The Shelling of Saigon, 1975 (2)

During the last week of April 1975, those of us still in Saigon were being shelled regularly. By the last day, 29 April, the attacks had become well-nigh constant. Toward the end of Last of the Annamese, I describe an attack at four in the morning on that day:

The blast toppled Chuck to the deck. Troiano, on his hands and knees, was yelling, but Chuck couldn’t make out the words. The room shifted again. The coffee maker lifted into the air, bounced, tumbled to the floor. The telephone landed beside it. The room lurched from a third concussion. A hanging light fixture on the ceiling jumped and swung, one of its posts broken. Dust from the ceiling powdered Chuck’s neck. He and Troiano both crawled under desks.

Sparky lunged in from the hall. Another blast knocked his feet out from under him. As he hit the deck, the room jumped again. He snaked under a desk.

All quiet. Chuck could hear the other two breathing.

“Anybody hurt?” Troiano said.

“Not that I can tell, sir,” Sparky said.

“Rockets,” Chuck said. “Hit inside the compound, maybe even the building.”

The slamming erupted again. Chuck’s typewriter rose and smashed back onto the desktop. Loose paper floated like snow.

End of quote. That attack killed two Marine guards at our gate. Before dawn, artillery replaced the rockets aimed at us. The shelling continued all day. I escaped by helicopter under fire that night. By then, the North Vietnamese were in the streets of the city.

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