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Wartime Radio Broadcaster 'Hanoi Hannah' Passes Away at 87

Trinh Thi Ngo, a radio broadcaster known to members of the US military as "Hanoi Hannah" during the American War, passed away last week.

Voice of Vietnam announced that 87-year-old Ngo died in Saigon on September 30. No cause of death was given. 

According to the Washington PostNgo was the most famous of a group of broadcasters who bolstered the communist cause over the radio during the war. She learned English as a young woman in Hanoi by studying with a tutor and watching American films such as Gone With the Wind, which she preferred to the French movies commonly shown in cinemas at the time.

Ngo eventually joined the state-run Voice of Vietnam, based in what was then North Vietnam, and became an important personality thanks to her English skills. Her role took on additional prominence as the radio station evolved into a source of propaganda against US forces and prisoners of war.

Ngo taunted American troops in South Vietnam over the airwaves, explains The Guardian. One of her lines, according to the paper, was "GI, your government has abandoned you. They have ordered you to die. Don't trust them. They lied to you, GIs, you know you cannot win this war."

During her daily broadcasts, Ngo would also read off the names of US troops killed in combat, read American newspaper articles about the anti-war movement and play protest songs by the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.

After the war, Ngo went on to work for Ho Chi Minh City Television and distanced herself from the public spotlight.

The Guardian quotes Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, a former journalist with the Voice of Vietnam's English service, paying tribute to Ngo's legacy: "Hanoi Hannah was clearly one of the most prominent broadcasters we had in the history of the Voice of Vietnam and the country in general. She will be remembered for her legendary voice in broadcasts targeting American servicemen. Her influence on Vietnam's success against the US was huge."

[Photo via Fanshare]

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