Phạm Ngọc Lan

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Phạm Ngọc Lan (born December 12, 1934) is a general of the People's Army of Vietnam. He is most noted for being North Vietnam's first pilot to shoot down American planes in aerial combat, on April 3, 1965.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Phạm was born on December 12, 1934, on a farm in Dien Nam, in Điện Bàn District of Quảng Nam Province. Less than a month after the August Revolution in 1945, the French reoccupied Vietnam's southern region and began to militarily contest the central coastal region.

Early career[edit]

In December 1948, after persuading his family, Lan applied to work at with the police in Đắk Lắk Province at the age of 14. Due to his youth he was only assigned to cooking tasks and was later transferred to communication work. In January 1949 Lan was writing about security for the Resistance Administrative Committee of Đắk Lắk. In October of that year, he went to do clerical work for the Đắk Lắk Province teams.

He continually volunteered for combat but was turned down because of his small size. In July 1952, at the age of 18, he was officially enlisted as a soldier with the clerical Political Committee Regiment 84 N'Trang Lơng [vi] contact zone 5. From January 1953, he in turn was a private soldier, vice squad leader and squad leader of the University Team 602, Battalion 30, Regiment 96, University Union 305. From his first battle at the age of 19, the Battle of An Khe Pass, until the 1954 armistice, Lan participated in 10 battles from Pleiku to Qui Nhơn and along Route 1 from Nha Trang to Quang Nam, capturing six prisoners including a French soldier.[1]

Late in 1954, Lan was transferred North with his unit. In January 1955 Lan received further education at the School of Culture of the General Command in the Kien An, which aims to train selected officers.

His initial results were not satisfactory but in only one year he quickly completed 10 years of education with excellent results.[2]

On October 1956 Lan went to China to study at the School of the Air Force No. 3, Yungui Highlands, Yunnan with the rank of platoon leader. In training Lan was always in the lead group and in all eight subjects reached the maximum theoretical 10 points, making 80 points total.

Meeting American planes in aerial combat[edit]

On April 3, 1965, he participated in the first battle of Vietnam People's Air Force, where an attack aircraft of the U.S. Navy was ambushed in the region of the Thanh Hóa Bridge, a lifeline bridge that supplied military forces in the south.

Training and command[edit]

After injuring his spine, Lan returned home when his superiors withdrew him from combat duty, and he was given the task of guiding and training young pilots and was promoted to lieutenant.

In April 1967, he was promoted to Regiment Captain and was appointed deputy of Air Force Regiment 921. In 1969, he was appointed Chairman of the Engineering Command of the Air Defence Air Force. In January 1973, he was sent for further study at the Air Force Academy Gagarin in the Soviet Union. After returning home, in March 1974, he was appointed Head of Work Staff Training Air Force Air Defence and Air Force, and promoted to Major.

From 1975 he held the following positions:

  • May 1977, Deputy Chief of Staff Air Force strains.
  • August 1977, studying at the Military Political Academy.
  • July 1978, Deputy Chief of Staff Air Force strains (2nd).
  • August 1978, Deputy Division 371 Air Division.
  • April 1979, Division Chief Division 370 Air Force establishment.
  • July 1981, Chairman of the strains Air Force guidance.
  • November 1982, entitled Department Training School, Army Air Force strains.
  • December 1985, Director General of Military Training School Air Force strains.
  • June 1994, Deputy Director of Combat Training the General Staff.

He was promoted to the rank of Major General June 1992.


  • Third Military Medal
  • Medal win (against France), First Class
  • Medal-class struggle against the U.S.
  • Achievement Medal (First Class, Second, Third)
  • Soldiers Medal glorious (ranked first, second, Ba)
  • Military Medal winning public decisions
  • A coat of arms of Uncle Ho (for pilots shot down American aircraft)
  • Coat 40 year Party
  • Hero of the People's Armed Forces[3]


  1. ^ Land on the beach corn because "mercy plane"
  2. ^ secret of the first U.S. aircraft shot down
  3. ^ H.L (22 December 2007). Good Day People's Army of Vietnam 22/12: Meet the first (Report) (in Vietnamese). Vietnam News (Theo_Thanh_Nien). Retrieved 13 October 2010.

External links[edit]