I’m surprised that no matter how often I do my presentations, I invariably choke up when telling the audience about several events. Tears come into my eyes even though I’ve done presentations repeatedly.
One such moment is when I talk about the two guys who volunteered to stay with me to the end during the fall of Saigon. The communicator was Bob Hartley, and the equipment technician was Gary Hickman—I can tell you their names now, they’ve been declassified. When I realized I had to stay in Saigon as it fell, I asked for two volunteers, a communicator and a technician, to remain behind when everyone else was evacuated. Most of the sixteen guys in the comms center felt that they owed it to their wives and children not to risk their lives. Then Bob and Gary stepped forward. As long as I live, I’ll love those guys for their raw courage. They risked their lives because I asked them to.
Another such moment is when I read my last message to the Director of NSA, General Lew Allen, telling him that we were closing down shop. Here’s the text:
- HAVE JUST RECEIVED WORD TO EVACUATE. AM NOW DESTROYING REMAINING CLASSIFIED MATERIAL. WILL CEASE TRANSMISSIONS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS MESSAGE.
- WE’RE TIRED BUT OTHERWISE ALL RIGHT. LOOKS LIKE THE BATTLE FOR SAIGON IS ON FOR REAL.
- FROM GLENN: I COMMEND TO YOU MY PEOPLE WHO DESERVE THE BEST NSA CAN GIVE THEM FOR WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH BUT ESPECIALLY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE ACHIEVED.