Colonel Nguyen Van Bay, who shot down seven U.S. aircraft during the Vietnam War, died Sunday evening at age 84.
The veteran passed away at 9 p.m. at the 175 Military Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City after a week of intensive treatment.
Bay was transferred to the hospital on September 16 in a coma caused by cerebral hemorrhage. He had fainted while working in his home garden in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.
Bay’s real name is Nguyen Van Hoa. He was called Bay as the southern Vietnamese made a practice of calling children in the order they were born. Hoa was the seventh (bay means seven) in a 10-children family.
He is one of 19 Vietnamese pilots who received the ACES rank – a title given during the World War II period to pilots of military aircraft who shot down five or more enemy aircraft.
In 1966-1967, Bay shot down seven U.S. planes and was awarded the Hero of the Vietnamese People’s Armed Forces title.
After retiring in 1990, he returned to his hometown in Hau Thanh Hamlet in Dong Thap Province’s Lai Vung District to grow vegetables, raise fish and live a simple farmer’s life.