Al Gray Biography, Volume 2

I reported in an earlier blog post that I had ordered the newly published Al Gray Marine: The Early years, 1968-1975, Vol. 2 by Scott Laidig. The book has arrived, and I’m delighted to note that the text describes General Gray’s rescue operation that allowed me to escape under fire during the fall of Saigon on 29 April 1975.

The paragraph that mentions my last days in Saigon reads as follows:

“Indeed, NSA’s last representative in Saigon, Tom Glenn, had been quietly recalling his far-flung detachment [from posts throughout South Vietnam] ever since late March. Gray’s appearance put a close to NSA activity in South Vietnam, and [Ralph] Adams [one of my subordinates whose work was described earlier in this blog] was able to fly out on one of the last fixed-wing flights from Saigon. Adams vividly recollected that the Dancers [cover name for the South Vietnamese transcribers of intercepted North Vietnamese voice communications] were still at their posts, working against the NVA [North Vietnamese Army], when he departed later on the 27th [of April]. Tom Glenn and two communications technicians kept the NSA communications center open even after Adams and the other analysts had departed. Glenn, who also had a longstanding professional relationship with Al Gray dating back to the early 1960s, also was not aware that it was Gray who commanded the Marine infantry force, though during his finals days in Saigon, Glenn was seriously ill and not operating at peak efficiency.”

The serious illness was amoebic dysentery, ear damage from the shelling of our compound, and pneumonia due to lack of sleep and food during the last month and especially the final week. Scott’s narrative doesn’t include a description of General Gray’s appearance at the door of my office a week or so before the city fell. I’ll recap that visit in my next blog.

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