The 345th Session of Memory Night-1

Adjusted by Leyla Rostami
Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2023-11-28


The 345th session of memory night was held in Revagh-e Shahadat (portico of martyrdom) (campus of the Artistic Sect of Islamic Republic of Iran) on Thursday, April 27, 2023. In this session, Brigadier Dr. Nasrollah Ezzati, Nezam Ali Salehi, and Second Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Fuladi shared their memories. The narrators told the memories of the first group of Imam Ali Officer’s Academy students sent to the operational areas of Holy Defense in 1980 commanded by Martyr Major General Namjoo. Dawood Salehi was presenter of the session. The body of an Assyrian newly-discovered martyr named “Johnny Bet Oshana”, one of the martyrs of Iranian religious minorities, was special guest of this memory night.

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At first, according to the session’s topic, the host said, “When the war became serious and started officially, commander of the Imam Ali Officers' Academy, Brigadier General Namjoo gathered all the students in an amphitheater hall and talked to them. His impressive sentences caused 10 C-130 aircrafts and more than 740-750 people to enter Khorramshahr two days later on September 24, 1980.

The first narrator was Dr. Nasrollah Ezzati, a chemical war-disabled. In addition to being in operational areas for more than 100 months, he served in armored units and was the deputy of minister of defense for 11 years. The narrator said about the day of the conference of officer students and the words of martyr Namjoo and that incident in the amphitheater hall of the officer academy, “One of the issues that has received less attention is participation of the officer academy’s students in the first days of the war in the Khuzestan front. We were graduating and we commuted with the rank of officer for about three months. Exactly on September 22, the students did the last parade rehearsal at Officer’s Academy. Bani Sadr, then president, was supposed to come in the next day, i.e. 23 September, and give the ranks to the graduates. Martyr Falahi run the rehearsal.

At the same time in the afternoon, explosions were heard from Mehrabad Airport, and then commander of the officer academy, Shahid Namjoo immediately stopped the parade, and told all the students and graduates to go inside the sanatoriums and wait to see what's going on?! It was after that that we found out that Iraq attacked Iran and hit Mehrabad airport. That is, Iraq did for us what Israel did to the Arabs. The first thing it did was hitting the airports so that if the Air Force tried to fly and gain aerial supremacy, it would not be possible for it. That day passed; Martyr Namjoo gathered all the students in the academy’s amphitheater on September 23 and said, “My dears! A war has been started. Saddam has attacked our borders and the fronts need you. Now, what we have in our hands and we can quickly prepare and start working are the students of the officer academy.”

When we arrived at the south and Khorramshahr, each of us was supposed to be given 30 Basij forces, so that we would become their commanders, take them to the front and employ them; But we put on working and student clothes again and while they equipped us and gave us weapons and ammunition, we flew with 10 C-130 aircrafts from Mehrabad Airport and 740 students with Martyr Namjoo tomorrow morning. The situation was red and these aircrafts landed one after the other at the Ahvaz airport. As the airplane’s engine was on, the students quickly got off from both sides of the plane and entered the airport. The plane would fly and go, the other would land. In the same way and very quickly, the students of the officer academy were airborne and dropped off at the Ahvaz airport.

We spent that night in Ahvaz Barracks. We decided to do something tomorrow. I was an RPG shooter. The situation became such that they said you should organize and recruit yourselves, and students were recruited instead of soldiers. Four commanders died a martyr there; Martyr Capt. Javanshir, the company commander, Martyr Capt. Tahamtan, Martyr Capt. Aslani, and Martyr Capt. Kebriaei, who had just been transferred from the officer accademy to the 92nd Division in the fortress battalion. During the attack on Khorramshahr and the fortress garrison, the Iraqis captured and beheaded the martyr Capt. Kebriaei who was serving. During those 34 and 5 days of resistance in Khorramshahr, about 29 students of the officer academy, marine forces rangers who had been trained, and a number of Khorramshahr’s IRGC and Basiji members that they were able to gather from there were employed.

The narrator continued, “What is your analysis about a country that takes its officer academy’s student to the front on the first day of the war? If you go back, you will find that the interim government and Mr. Madani, then the defense minister, said that we would create a federal army where everyone would go to their own city. The column of the 92nd Armored Division with full equipment was 450 km long, and when one of its brigades maneuvered, the 4th Iraqi Corps was on full alert. They created a situation that none of the personnel of this army were natives a year before the war, and they sent here armored personnel from Arak, Borujerd, Mashhad, Tehran, and various places. Most Ahwazi people who were local worked in the oil company and no one joined AJA (the army). The best tank driver of the 92nd Division came to Tehran and became the driver of AJA’s 502 Hospital. On the other hand, the duration of military service became one year. They emptied all the barracks. That soldier likes to be discharged earlier and go, but he doesn't know what's behind the curtain! As a result, when Iraq attacked, AJA was only able to prepare and deploy a combat group in Fakkeh. As well as, it put some forces in front of the line.

That night, Martyr Chamran and the Supreme Leader, then Imam of Friday prayer, ordered RPG shooter students to come. We were about 30-40 who went to the army staff of the 92nd Armored Division of AJA. Martyr Chamran and Ayatollah Khamenei spread a blanket and sit just in front of the division’s army staff. They prepared the students and embarked them on a bus and took them to an area where they wanted to raid the Iraqi commands in the dark night. Of course, some commands of the division were also in full alert, but their commander said the situation is such that if we move forward, we will suffer heavy casualties. Because the Iraqis were on full alert and had night vision cameras.

They said it is better for you not to attack at night and to attack during the day. Martyr Chamran also accepted the words of the command’s commander, and that commander dissuaded us from attacking. We again returned to the headquarters of the 92nd Division. They took us to Khorramshahr next tomorrow. Amir Salehi, who is now present, was shot in Khorramshahr and became a war-disabled. His spleen was removed and 29 students and four commanders died a martyr in Khorramshahr. The situation in Khorramshahr was such that Iraq was putting pressure because it wanted to capture Tehran during three days. But it remained behind the gates of Khorramshahr. It had to go around to take the bridge and Khorramshahr fell. That is, the only way for those who were left in the middle was to reach the other side by boat and go to Abadan. A large number of people and personnel stayed there and were captured.

Maybe if I were in place of Martyr Namjoo at that time, I would have done the same thing; Although later many criticized why you hired a nationwide university student! If each of these divisions wanted to move and come, it would take a long time. For example, it took 45 days for the Mashhad division to travel by train or bus to Abadan region. Is it possible to move a heavy army so easily?! These were issues that happened at the beginning of the war, and martyr Namjoo played a very important role in those few days of Khorramshahr resistance. That is, if these students were not really there and they were not organized, perhaps Khorramshahr would have fallen much earlier and other issues would have arisen.

 

To be continued…

 



 
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