"At that point when you say who were the people who stayed to the last, at that point I still had with me in Saigon, a couple of pretty determined and brawny types with whom I was able to get on the Embassy fence and we physically were lifting these people across. And we had a couple of military officers in the crowd with whom we had a deal that if they pick out of the crowd the people that we want, then in the end we will lift them in and they can go too. Well we did that. We made deals like that with the police all through the day. We were able to move people through the city of Saigon by making deals with police officers and saying, "Put your families in among these people and when we safely put them on the plane or safely put them on the bus then we are going to take you too. That worked very well." -- On Monday, The Washington Post published the obituary of Tom Polgar, the last CIA head of station in Vietnam and linked to his memories of the years he spend in Vietnam and the final evacuation of Saigon, written in 2013 for the Pushing on blog, which is largely dedicated to the War on Vietnam and the fall of Saigon.
'Legendary Vietnam Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap dies.' 'Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless self-taught general who drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule and later forced the Americans to abandon their grueling effort to save the country from communism, has died. At age 102, he was the last of Vietnam's old-guard revolutionaries.' 'To military scholars around the world, he was one of the 20th century’s leading practitioners of modern revolutionary guerrilla warfare.' [more inside]
Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and historian, has died at age 87. He won the prize in 1990 for his book In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines (discussed on Booknotes). He is best known, however for his work on Vietnam. His book Vietnam: A History was widely acclaimed and its companion series on PBS, Vietnam: A Television History won six Emmys and a Peabody award and was one of the most widely watched documentaries on PBS. He discussed the war in 2000 in this Salon interview. Needless to say, his reporting was not appreciated by everyone.
He was... "...the meanest, toughest, most ambitious S.O.B. I ever knew but he'll be a hell of a secretary of state." -- Richard NixonAlexander Meigs Haig, Jr.,, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, who served US Presidents Nixon (as a military adviser, deputy assistant for national-security affairs, and chief of staff), Ford (chief of staff), and Reagan (secretary of state), has died at the age of 85. Haig commanded a batallion during the Vietnam War (where he was seriously wounded), managed the White House during the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon, and was himself a former Presidential candidate. [more inside]
Former US Secretary of Defense and 'architect of the Vietnam War' Robert S. McNamara has died at age 93. [more inside]
Col. David Hackworth, who billed himself as America's most decorated living soldier (he had eight Purple Hearts and ten Silver Stars), died in Mexico this week at age 74. Hackworth saw combat in World War II (having joined the Army at 15), Korea, and Vietnam; in 1967 he and Gen. Samuel Marshall wrote the Vietnam Primer, a "lessons learned" document prepared for the Army to explain how not to fight a guerilla war. In 1971, after years in-country, Hackworth turned publically against the war, telling ABC News that it could not be won and moving to Australia, where his anti-nuclear efforts earned him a United Nations Medal for Peace. Hackworth was a distinguished war correspondent, a self-appointed advocate for the average soldier who used his website as a soapbox, a best-selling author, a critic of American tactics in the Iraq War, and possibly the only figure respected by both WorldNetDaily and Common Dreams.