Looking Back: The Fall of South Vietnam (Part 6 of a Series)


 On April 29 it will be 40 years since South Vietnam fell to the Communist North Vietnamese.

I was there when it happened and it is one of those events that I will never forget. At the time I was the Chicago Tribune’s Far East Correspondent and I had been sent to Vietnam to write about Vietnam two years after the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement that was supposed to have brought peace to this war-ravaged country.

Yates in Vietnam
Ron Yates, Vietnam, 1975


Only it didn’t.

Instead, the last days in places like Nha Trang, Da Nang and Saigon were filled with terror, suffering and death as Communist North Vietnamese troops moved relentlessly south while routing South Vietnam’s demoralized and outgunned army.

During the next two weeks I will post copies of the stories I filed during those final days before Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City and tens of thousands of South Vietnamese soldiers, government officials and those who supported U.S. policies were thrown into “re-education camps” where they perished or served long sentences as forced laborers.

In today’s post my story tells of my flight in a South Vietnamese Army UH-1 “HUEY” helicopter sent to evaluate the flow of refugees south from Nha Trang. The story is in .pdf format.

Helping S. Viet refugees-proceed at your won risk, Apr 4,1975

UH-1 “Huey” Helicopter