The pride of blue-beret female officers in UN peacekeeping force

29/12/2020| 19:30

For officers under peacekeeping missions like Lieutenant Sa Minh Ngoc, their pride was simply when South Sudan’s children uttered the name “Viet Nam” loudly and clearly.

 

The pride of blue-beret female officers in UN peacekeeping forceMinh Ngoc and her teammates had spent 14 months in South Sudan UN peacekeeping’s headquarter.

 

A difficult choice

Born and raised in a military family, with her father and grandfather are soldiers, the desire of becoming a part of the People’s Army of Viet Nam was burning in Minh Ngoc’s heart ever since she was in her 1st grade.

Returning from Malaysia with a bachelor’s degree in 2014, Minh Ngoc had requested to enlist in the Army and become a part of the Viet Nam Peacekeeping Centre (VPC), later the Viet Nam Peacekeeping Department. She officially joined the Viet Nam Peacekeeping force in 2015.

Back then, the concept of peacekeeping and the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation were relatively new in Viet Nam. Many of her relatives and friends kept asking her the same questions: “What is peacekeeping? Why do you choose to enlist, why do you choose to be a peacekeeper?”. Some even went further: “As a woman, should it be easier for you to pick a stable, secure job, instead of this dangerous and challenging task?”. In spite of the surrounding skepticism, Minh Ngoc kept her faith.

In October 2016, she received her decision to join the Level-2 Field Hospital No. 1 (which, at the moment, was assembling at the 175 Military Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City), 5 months prior to her wedding. Right after her marriage, Minh Ngoc and her husband were separated from each other: While her husband received a decision to work in Myanmar, she also prepared for her long mission in South Sudan. The couple promised to meet two years later after fulfilling duties to their homeland.

An officer, a woman

Completing the mission in South Sudan was difficult and challenging. For a woman like Minh Ngoc, those challenges and hardships multiplied by many times.

Minh Ngoc and other female comrades in the unit all had their own circumstances. Some had children in Viet Nam while their husbands also served in the Army and could not often come home; others had to rent houses, with children were taken care of by grandparents; there were those with elderly parents,…

On their way to completing the mission in Sudan, sometimes they were filled with emotions and personal anxiety. Perhaps, these were the glue that bonded them together, as they encouraged, consoled each other during their mission in South Sudan.

For her part, Minh Ngoc learned to stay positive. She realized that she was fortunate, as her far-distanced family and her wonderful teammates consistently encouraged and supported her. These had been the driving force behind the UN peacekeeping force’s overcoming of hardships, challenges on multiple fronts to successfully complete the given mission.

The pride of blue-beret female officers in UN peacekeeping forceFor Minh Ngoc, her proudest moments came when South Sudan’s kids raced to touch the Homeland’s flag that Ngoc’s squad carried on their march.

 

Proud of the name “Viet Nam”

According to Minh Ngoc, her small contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission was an honor and pride that shared not only by her but also by her teammates. Prior to their trip to South Sudan, they had sworn an oath before the Homeland’s flag that they would unite to overcome hardships, difficulties in order to complete the mission given by the Party, the State and the Army.

Minh Ngoc and her teammates had spent 14 months in South Sudan UN peacekeeping’s headquarters. While the period could be considered short in comparison with a person’s lifetime, spending 24 hours in a country ravaged by wars, internal conflicts were nothing but challenging.

The female Lieutenant shared that for moments, she felt weak and homesick. Yet, as she and her teammates looked upon the Homeland’s flag, they were reminded of the oath taken before their departure. According to Minh Ngoc, besides the encouragement and supports from her family and teammates, national pride was the main driving force behind her overcoming difficulties, challenges in South Sudan.

For Minh Ngoc, her proudest moment came when South Sudan’s kids raced to touch the Homeland’s flag that Ngoc’s squad carried on their march; as those young boys and girls practiced pronunciations, they uttered loudly and clearly the name “Vietnam”; or when they received encouragement from Vietnamese citizens at home.

(TGVN)

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