As irony would have it, Bob, Gary, and I were in more danger during the fall of Saigon in April 1975 than we realized. In 2010, the author George Veith interviewed me for information to include in his history of the loss of Vietnam, Black April (Encounter Press, 2013). At the time, my work in Vietnam was still classified, so there was little I could tell Veith. But he gave me new information I hadn’t been aware of. He had newly translated North Vietnamese documents. They revealed that before dawn on the morning of 29 April 1975, as Bob, Gary, and I 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 would have been at worst killed, at best taken prisoner. Because we were intelligence personnel—spies—torture and long incarceration would have been inevitable. That was the fate of a CIA employee, James Lewis, captured in mid-April when the coastal city of Phan Rang was overrun.
There, but for the grace of a fallen bridge, went I.
This post ends my series on the April 1975 fall of Saigon. Much of the text was drawn from my article published several years ago in the Atticus Review, http://atticusreview.org/bitter-memories-the-fall-of-saigon/