Orlando Lechuga Zaldivar was 21 when he stepped on the sands of Playa Giron to combat the mercenary invasion as a member of battalion K of the Granma anti-aircraft artillery base in Pinar del Rio province, which accomplished missions in the midst of the hard and decisive time for the homeland.
Havana Gala to Honor Giron Victory and 7th PCC Congress
Today Orlando is 76 years and has a lot of stories to tell, "I can remember things as if I were still living them, for example when we got to Australia sugar mill on April 16th commanded by Commandant Jose Alvarez Bravo, we got the instructions there and quickly left for the main battlefield."
"I could see Fidel (Castro) very near from us, he was giving orders to the tank men, to the artillery, to all the units... He explained how to corner the mercenaries and then release the final attack against the beach head and capture the enemies; we all followed his orders and swore we'd defend the homeland until our last drop of blood," said the combatant of Playa Giron, Orlando Lechuga Zaldivar.
"The Commander in Chief inspired trust, sure on the triumph, he was fully aware on our victory, and that made us feel stronger, and that's how we left for the battlefield," he said.
"We lived very hard times, we made our way into the battlefield under an inferno of fire by the mercenary planes; we were very young then but behaved at the height of the country's call. We fought hard indeed; we knocked down two enemy planes and backed up the move of our units into the beach area."
"Our triumph was great, something hard to put in words, said Orlando, one of the combatant from Banes that fought the mercenary invasion in Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs), and today 55 years later he is still committed with the huge work of the (Cuban) Revolution and the companions of struggle fallen there to make the homeland live free and sovereign."
"One cannot forget Giron, that's a story to be always told to the new generations to keep it alive. It's a momentum and shining stage of the Cuban people," stressed Orlando Lechuga Zaldivar, who is forceful and willing to go on working for Cuba because at the saying of our Hero National - Jose Marti – "the homeland needs sacrifices; it is an altar not a pedestal." / By Carlos Garcia Matos - Radio Banes / Translated by Radio Angulo.