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dreamcatcher27371
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Posts: 18
(6/8/01 9:30:11 pm)
| Del All Memories of a Vietnamese Sailor #3
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The last stand was set-up at Long Thanh (about 15
miles south of Cat Lo) where we stationed army
division 18, part of army division 5 and division 25,
several regiments of ranger, all of the airborne
units, all of the soldiers we evacuated and processed
from An Thoi, all of the M113 APC, M41 tanks, and M60
tanks available. We withstood their assaults for, I
believe, 2 days, without leaders (the SOB's already
left for either Thailand or the 7th Fleet), with very
limited air support. After Long Thanh fell, the fate
of South Vietnam was sealed. It was a matter of time.

At An Thoi we were on the highest alert, everyone had
to carry loaded weapon, even while on the base. I
attempted to contact my family in Saigon but I was not
able to. Three weeks before April 30, 1975, PCF 3805
got ambushed and was stripped bare. Two KIA and four
MIA. I also heard of heavy fighting in Ca Mau (Ong
Doc river, Dam Doi, Cai Nuoc etc) by the fifth PCF
division (all Swifts painted camouflage).

As time went by, province after province fell: Quang
Tri, Quang Nam, Hue, Da Nang, Kom Tum, Pleiku, Da Lat,
Nha Trang . One by one. Evacuation began and An Thoi
served as a "processing center" to receive all
evacuees. During this operation I ran into several
friends whom I knew from high school. They were
Marine and Airborne soldiers; I asked them of the
conditions in the fallen provinces and they told me it
was a total anarchy: High-ranking officers split
first via helicopters (fuck-them) so the soldiers were
led by junior officers to escape. In some units there
were no officers and the soldiers went berserk and
some of them turned to civilians to rob their
belonging. The evacuated soldiers took a stand south
of Phan Rang and were able to retake Phan Rang for two
days but without air and artillery support we lost
Phan Rang (where Charlies coerced two South Vietnamese
pilots to bomb presidential palace and Tan Son Nhat
Airport with two A-37 bombers. One of the two SOB
that dropped bomb on their brothers and sisters later
became a colonel in communist Vietnam; I think he
retired. Needless to say I was in a state of shocked,
anger, helpless, and frustration, yet a sense of being
betrayed by "my" leaders and honestly by my American
friends. I now do understand the politic of this war
so I am not bitter anymore. Only sadness.

I asked my marine and airborne friends "how come you
guys ran so fast? Did you fight? Did you resist? A
marine friend of my who served with the 2nd marine
regiment, nicknamed "crazy water buffalo", this is one
of the best marine regiment in South Vietnam; told me
that they did not see any charlies nor did they see
any north Vietnamese Regular but the order from
higher-up was: Abandon your position and evacuate
South. The marines requested to blow up bridges, ammo
depots, fuel depots etc . before the evacuation, but
their requests were denied. My evacuated friends
cried and said: "We got enough soldiers, ammo and fuel
to fight on non-stop for three months and some f___ers
from higher-up ordered us to run and to leave
everything intact, we don't understand! They also
said that during the North's first offensive in 1972,
duped "the red and burning summer of 1972", they were
able to get fire support from the Seventh Fleet and
they were able to stop the offensive and pushed "them"
back. But now (1975) there was none, they only got
sporadic air support from South Vietnam Air Force, and
by the way quite a few of the planes were brought down
because this time "they" really moved a lot of AAA
(triple A) to the South.

We processed all evacuees, soldiers were sent to Vung
Tau (Cat Lo) for further processing and then they were
regrouped to units and get ready to fight on.
Intelligent personnel were sent back to fallen
provinces to gather intelligence. Civilians were
checked and released. During this period I witness,
first hand, at least 25 executions, right on the beach
of An Thoi where our LST and LSM used to land (by An
Thoi's airport). The executed ones were: robbers and
rapists. The crazy thing was one person using a 45
carried out 90% of the execution. That guy lives in
France now and he was an ex-navy seal.

(To be continued.....)
 
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