I have not felt proud as a veteran since April 30, 1975 — the day Saigon fell. A Republican-appointed ambassador kept a stiff upper lip and the flag flying. It was no surprise Saigon was going to fall.

Since March, the People's Army of Vietnam had been rolling up the country. According to John Riordan — author of "They're All My Family," a book about getting all of his employees out of Vietnam who wished to leave before the fall — it was revealed at a meeting in the US Embassy that 697,000 Vietnamese were supposed to leave with us before the fall of Vietnam.

The ambassador did nothing until it was too late. The main avenue for evacuation was Tan Son Nhut airport, and it was being shelled. As the last helicopter took off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy, bags of classified documents blew about the compound waiting to be shredded or incinerated. Only 7,000 people were flown from the Embassy.

President Theiu had signed the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 after being promised by our Republican president the bombers would return if necessary. In all the conflicts since then, we have deserted people: The uprising in Iraq after the freeing of the Kuwaiti oil wells; The Sunni after they help us win the war in Iraq; The Kurds who we followed in the fighting against ISIS.

The Doha Agreement of February 2020 spells out the withdrawal of fighting forces from Afghanistan. Why didn't the USA begin facilitating transportation to safe areas outside of Afghanistan for Afghans in danger of being killed? The Taliban was occupying 80% of the nation. Didn't anyone notice how quickly villages and tribes switched sides as the US-backed Northern Alliance — the wonderful people who taught "women are for children, boys are for pleasure" — moved across the country? The deep divides between tribes?

I'm proud of the last-minute effort our president made to take our allies out of harm's way. Someone has finally done something for the people who made the mistake of following the flag of the USA.

SFC Michael C. Wallace 


586th Signal Company, An Khe Vietnam 1969-1971