California 10 March 1999.
Since the day I returned from the hospital and since the day I had a telephone conversation with you, until now I have not recuperated totally, which caused me to respond to your letter a little bit late.
As you have requested in your letter, may I introduce myself:
I am Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Toan, former Commanding General of the 3rd Corps and the 3rd Tactical Region. I attended the same class Tran Hung Dao which was class 3, Dalat as Major General Hieu. We were not very close, but like the other classmates, we all cherished Hieu, because of his friendly and very humble character, although he was a young man with a high level of academic background. After our graduation, for a long period of time, we did not have the occasion to working together. Therefore we did not see each other. It was not until November 1974, when I was assigned to the 3rd Corps that I met Hieu again, who was holding the position of Deputy Commander in charge of operations at the Corps. We cooperated very amicably and efficiently. Hieu was still able to maintain his friendliness and humility as before.
The battlefield situation was very critical at that time and we had to take turn to supervise and command operations. Major General Hieu always denoted a high degree of competency and always performed his duties admirably. But a surprise happened on (which day I don't recall), I was returning from an airborne operation when I got the news of Major General Hieu's death in his office. I immediately flew to Major General Hieu's office and saw he had died from a pistol bullet piercing through his eye and exiting the top of his head, causing him to die right at his desk.
Hieu's death was caused by an involuntary discharge of a pistol. Hieu's loss cast sorrow in everybody and was a big loss to the Army at that time.
Reminiscing the past is really painful. I sincerely offer my condolences to your family.
Nguyen Van Toan
- Colonel Ta Thanh Long
- Colonel Le Khac Ly
- Colonel Nguyen Khuyen