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Captured:A Look Back at the Vietnam War on the 35th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon by Larryh86GT
Started on: 01-24-2011 11:06 AM
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Last post by: maryjane on 01-24-2011 05:30 PM
Larryh86GT
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Report this Post01-24-2011 11:06 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Larryh86GTSend a Private Message to Larryh86GTDirect Link to This Post
Editor’s Warning: The following photo collection contains some graphic violence and depictions of dead bodies.

(AP) Today, April 30th, marks the 35th Anniversary of the fall of Saigon, when communist North Vietnamese forces drove tanks through the former U.S.-backed capital of South Vietnam, smashing through the Presidential Palace gates. The fall of Saigon marked the official end of the Vietnam War and the decadelong U.S. campaign against communism in Southeast Asia. The conflict claimed some 58,000 American lives and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese.
The war left divisions that would take years to heal as many former South Vietnamese soldiers were sent to Communist re-education camps and hundreds of thousands of their relatives fled the country.

In Vietnam, today is called Liberation Day and the government staged a parade down the former Reunification Boulevard that featured tank replicas and goose-stepping soldiers in white uniforms. Some 50,000 party cadres, army veterans and laborers gathered for the spectacle, many carrying red and gold Vietnamese flags and portraits of Ho Chi Minh, the father of Vietnam’s revolution. In a reminder of how the Communist Party retains a strong grip on the flow of information despite the opening of the economy, foreign journalists were forbidden from conducting interviews along the parade route. The area was sealed off from ordinary citizens, apparently due to security concerns.

The photos below offer a look back at the Vietnam War from the escalation of U.S. involvement in the early 1960’s to the Fall of Saigon in 1975.


http://blogs.denverpost.com...ll-of-saigon-2/1781/
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Gokart Mozart
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Report this Post01-24-2011 12:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gokart MozartClick Here to visit Gokart Mozart's HomePageSend a Private Message to Gokart MozartDirect Link to This Post
Charles McMahon Darwin L. Judge
Charles McMahon (May 10, 1953 - April 29, 1975)[1] and Darwin Lee Judge (February 16, 1956 - April 29, 1975)[2] were the last two United States servicemen killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The two men, both U.S. Marines, were killed in a rocket attack one day before the Fall of Saigon.

Charles McMahon, 11 days short of his 22nd birthday, was a corporal from Woburn, Massachusetts. Darwin Judge was a 19-year-old lance corporal and Eagle Scout from Marshalltown, Iowa.

Deaths
McMahon and Judge were members of the Marine Security Guard Battalion at the US Embassy, Saigon and were providing security for the DAO Compound, adjacent to Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport, Saigon. Both died in a North Vietnamese rocket attack on Tân Sơn Nhứt on the morning of April 29, 1975.[3].

In accordance with procedures for deceased Americans in Vietnam, their bodies were transferred to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, nearby Tan Son Nhut. In telephone calls to the hospital on the afternoon of April 29, the few remaining staff advised that the bodies had been evacuated; in fact the bodies were left behind.[4]Operation Frequent Wind, the American evacuation of Saigon was completed the following day, April 30, 1975. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, through diplomatic channels, secured the return of the bodies the following year.[5]

Judge was given Marine burial honors 25 years later; retired USMC Lieutenant Colonel Jim Kean, the commanding officer of the Marines during the Fall of Saigon, presented a flag to Judge's parents. The Fall of Saigon Marines Association, a California non-profit, public benefit corporation, was formed to honor the last two Marines to be killed in action in Vietnam. The association sponsors two $500 scholarships for Eagle Scouts attending Marshalltown High School in Marshalltown, Iowa (as a memorial to Eagle Scout Judge).[6]

First and last American casualties in Vietnam
The first U.S. casualty in Vietnam was Flying Tiger John T. Donovan who was killed on May 12, 1942, but American involvement in Vietnam was not considered official at that time and as such his name does not appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial [7].

For over 40 years the first person who died in Vietnam was in controversy. Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr.'s death in June 1956 was deemed to have taken place before the start of the Vietnam War. However, the family of Fitzgibbon had long lobbied to have the start date changed and their cause was taken up by U.S. Representative Ed Markey of Malden (D - 7th District)[8]. After a high level review by the DoD and through the efforts of Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam war was changed to November 1, 1955.[9] The November 1955 date was chosen as the new start date because that was when the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam was separated out from MAAG, Indochina in a reorganization into the different countries that the deployments were stationed.[10] With this new date Fitzgibbon became the first person to die in the Vietnam War, Fitzgibbon's name was added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in 1999[11]. The former first two official casualties were U.S. Army Major Dale R. Buis and Master Sergeant Chester Charles Ovnand who were killed on July 18, 1959.

While McMahon and Judge were the last American ground casualties in Vietnam, they are not the last casualties of the Vietnam War (a term which also covers the U.S. involvement in Cambodia and Laos) recorded on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; those names belong to the 18 Americans killed in the Mayaguez Incident.


1.^ "CPL Charles McMahon". The Virtual Wall. http://thewall-usa.com/info.asp?recid=34309.
2.^ "CPL Darwin L Judge". The Virtual Wall. http://thewall-usa.com/info.asp?recid=27030.
3.^ "The Long Last Day". CBS News. April 26, 2000. http://www.cbsnews.com/stor...al/main188943.shtml.
4.^ Major James H, Kean SSN/0802 USMC, After Action Report 17 April ~ 7 May 1975 p. 5 & 8
5.^ Dunham, George R (1990). U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Bitter End, 1973-1975 (Marine Corps Vietnam Operational Historical Series). Marine Corps Association. ISBN 978-0160264559.
6.^ "Vietnam hero finally honored". http://www.scopesys.com/cgi-bin/bio2.cgi?bio=J052.
7.^ "First veteran classified as killed in country". http://www.touchthewall.org/facts.html#1v.
8.^ Al Turco (June 2, 1999). "Fitzgibbon's name is on the Wall". Stoneham Independent. http://www.stonehamindepend...chives/1999/06/02/3. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
9.^ "Name of Technical Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial". Department of Defense (DoD). November 6, 1998. http://www.defense.gov/rele...aspx?releaseid=1902. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
10.^ Lawrence, A. T. (2009). Crucible Vietnam: Memoir of an Infantry Lieutenant. McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 0786445173 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
11.^ Al Turco (June 2, 1999). "Fitzgibbon's name is on the Wall". Stoneham Independent. http://www.stonehamindepend...chives/1999/06/02/3. Retrieved March 31, 2010.


Final Combat: The Mayaguez Incident at Koh Tang


After South Vietnam fell to communist forces, the U.S. was again involved in combat in Southeast Asia. In May 1975, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge navy seized the American cargo ship SS Mayaguez and its crew of 39 in international waters.

President Gerald Ford acted decisively to rescue the crew. The Mayaguez was anchored at Koh Tang Island near the Cambodian coast, and military planners believed the crew was on the island. Air Force gunships sank three Cambodian patrol boats to prevent them taking the Mayaguez's crew from Koh Tang to the mainland. Soon after, Marines boarded the Mayaguez and found it abandoned.

Near Disaster
Marines landed on Koh Tang in Air Force helicopters to rescue the crew, but incomplete intelligence made the operation a near disaster. Expecting only light opposition, the USAF helicopters instead faced heavy fire from a large force. The Cambodians shot down four helicopters, damaged five more and killed 14 Americans. More U.S. troops and aircraft urgently moved to reinforce the 131 Marines and five USAF aircrew trapped on Koh Tang.

As the assault unfolded, the Mayaguez crew appeared in a small boat, and were rescued unharmed. President Ford halted offensive action, and the operation shifted from assault to rescuing the trapped Marines.

Determined Rescue
Another 100 Marines moved into Koh Tang to reinforce and extract the trapped Marines. Coordinated USAF support by attack aircraft, forward air controllers, rescue helicopters and gunships pounded Cambodian targets while the Americans on the ground fought hard to maintain their positions.

Only three USAF helicopters were left to extract more than 200 troops. They tried time and again, braving fierce, accurate fire, but were repeatedly driven off. Finally, they reached the beach and recovered 129 Marines in multiple trips, landing them quickly on Navy ships and returning to the island for more. On the last trip to the beach, USAF pararescueman Tech. Sgt. Wayne Fisk left his helicopter to find two missing Marines still laying down covering fire. He led them to the helicopter, and the 14-hour rescue ended as the aircraft left under fire.

Three Marines, inadvertently left on the island in the darkness and confusion, were killed and buried there within a few days by the Khmer Rouge. Total U.S. casualties included 18 dead and 50 wounded. Twenty-three more USAF personnel died in a support force helicopter crash in Thailand due to mechanical failure.

Quick, effective action at Koh Tang by USAF, Marine and Navy forces prevented a bad situation from becoming much worse. In particular, the persistence, determination and heroism of USAF helicopter crews saved many lives. The action at Koh Tang between May 12-15, 1975, was the last combat in Southeast Asia for U.S. forces.

[This message has been edited by Gokart Mozart (edited 01-24-2011).]

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bristowb
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Report this Post01-24-2011 04:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for bristowbSend a Private Message to bristowbDirect Link to This Post
I was born in Siagon in 74 my sister was born April 6 1975. My father was a civilian contractor with the United States To help rebuild the sewer and water system( he is a Civil Engineer) we left Siagon April 27, 1975 under fire from guards at a crossing gate (they did not want us to go threw because my Mom and other brothers and sisters and I we considered Vietnamese Nationalist). Once threw we boarded a private Government plane that took us to Thialand. All I can say is Thank you to all the SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN. That did what they were ordered too do, even if they did not know what they were doing it for. There are a lot of Vietnamese people that feel the same way. I don't remember it at all, but my Mom tells me stories all the time. My dad(r.i.p.) used to tell us stories all the time and recount our escape. Mom will go out of her way to tell a Vietnam Vet thank you. I remember once she even followed a guy who had a Vietnam Vet tag in his pick up truck window. Just to tell him thanks, and introduce me and my brothers and sisters to him. She also made sure we thanked him also. At the time I was about 5 and did not understand( thought my mom had gone crazy) but now I do.
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fyrebird68
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Report this Post01-24-2011 04:42 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fyrebird68Click Here to Email fyrebird68Send a Private Message to fyrebird68Direct Link to This Post
I'll never forget it. April 30th is my birthday.

I was in the Army at the time and was sent to Phu Lam to help de-install a top-secret computer system and pack it up. We loaded it on a C130 to fly it to Okinawa. Over the South China Sea the CO opened the door and says "shove it out!" This thing was the size of 50 refrigerators.

If I had known that I would have been less careful packing it up.

[This message has been edited by fyrebird68 (edited 01-24-2011).]

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maryjane
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Report this Post01-24-2011 05:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for maryjaneSend a Private Message to maryjaneDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by bristowb:

I was born in Siagon in 74 my sister was born April 6 1975. My father was a civilian contractor with the United States To help rebuild the sewer and water system( he is a Civil Engineer) we left Siagon April 27, 1975 under fire from guards at a crossing gate (they did not want us to go threw because my Mom and other brothers and sisters and I we considered Vietnamese Nationalist). Once threw we boarded a private Government plane that took us to Thialand. All I can say is Thank you to all the SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN. That did what they were ordered too do, even if they did not know what they were doing it for. There are a lot of Vietnamese people that feel the same way. I don't remember it at all, but my Mom tells me stories all the time. My dad(r.i.p.) used to tell us stories all the time and recount our escape. Mom will go out of her way to tell a Vietnam Vet thank you. I remember once she even followed a guy who had a Vietnam Vet tag in his pick up truck window. Just to tell him thanks, and introduce me and my brothers and sisters to him. She also made sure we thanked him also. At the time I was about 5 and did not understand( thought my mom had gone crazy) but now I do.


Wow what to say to that, other than Thank You!

From a very young age, after reading "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness", I understood it (and still do believe it to mean EXACTLY what it says. ALL Men, meaning, if we as Americans believe that for ourselves, we also HAVE to believe it for all, regardless of where they are in the world. I never had any delusions about going overseas to fight for our freedom, and I do NOT believe as so many do, that we should just stay home and care for ourselves and solve our own problems. I firmly believe even today, that the citizens of all nations have a basic right to self determination and it is, our obligation to help them in that endeavor of achieving and protecting basic human rights. My own liberty, freedom, and life is no more precious than an individual's half way around the globe.

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