Noisy le Sec 15 March 1999.
Thank you for thinking of having General Hieu's classmates in helping you to write a few history pages about a beloved deceased friend.
I regret for not being able to provide some personal contribution regarding General Hieu's military career in order to assist you in realizing your desire.
Since the day we graduated and departed, we practically did not have any occasion to see each other, not to say to have conditions to serve our Country in a same Big Unit. Each one of us toiled in a different location far apart from each other.
However we did have the chance to come face to face a couple of times at the Vice Presidency Office during Mr. Tran Van Huong administration, when General Hieu was transferred to this Office to assume the task of eradicating corruption in a capacity that was not really clear to me. General Hieu worked directly with Mr. Nguyen Thach Van, the Special Assistant to the Vice President. He was formerly the Minister of the Veterans Department.
Mr Van was the person who knew exactly who had introduced General Hieu and how it came that Mr. Huong requested President Thieu to approve his special assignment to the Vice Presidency Office.
Regarding this period when General Hieu collaborated with Mr Van, Mr Van knew exactly all the details pertaining to how General Hieu performed his duties. Afterwards, Mr Van also knew for what reasons and under what circumstances General Hieu left the Vice Presidency Office to assume the position of Deputy Commander of the 3rd Military Region.
I have suggested to Mr Van, after I had received your request letter, to provide you information summarizing that period in time. But I noticed some reticence from his part. Therefore it is better that you write and ask him directly, maybe he will be willing to help you, because I know the Vice President and Mr. Van dearly loved General Hieu.
You can mention that I have referred you to him.
Upon receiving the news of General Hieu's death, the Vice President and Mr. Van personally went to the scene to pay their respect before his body was passed on to the funeral director.
As for me, I was entrusted by class 3 Tran Hung Dao graduates to represent them in offering our condolences to the family right at General Hieu's residency. I still recall, I was chocked, unable to utter a word, and cried in view of the sufferings of Mrs. Hieu and Mr. Nguyen Van Huong, Hieu's father.
I have not forgotten, cadet Nguyen Van Hieu was ranked second, behind Bui Dzinh, the valedictorian, among 135 other cadets (in 1950).
Those are my few lines in response to your request. I hope that Mr Van and our other friends who still think of Hieu will contribute somehow in helping you to realize your project.
All the best to you and your family.
Ly Ba Hy