Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fall of Saigon

Evacuation of CIA station personnel by Air America on April 29, 1975. Photo: Hubert van Es / UPI

The Fall of Saigon or Liberation of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period leading to the formal reunification of Vietnam into a communist state.
North Vietnamese forces under the command of the Senior General Văn Tiến Dũng began their final attack on Saigon, which was commanded by General Nguyen Van Toan on April 29, with a heavy artillery bombardment. This bombardment at the Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport killed the last two American servicemen that died in Vietnam, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge.  By the afternoon of the next day, North Vietnamese troops had occupied the important points within the city and raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace. South Vietnam capitulated shortly after. The city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, which was the largest helicopter evacuation in history. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the population of the city

“I went up town this morning with the milk.  This afternoon, Lettie and I accepted an invitation up to Mr Beadles to spend the afternoon.  Pleasant but cold day.”
Leesah

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