Chaos at the End (2)

Further quotes from my novel, Last of the Annamese, on the North Vietnamese stand-down just before the fall of Saigon:

The eerie calm prevailed. Analyses from stateside agencies surmised that the North Vietnamese were regrouping, but the embassy responded that the North Vietnamese were waiting for President Thieu to step down so that they could begin negotiations with the U.S. and the South Vietnamese. Monday [28 April 1975] afternoon, the embassy announced that President Thieu had left office and was fleeing the country. Troiano told Chuck that Thieu was flying with his family to exile in Taiwan.

The sitzkrieg continued into Tuesday [29 April 1975]. Chuck had become inured to the routine of disaster, the endless repetition of gruesome details as the republic disintegrated, but the uncanny quiet unnerved him. He knew now what was going on. Unhampered by threats, external and internal, the North Vietnamese could take the time to do a thorough preparation for the coup de grâce. Almost as an afterthought, a dispatch from the field reported that the North Vietnamese had completed the occupation of Xuan Loc.

End of quote. The novel depicts faithfully what I was going through. I struggled to get the last of my subordinates safely out of the country until, by 26 April, only three of us were left: me and the two communicators who had volunteered to stay with me to the end, Bob Hartley and Gary Hickman. The three of us locked all the doors throughout the office suite and stayed twenty-four hours a day in the comms center. We took turns resting on the one cot we had. And we waited for the end.

More tomorrow.

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