Posted: 4/30/2001 7:48:35 AM EDT
Reflections on the Fall of Saigon For Vietnamese and Americans, the events on
April 30, 1975, would change the world forever. But no one has quite the
same interpretation of what happened.
By DAVID LAMB, Times Staff Writer
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam--Finally, by April 1975, there was something
about Vietnam that almost everyone could agree on. After a wrenching decade of
bloodshed and protest, the end of the war was near. Rumors of a pending blood
bath raced through Saigon in those final days of April 1975. CIA agents
estimated that thousands of people would be killed
The largest helicopter evacuation in history ended at 7:52 a.m. April 30. Over
a span of 19 hours, choppers took out 1,120 South Vietnamese and 978 Americans.
U.S. security guards used their rifle butts to beat back many more South
Vietnamese trying to storm the embassy. Now the last chopper was skirting over
Saigon, carrying the remnants of a U.S. force that once had numbered 543,000
troops. The 11 Marines aboard had their weapons trained squarely on their
former allies below.
i was living as a young teen in s.e. asia (hong kong) when the fall happened. seeing the 7th fleet come into port - it just was never the same again. all this horror happening 900 or so miles away. this event is strongly intertwined into my memories. the air was heavy and humid and just sad.
i read a few years later that one major reason was the u.s. stopped supplying ammo to the ARVN and most troops were down to less than 200 rounds per m16 and no ammo for 105's. (same thing happened to the german 6th army on the eastern front, no supplies at all) the big battle at pleiku was lost due to ammo and the u.s. not wanting to send the buff's in to draw back the tide against the NVA. most thought that some how saigon would remain an island of 'non-communism' like taiwan did.
ironically what started out as an insurgency after 1972 became a regular war with larger unit engagements and armour battles, but the u.s. had lost the will to fight.