The Plaque

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned the “Last Man Out Award” plaque. A reader wants to know more. I’ve reported here before on what happened, but here’s the story again:

When the fall of Saigon was imminent in April, 1975, I was the principal source of warning that the North Vietnamese were about to attack the city to complete their conquest of South Vietnam. My guys were working with the South Vietnamese to intercept and exploit the radio communications of the North Vietnamese and instantly transmit the results back to the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. who, at my behest, put out a series of reports warning that the attack was at hand.

I was the head of the clandestine NSA operation in South Vietnam. I had 43 guys working for me. Some of them had their families in Saigon. I was determined to evacuate all of them as soon as possible.

But the U.S. Ambassador, Graham Martin, didn’t believe my warnings. He’d been approached by the Hungarian member of the International Commission for Control and Supervision (ICCS), a group established to monitor the ceasefire that the U.S. and North Vietnam had signed in 1974. This gentleman, a representative from a communist country allied to North Vietnam, assured the ambassador that North Vietnam had no intention of attacking Saigon—it wanted to join with other patriotic forces and rule the country jointly.

More next time.

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