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Fall of Saigon: Where were you on April 30th, 1975?

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Well here it is 44 years later! It was a sad day for me those many years ago and it is still today. Was it a surprise? No it was not. I had left Saigon on 14 April 75 after 3 fun filled weeks flying between TSN and VPPN

Phoum Pehn. I had watched the NVA come further South every day. Got close enough on a no fly day to see artillery shells decimating the Vietnamese Airborne at Xaun Loc. Yes the handwriting was on the wall when I left. The day it was announced that Saigon was gone and with it SVN I sat there with a guy that had come out with me and we were mainly silent. What could we say.

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I was just a young boy when the city fell, but I will never forget the images on TV.. My Uncle flew C-7 Caribou's and Tarhee helicopters during his 7 tours in VN...


Thank you for your service...



"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)






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On the beautiful sandy ( Then !) beach in San . Diego . with my brand new bride ! No job, no worries ,My 750 BMW running great!


Bike long gone, my bride still with me . When I left in ''69 and 70 we were still winning . When we heard, I was surprised


it had taken so long . USMC 68 -72

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At work, knew it was coming. Daughter was a month old , plenty to take care of, lol.

Really PO’ed, most “LNs” just didnt care, seemed whatever. The ARVNs I worked with there were worried, some of them really apreciated what we did for them. Gave a Lt. my Gerber fighting knife, some VC or NVA has it now...)~:

"The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" G.K. Chesterton

"A people that values it's privileges above its principles will soon lose both" D.D. Eisenhower



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I see I posted my duty title in an earlier post a few years ago: Chief of Targets, 432nd Reconnaissance Technical Squadron, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base.


I was running a team of photo interpreters and target analysts who were reading out drone imagery (from the Ryan Firebee, or "Bug") and reporting our findings to various headquarters. We'd been watching the NVA coming south for some time. The Vietnamese Marines and Airborne troops would be holding up fairly well, but the ARVN would usually collapse and head for the hills, leaving the Marines and Airborne with exposed flanks, so they'd have to fall back and re-establish a line of defense further south. We also tracked an SA-2 coming south on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, knowing that when it came within range of the Saigon airspace it would be lights out. The NVA got there first, but not by much.


The image of the T-54 pushing through the gates of the Presidential Palace is well known, but somewhere I still have an image of another T-54 parked across the street from the main gate of Tan Son Nhut (where I spent my first SEA tour, in 71-72). That tank was parked directly in front of the "Magic Fingers" massage parlor.


A few weeks earlier, we had built photo maps for the US Marines going into Phnom Penh for Operation Eagle Pull and a few weeks later we were looking for the crew of SS Mayaguez and trying to locate the guns in the tree-line on Koh Tang Island.


When I think of those days, I think of the very junior guys in my branch (mostly E-3 and E-4), who worked under tremendous pressure and produced top notch analysis and reporting.

Jeff Floyd

The universe is made up of neutrons, protons, electrons and morons







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Hoping calls on the 4 to 12 shift, when I got home and walked across the patio my neighbor a 23rd ID engineer told me to grab a beer. He came over and told me, so we just sat there and knocked down a few.









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  • 8 months later...

Interesting question as there were so many big events going on those years. I was in high school and felt a sense of 'defeat' & that so much was for naught. Then there was the TV news showing the chaotic air / sea evacuations, which added to the gloom. Flash forward several years and I was working at a furniture place with a humble Vietnamese guy in our crew - older than us - and our boss said Henry here was on one of the last helicopters off the embassy, and, hes on the cover of a news magazine (Newsweek or Time I think). So I find a copy and by God there he is...unmistakeable Flash forward another year or two and I was in the Air Force, a new airman and the Sgt. training me related being on one of the last C-130's out. We had a conversation about US servicemen still being in country after March or April 73 and he said well we were based in Thailand but 'TDY' at Than Son Nut until literally the day it fell.

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