuan Province to Bac Lieu Province along with Vietnam's southern continental shelf.

Visiting the brigade’s training area, Vietnam News Agency reporters had a chance to see naval soldiers do on-land physical exercises.

Their exercise ground is very wide, square and flat with a full range of exercise fitness equipment for obstacle crossing, wall climbing, horizontal rope swing, single-beams, double-beams, three-step jump, running, long jump, weightlifting, bodybuilding, football, volleyball, and badminton.

Among various equipment is strange wing-shaped equipment that soldiers have to stand and move on it instead of sitting. “It’s like crossing a bridge amid waves,” Major Nguyen Tuan Thanh, captain of the Ship 380 said, adding that the game was one of biggest challenges for many soldiers.

“The swing keeps moving horizontally and vertically and soldiers are not allowed to hold anything. We must completely rely on our balance ability,” said Thanh.

Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
An on-land physical training course of soldiers in the Brigade No.167 of Naval Region 2. Photo: Vietnamnet

The 'wave bridge' course aims to train the navy soldiers to withstand waves and winds at sea. The 'wave bridge' required innate ingenuity plus elaborate practice, Thanh said, adding that the game was not simple as it looks.

In order not to fall off, the swinging person must co-ordinate the movements of their arms, legs and body to keep balanced. The height of the 'bridge' is adjustable depending on the requirements of the training session. At its highest, the 'wave bridge' is 1 metre from the ground and this is a great challenge even for anyone.

Thanh said the 'wave bridge' simulated a ship at sea, being swayed almost all the time and the training helped sailors get used to life at sea. Lieutenant Nguyen Canh Ngoc from central Nghe An Province, who is head of Radar Information Branch on ship 380, is well known in the brigade for his hard work.

Besides official training time, Ngoc spends his free time training to sharpen his skills.

“We stay and work on sea almost all of our time in any kind of weather and sea conditions. The skills must be sharpened regularly,” Ngoc said.

“To gain a high score in the 'wave bridge', I must expend a lot of time, effort and sweat,” he said.

Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
ieutenant Nguyen Canh Ngoc keeps balance on the wave bridge - a big challenge to many naval during their on-land physical training. Photo: Vietnamnet
Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
The iron circle keeps moving clockwise and back. — VNA/VNS Photos Minh Duc

Another big challenge for many soldiers is the equipment featuring an iron circle with a diameter of nearly 2 metres that can rotate clockwise or forward.

“The game helps us to be more adaptive to the conditions when we work in a narrow cabin of the ship and strong winds plus big waves are screaming outside. We just feel everything thanks to the ship’s shake,” Lieutenant Colonel Dang Xuan Phuong, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Brigade 167 said.

“Practice makes perfect. Everyone can complete the game, some are quick, others slower and must work harder,” he said, adding that when soldiers master the skill, they could move faster.

Lieutenant Nguyen Van Thang said when he started practising the circle, he could do about 15-20 rounds and then he felt sick.

“I used to be so dizzy that I could not stand on my feet and did not want to eat,” he said.

Day by day, he increased the number of rounds, Thang said, adding that, now, he could do about 200 rounds.

“The skill helps me stay more conscious and keep my balance better when working at sea,” he said.

“We – young soldiers – keep in our mind that hardship with sweating on the exercising ground will help reduce bloodshed on the battlefield,” he said, adding that learnt lessons from generations before were still correct.

Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
Frigates coded HQ-011 Dinh Tien Hoang and HQ-012 Ly Thai To (two of four Gepard-class surface combatants of Vietnam People’s Navy) and Tarantul-class corvette coded HQ-376 are to enhance Vietnam’s defense capacity over its sea and islands (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam's People's Navy - the core service in protecting maritime sovereignty.

According to, the Vietnam People’s Navy is the core service in protecting Vietnam’s maritime sovereignty. The Navy’s responsibility is to strictly manage and control the waters and islands in the East Sea under Vietnam’s sovereignty, to maintain security, to counter any acts of violating sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and national interests of Vietnam at sea, to secure normal activities of Vietnam in its waters and islands in conformity with Vietnamese and international laws, to ensure maritime safety and participate in search-and-rescue operations in accordance with Vietnam’s laws and the international conventions adopted by Vietnam, to be ready for joint and combined operations to defeat any aggression from and at sea.

The Navy Headquarters takes command of the entire Navy. The Headquarters has the Commander and Vice Commanders, the Commissar and the Deputy Commissar. It also consists of agencies responsible for military affairs, Party and political work, technical and logistic issues. The Navy is organized into five Naval Regions (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) and affiliated units.

The main forces of the Navy are the units of surface ships, coastal artillery and land-to-sea missiles, marine, naval commando and island defence forces. The Navy has been reinforced with personnel and equipment to effectively conduct search-and-rescue operations. In the future, the Navy will be further equipped with modern weapons and enhanced combat power to be sufficiently capable of successfully accomplishing the task of protecting Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and national interests at sea.

Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
Soldiers of Gunboat coded HQ-53 under management of Brigade 170 in a drill on air-to-air combat (Photo: VNA)

The Navy enjoys a very glorious tradition, having achieved great feats of arms in fighting against the sabotage war launched by the U.S. Air Force and Navy in the North of Vietnam, particularly in breaking through the U.S. sea lane blockade, and in accomplishing its assigned tasks in the historic Ho Chi Minh Campaign. The Service has been awarded the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces.

Vietnam People's Navy grows strong to face up with complex security challenges

Even though Vietnam's military expenditure in terms of percentage to GDP has stayed around 2.2%, the nominal value has been steadily increasing. The main reason is that Vietnam is one of the world's fastest growing economies. In 2015, Vietnam’s military spending was US$4.5bn and in 2018 it reached US$5.5bn, falling only behind Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore in ASEAN - all more advanced economies. In the naval realm, 6 Submarines, 4 Frigates, 8 Corvettes and a number of Coast Guard vessels have been acquired in the last 15 years - a build up that has been extensively noted, Maritime Issues reported.

Facing the strong impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the fields of military and defense, the Navy has promoted research and mastering of science and modern technology, especially preservation and maintenance technology, improving and upgrading old weapons and equipment, and mastering modern ones, National Defense Journal reported.

Vietnamese naval troops trained hard on land to cope with dangers at sea
Naval soldiers from Naval Infantry Brigade 147 are on practice (Photo: VNA)

At the same time, domestic technology and autonomous technology have been researched and applied in manufacturing spare parts, accessories, and technical materials, proceeding to manufacture special weapons and technical equipment and improve the autonomy in supplying technical equipment, and reducing dependence on foreign partners. In addition, the Navy has strengthened international cooperation on scientific research, technology transfer, equipment acquisition, professional training, and experience sharing to narrow the level of development with the navies of advanced countries.

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