Last Days in Vietnam

Sundance Film Festival Documentary

I left Vietnam in April of 1971 after serving 13-months with Charlie Troop 1/9th, 1st Air Cavalry Division.

I recall how I felt when South Vietnam fell four years later in April of 1975. Those feelings rekindled as I watched the documentary “Last Days in Vietnam”.

The truth is that our military won the war, but our politicians lost it. The Communists in North Vietnam signed a peace treaty, effectively surrendering. But the U.S. Congress didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

During the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as the panicked South Vietnamese people desperately attempt to escape. On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only–or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens as they can.


The entire U.S. presence was ordered to be out of the country within 24 hours. As word spread, the Embassy was swarmed by locals claiming to have American friends; many were shepherded in, most were kept out by armed guards.


Sailors push a helicopter off a landing platform of the U.S.S. Kirk to clear room for more helicopters dropping off refugees.
Photo Courtesy of Craig Compiano


Filed under Vietnam War

5 responses to “Last Days in Vietnam

  1. Al WAY

    Rob, Al and I watched this on Public TV, it is gut retching.

    Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2015 10:08:41 +0000 To:

  2. I know what you mean! Afterwards, I had to step outside and collect my thoughts…

  3. Paul Bedard

    We didn’t go there to win! We fought a third world country the size of California for ten years and lost! Three million people lost their lives! It was all about the politicians and the military industrial complex making millions of dollars off death and destruction! A total waste of blood and treasure…..SHAME ON US!

  4. Ron McKiddy

    I felt so Sad when it was over. 5 years before my Brother Killed in Cambodia saving one man and dying when he had the pilot’s body under his arms and Bird blew up. My parents crying over his death and the others who said WHY did the men die for nothing. Dad served with first ID Germany WW 2, he arrived after the fighting was over may 1945 but WW 2 was still considered a war until German people voted in a new Gov. So he did see the war, the death camps, then in 1975 he saw the evil North Vietnam was doing to the people of the south.

  5. OMD

    I also left Vietnam in 1971, a month after you. I was a Seabee based in Binh Thuy, but my duties had me moving all over the Delta. I can cleary recall where and what I was doing when I heard on the radio that the airbase at Danang had been overrun by the NVA. I also cleary remember the day that Gerald Ford issued a blanket amnesty to to the draft dodgers who had run to Canada. I still can’t put into words the emotions I felt when I realized that everything we gave and everything that was lost, was for nothing. I love my country, but I detest the actions of the politicians who supposedly represented us then and even more so today.

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