President U Htin Kyaw held a ceremony in the Theatre Room of the Presidential Palace to present titles for bravery, on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on January 4, yesterday morning.
At the ceremony, President U Htin Kyaw bestowed five Thura military titles. The following is an interview with the recipients, as well as those who accepted the titles on behalf of the recipients.
Lt. Col Thura Zaw Lwin Soe, No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment
I am Lt. Col Thura Zaw Lwin Soe. I am Commander of No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment. My troops and I fought in an engagement for the sovereignty of the nation, and I was presented with this award for this reason. In that engagement, I led the point section to charge into an enemy camp, as they fired fiercely. A few men in my unit, and I, sustained light wounds, but we fought the enemy without giving them any respite, and we won.
I was proud to put my life on the line to protect the Union from disintegration. The main point is to have an understanding. If there is understanding and trust, there will be peace. What I want to say from the bottom of my heart is that Tatmadaw personnel, like us, most hope for peace. We fought in the battles to protect the sovereignty of our country. I think all will understand this. I am an ethnic Karen national. I am still serving in the Tatmadaw. I have no racial thoughts. I am serving for the perpetual existence of the Union. Thus, I would like to tell all to stay united and prevent the disintegration of the Union.
Major Thura Zeya Tun, Namhsam Air Base
I am Major Thura Zeya Tun. I am now serving as flight safety officer at Namhsam Air Base. During the Mongko region battles in northeastern Shan, when the northern alliance attacked, I was responsible for providing air support with my fighter aircraft. I am happy to be awarded the Thura title, because I accomplished the duty assigned to me.
The anti-aircraft fire from the enemy damaged my aircraft. I did not want to lose a valuable aircraft belonging to the Tatmadaw, and I did not want the enemy to gain a moral victory by bringing down my plane. I also did not want the forces on the ground to weaken their morale, if my plane went down. With the spirit that “my camp will not be overrun without my death,” I succeeded in flying my damaged plane back to base.
What I want to tell my other brother pilots here is to help our other brothers-in-arms in the Tatmadaw (Army) and Tatmadaw (Navy) and other Tatmadaw forces with the best of our Tamadaw (Air) ability. This is the main duty of Tatmadaw (Air).
U Bo Thein, father of Lance Corporal Thura Myo Chit (Killed in Action), No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment
I come to accept this title on behalf of my son, Myo Chit. I am proud of my son, who defended the country with his life. I am proud that the President is awarding this title to my son. I received some compensation and entitlements. I will spend all of this in his memory. He was keen to serve in the military. When he was young, he would go to look after the cows with his mother and, while doing so, he would play at being a soldier. He wanted to be a soldier, even when he was young. I didn’t even know when he went to enlist. However, he left word with his friend saying that he would return.
I am sad because he is my son, but I am also happy. I am proud of his bravery. I am proud that he was awarded the Thura title. He was hit twice. In the first battle, he was wounded, but in the second one, we lost him.
U Han Kaung, brother of Corporal Thuya Ye Nwam (Killed in Action), No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment
I come on behalf of my brother to accept the award. I was bereaved when I heard about his death. However, I felt happy and proud when I heard that he has been posthumously awarded this title. I do not think this is a title that he received for himself. I think he received it on behalf of the entire No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment. Both my brother and I are Naga nationals.
Even though I lost a brother, I am proud he served our country.
Lance Corporal Thura Tun Tun, No. 386 Light Infantry Regiment
I am proud and honoured. I have lost friends in battles, but they didn’t receive awards. This is the fourth time I was in a battle. This one was memorable. I never had the experience of over-running such a large position. I participated in the attack with my friends, and did the part I was told to do. I took up my position when I reached the destination, and those following me were able to follow us with ease.
I felt sad for my friends. My friends were among those who lost their lives. I was not hit. It is memorable that we were able to hit the enemy hard. I cannot describe my happiness on being awarded this title.—News Team