The fall of Saigon 1975 revisited

April 14, 2007

I seem to have a thing about things military at the moment.

Various commentators from various positions on the political spectrum are fond of drawing parallels between the current situation in Iraq and that of South Vietnam more than 30 years ago. I’ve done it myself from mine.

As the 32nd anniversary approaches, it’s worth perhaps recalling the experience through the eyes of one who was there.

It was not a proud day to be an American. As our CH-46 Marine helicopter lifted off the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon at 5:30 a.m., April 30, 1975–taking the last of the Americans, except for the Marine guards, to USS Okinawa and safety–the full extent of our betrayal struck home. The 420 evacuees below, whom we had given our solemn promise not to abandon, began to press at the Marine guards then withdrawing into the embassy.

But it was too late. America had not only fecklessly abandoned its erstwhile ally in its time of most desperate need but also had shamefully abandoned the last several hundred of those evacuees who had trusted America to the very end. Included were the local firemen who had refused earlier evacuation so as to be on hand if one of the evacuation helicopters crashed into the landing zone in the embassy courtyard; a German priest with a number of Vietnamese orphans; and members of the Republic of Korea (ROK) embassy, including several ROK Central Intelligence Agency officers who chose to remain to the end to allow civilians to be evacuated ahead of them and who would later be executed in cold blood by the North Vietnamese invaders.

Read the whole thing — and more, at TheHistoryNet.


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