The Fall of Saigon

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Guest, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 232
    (6/6/01 10:35:34 am)
    | Del All The Fall of Saigon
    Here's one man's point of view as an American. Larry Dunn is a man I have long admired. He wrote this on April 30, 1975, while serving his country.

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan


    I am an American. An angry, ashamed and humiliated American - but still an American. I have shared the freedom, plenty and wealth of all Americans. Now I must share the blame, shame and humiliation that is for all Americans.

    I personally took our involvement in Southeast Asia as a moral obligation - a necessary evil that must be overcome in order to help our fellow human beings achieve the state of freedom that we, as Americans, have enjoyed for so long - a freedom that was paid for by the pain, suffering and blood of our forefathers.

    I did my part, little though it may have been, to help turn the tide of communist aggression that threatened to rob the Southeast Asians of the God-given right to freedom. I attended memorial services for my comrades-in-arms, my friends and companions, knowing that their loss was definitely not in vain and knowing that this was the price of freedom. In each instance, I felt sorrow and pity for the family and loved ones of my comrades, however, I also felt pride and admiration for a fellow American who was prepared to pay the ultimate supreme sacrifice with the knowledge that he was helping a fellow man, less fortunate than himself, achieve freedom from oppression and the right to live and worship as he so desired.

    Now I can see and feel the wastefulness of it all. How hard it is for me to conceive of a nation so great as the United States to let an ally country wither and fall by the wayside. How ill spent were the billions of dollars, the tens of thousands of American lives and the hopes of millions of people. How high we built those hopes through our military and economic aid, our countless dollars and our empty promises. For what? To arrange a peaceless peace? Peace with honor? Total withdrawal? Reconstruction? Evidently not!

    I personally participated in the "Vietnamization Program" and know the folly of it all from an enlisted advisor level. The Vietnamese were not, in my opinion, ready to handle the war alone. History has validated my opinion. Leadership and discipline, supply and logistics - these were the big problems. The United States knew this and I am sure that it was readily evident to the higher echelon advisors that President Thieu and his government was less than effective and ill-prepared to be left alone. Yet we left them alone - even in their death throes.

    I don't argue the "involvement" point. However, I do feel that once we were involved, once we had a commitment to the peoples of Southeast Asia, we should have honored that commitment. That's the American way. That's what we were taught from day one - a man is only as good as his word! The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong flaunted the Paris Peace Agreement in our faces - successfully! Obviously the "Paper Tiger" title, pinned on us by Mao, was somewhat correct. What happened to the America that fought and won the War for Independence and World Wars I and II? What happened to the America that could be called upon to help any downtrodden, oppressed country? The old saying” The Yanks are Coming" will undoubtedly have a new meaning. Credibility? Hardly! Have we become a nation that turns its back on its allies in a time of dire need? How many more babies are we going to leave at the market place?

    I am a little man, an uneducated man - a number in this great society of ours. A society built with the sweat, blood and tears of many good men and women. My opinion means very little, however, I do have an opinion. I have wants, desires and feelings just like any other American regardless of race, creed, color or social standing. I have served my country for sixteen years. Served faithfully, I believe. If my country said go - I went. I have carried out the orders of my superiors to the best of my ability and have attempted to lead those in my charge in the right direction. Much of my service has been in foreign countries. I have never forgotten that I am an American. I have always held my head high with the knowledge that, as an American, I was there to help - in peace or in war. I have always known that, as an American, I was looked upon as someone to go to for the answers, someone to lend a hand in solving the most complex problems. Not because of my higher education - for my high school education was far inferior to the college degrees of some of my counterparts. Not because of my high social standing - for many times I was socially far below my counterparts. Not because of my wealth - for many times I worked with people who were much wealthier than I. It was for one reason and reason only. It was because I am an American.

    Now I find it difficult to look a foreigner in the eye. I feel like a traitor. I believe that for as long as I live this strange, new, awful feeling will be with me. What can I as one man do? The suffering and disbelief etched on the faces of the refugees eats away at my American heart. The emaciated condition of the starving children makes me self-conscious of my own good health. How can I, as uneducated and unimportant as I am, feel so strongly about this situation while one of the leaders of our great country, so educated and important, can make the statement" "For us - we go on living."

    As a military man, my morale is gone. As a citizen, my support is gone. As an American, my pride is gone. The only thing left is hope. The hope that somehow, someway, somewhere we can erase this terrible blotch on our heritage and our national reputation. The hope that somehow I can lose this awful traitorous feeling that I harbor inside. The hope that somehow those fifty thousand plus American men and women will not have died in vain. The hope that, Dear God, may I never again be in any way involved in a situation as deplorable and as dishonorable as the abandonment of South Vietnam and Cambodia.

    MCPO(SS) Larry L. Dunn, USN
    Utapao, Thailand
    April 30, 1975

    Senior Chief Moderator II
    Posts: 673
    (6/6/01 11:02:56 am)
    | Del
    Re: The Fall of Saigon
    The guy says it like it is. The only thing he doesn't clearly point out is the fact that our politicians during that time were serving too many masters. The pawns happened to be the South Vietnamese and those of us who were there trying to bail them out.

    Posts: 810
    (6/6/01 2:55:10 pm)
    | Del Re: The Fall of Saigon
    I cried terribly!
    ...and two hard boiled eggs.

    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 206
    (6/6/01 10:54:38 pm)
    | Del Re: The Fall of Saigon
    Larry Dunn is an incredible writer, Stan! Thanks for sharing his works with us. I doubt that any VN Vet who put in their time there didn't feel the same when Saigon fell. Thanks and kudos to him for articulating those feelings so well.

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