Xuan Loc (7)

As reported yesterday, the ambassador didn’t believe the signals intelligence evidence that the attack on Saigon was imminent. He didn’t order an evacuation. By the time he was countermanded from Washington in the predawn hours of 29 April, the North Vietnamese were already in the streets of the city. We were unable to extract the 2700 south Vietnamese soldiers that had worked with my organization. All were killed or captured by the North Vietnamese.

I escaped under fire that night. I was later diagnosed with amoebic dysentery, ear damage from the shelling, and pneumonia due to inadequate diet, sleep deprivation, and muscle fatigue. And I was one of the lucky ones.

My own survival and my ability to keep going for days despite lack of sleep and food are testimonies to what the human body can live through when the goal is more important than survival. We are amazing creatures.

It is now clear that the battle of Xuan Loc was a clarion alarm that the end was at hand. It was ignored. Incalculable loss of human life resulted.

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