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"America withdrew from...." Topic

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Private Matter29 Mar 2016 5:24 a.m. PST

Vietnam. On March 29, 1973 the last US combat troops left Vietnam ending their eight year direct involvement.

jpattern2 Inactive Member29 Mar 2016 5:41 a.m. PST

A few key dates of the Vietnam War are seared into my memory, mostly courtesy of CBS News and Walter Cronkite.

I remember the opening of the Tet Offensive (January 30, 1968).
I remember the signing of the Paris Peace Accords (January 27, 1973).
I remember the day the last US combat troops left (March 29, 1973).
And I remember the fall of Saigon (April 29-30, 1975).

To quote Josey Wales, "I guess we all died a little in that damn war."

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 6:08 a.m. PST

I remember sitting in the cafeteria at Temple University the day the draft lottery numbers were called.

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 6:16 a.m. PST

I remember when Saigon fell. A friend of mine was stationed at the US embassy at the time – he REALLY remembers when Saigon fell.

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 6:31 a.m. PST

1970-my draft number was 36.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 6:39 a.m. PST

The question of when the last US combat troops left Vietnam is still being debated. When the 196th Infantry Brigade left in June of '72, we were told we were the last combat troops to leave the country, a claim also made by Shelby Stanton in his Vietnam Order of Battle. Of course, there was still a sizable US military presence left in Vietnam, including several task forces, provisional units, etc. that could be construed as combat units.

In the end, all I care about is that I was carried onto the plane at the entire of my first tour, walked onto the plane at the end of my second, and there wasn't a third.


jonspaintingservice Inactive Member29 Mar 2016 8:53 a.m. PST

I remember watching the fall of Saigon on the BBC news. I was 8 yrs old and can remember it more clearly than what I did last week.

Ceterman Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 9:17 a.m. PST

I remember it well. My brother was 4 years older than me & got lucky in 3 years of the draft, never got called. Me? The year I turned 18, they stopped the draft. Never even got a card. Lucky family, I guess.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 9:31 a.m. PST

One of my students when I was at Wayne State was a former Special Forces guy who an "instructor" for the Vietnamese army when Saigon fell – he was one of the last few US troops out

Great guy – after he broke his back he went back to University and now is a physician

Weasel29 Mar 2016 10:19 a.m. PST

Got a lot of older American friends who were affected by Vietnam in various ways.

Some prospered afterwards, some returned but never really did leave.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 11:02 a.m. PST

I only remember Vietnam as a child, wondering why men were fighting Gorillas! I was surprised when I heard they were men, so I thought they must be men in monkey suits!!!

On the flip side, I was haunted by the fall of Saigon, and that little girl running past the camera from the village that had been Napalmed.

I am still saddened by the fact that America and Australia (to a lesser degree) still don't really honour their Veterans from that dreadful conflict. They are/were brave men, and are worthy of respect IMHO

Personal logo Sigwald Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 11:34 a.m. PST

I went into the army a few years after the war ended. Most of the guys that trained me or that I worked with had been infantrymen in the nam. I was 17 then and those guys were the best mentors and older brothers a guy could ever hope to have. They remain as my heroes and I miss them all terribly as I lost touch with all of them and was never able to find any of them all these years later on Facebook or other vet sites.

Personal logo SBminisguy Supporting Member of TMP29 Mar 2016 12:30 p.m. PST

My most vivid memory of Vietnam is not mine -- it's a Vietnamese friend of mine's memory. I was just a kid and my parents tried to shelter us from the evening news. My friend was 9yo at the Fall of Saigon and remembers his family leaving on the last passenger jet out of Saigon with people on the runway shooting at them. His dad was an Lt. in the VNAF, and because of that they knew they would all die if they stayed. He lost many family members who stayed -- killed in the purges. One uncle and family escaped to sea where most of them died at the hands of pirates and exposure before getting asylum in Malaysia. Pretty much any Vietnamese American you meet who is 45+ yo lived through or escaped hell to get here.

We tend to forget the holocaust that accompanied the Fall of Saigon. Two million Vietnamese fled from the Communist take-over -- some 400,000 died in the attempt. Another 900,000 to 1.5 million South Vietnamese were killed by the Communists in the years after the take over. And then the Fall of Saigon led to the Killing Fields of Cambodia. And it wasn't because our men and women in uniform failed…

hocklermp529 Mar 2016 2:16 p.m. PST

Sitting there watching them push Hueys over the side of aircraft carriers because they had no room for all of them that were fleeing the downfall is the real end note for me.

jpattern2 Inactive Member29 Mar 2016 2:43 p.m. PST

And it wasn't because our men and women in uniform failed . . .
They did what was asked of them, and then some.

Korvessa29 Mar 2016 4:59 p.m. PST

When I was in high school in north central California in about 1976-77 we had some refugees come to our school. Rumor had it that one of their fathers had been a colonel or general or something.
One day when we were digging up bugs for biology class, one of them said something to the effect that last time he was digging holes he was burying people.
Gave me great pause.

Rubber Suit Theatre Inactive Member30 Mar 2016 7:20 p.m. PST

Viet Nam was my father's war – mine was in Southwest Asia. Whenever the subject of the place where so many of his classmates died becoming a tourist destination comes up, he mentions that if they'd just seen things our way the first time around we could have avoided all of that unpleasantness.

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