April: Memories of the Fall of Saigon (6)

About a year after the fall of Saigon, my guys got together for dinner in Washington, D.C. and invited me to join them. At the dinner, they presented me with a plaque labelled “Last Man Out Award.” On it is written:

“Thomas Glenn III   29 April 1975

“MACV HQS Saigon Republic of South Vietnam

“The fall of Saigon will always remain a monumental tragedy in U.S. history. This is to finally recognize your exceptional leadership while safely evacuating all your employees and closing down shop amid the chaos and danger of those final days.”

The plaque is signed “The women and men and dependents of F46.” F46 was our unclassified designator.

That plaque now hangs in the most honored place in my home.

The story of the fall of Saigon that I have told here over the last six days is recounted in a number of books, but I’ll only mention two. The first is Honorable Exit: How a Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War  (Doubleday, 2019) by Thurston Clarke. It is one of the few books that mentions me because until 2016, my presence in Vietnam was classified, and authors knew nothing of my history there.

The other book worth mentioning is my novel, Last of the Annamese (Naval Institute Press, 2017), set during the fall of Saigon. Although the book is fiction, every event told in it really did happen. I attributed the role played by me and others to fictional characters so that I could tell the world about the first war the U.S. ever lost.

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