Thursday, April 30, 2009

Today in History

April 30, 1975 is the generally accepted date of the Fall of Saigon. The end of the Viet Nam war. The date when the American presence in Viet Nam was distilled down to the roof of one apartment building near the American Embassy.

I was a senior in college at the time. In sixteen more days, I would take the oath of an Officer in the United States Army, and commence upon a career that spanned 25 years and caused me much pride and pain and joy and sadness. I still love the Army and the soldiers that serve in it.

Most people don't realize that it wasn't the military that lost Viet Nam. It was the Congress. Totally controlled by the Democrats, they cut off funding to the Vietmamese Government. No, the military didn't lose the war. The last US combat unit had left Viet Nam in 1972. The North Viets had signed peace accords and had agreed to not militarily conquer the South. They lied, as Communists will always lie. The Democrats in Congress allowed it to happen.

Maybe it was supposed to be. I don't know, even at this late date, if that country was worth saving. I entered a military that was at a low ebb. Drugs were rampant. Lots of senior officers and enlisted were retiring. Gerald Ford was president. It ws a hell of a time to be a soldier.


J said...

That was probably the most disgraceful day in American history. Blame Robert McNamara, not congress.

Old NFO said...

Agreed, they were BOTH at fault! I was off Saigon playing traffic cop for the helos and assorted other flying things coming out of Nam. An interesting few days...