These are the stories of “young ladies” from the Hanoi Capital City, who were ready to leave the lecture theatre and stop their academic activities to join the army and take part in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign. Those young ladies often came from well-off families, in response to the sacred call of the fatherland, without any hesitation and worry, left everything behind: family, peaceful life and bright future to fulfill their lofty duty – taking part in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign.
Who were they? They were white-blouse fighters – nurses in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign who feared no dangers in the fierce battlefields and are historical witnesses in the Exhibition “Memory of Dien Bien”. They are Nguyen Thi Mai Tam; Ngo Thi Tuyet An; Pham Thi Tin, Tran Thi Luat, Nguyen Thi Hong Minh, and Ngo Thi Thai Nghiem, etc.
A common feature of these young women fighters is they were very young, just about 20 years of age and students of the Hanoi Medical University. Their familiar image at that time was: they wore hats covered with camouflage nets on their heads and rubber sandals on their feet and carried a belt-like rice bag around their waist and handbags full of cotton, bandages, medicines and medical equipment on their shoulders with their backpack full of clothing, mosquito net, raincoat, and other personal belongings. During serving the Campaign, although having to travel long distances, they managed to pass many high passes and cross deep streams to catch up with their units. In the daytime, they took shelters in thick jungles and at night they continued their operation, traveling like this for months. Sometimes they had to stop over to provide first aid and surgical services to wounded soldiers. During their operation, women medical fighters also had to encounter personal problems, particularly during their monthly periods. Without having time for personal hygiene and rest, many of them could not walk.
Ms. Ngo Thi Tuyet An, a young lady from Hang Non-Street, Hanoi who was a nurse in Treatment Team 6, was very moved recalling: “We conducted our operation with great hardship, particularly for women during their menstruation. I still remember that during the Hoa Binh Campaign, when crossing a stream, I did not know how to swim and thus had to hold on to a pot for army cooks to push me to the other side”.