April 1975 in Vietnam (26)

One piece of information learned long after the fall of Saigon changed my view of what happened:

Sometime around 2010, George Veith, who was then researching his book on the fall of Vietnam, Black April (Encounter Books, 2012), told me what his perusal of newly translated North Vietnamese documents has brought to light: On the morning of 29 April 1975, as we waited at Tan Son Nhat to be evacuated, the North Vietnamese 28th Regiment was en route to attack us. But as the unit’s tanks passed over the last bridge into to Saigon before dawn, the bridge collapsed. The regiment was forced to take a detour and didn’t arrive at Tan Son Nhat until the morning of 30 April. By then, we were gone.

Had the regiment reached us on schedule, my communicators and I at worst would have been killed, at best taken prisoner. Because we were intelligence personnel—spies—repeated torture and brutal incarceration for at least a year would have been inevitable.

There, but for the grace of a fallen bridge, went I.

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