Yesterday afternoon and early evening, I participated in the annual Howard County Veterans Resource Fair, a gathering of organizations who provide services of value to veterans attending. I offered my books for sale and gave a presentation on the fall of Saigon.
I was struck by the number of Vietnam veterans I talked to. They told me when and where they had served in-country and listened wide-eyed as I told the gathering of surviving the fall of Saigon.
Among them was a man who served with me in Saigon in the days before the fall of the city to the North Vietnamese in April 1975. He reminded me, in a public exchange following my presentation, that he had refused my order that he depart Vietnam. He didn’t want to leave me alone to face the end. It took a direct order from me, reinforced by language I can’t use in this blog, to get him on a plane out of the country. He awaited me in Honolulu and saw firsthand the desperate shape I was in when I arrived.
He has stayed in touch with me ever since and still calls me “boss.” I couldn’t ask for a more faithful friend.