April 29-30, 2020, 45th Anniversary of Operation Frequent Wind and the Fall of Saigon

45 years since South Vietnam’s last 24 hours.

Operation Frequent Wind, conducted on April 29th and during the early morning hours of April 30th, evacuated the remaining Americans and a portion of the Vietnamese who had worked with the Americans.

At 11:30 am, April 30, 1975 (12:30 am EST, April 30 in the United States), a PAVN tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon. The driver leaped out, hauled down the South Vietnamese Flag and raised the Flag of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Vietnam (Viet Cong), bringing the Vietnam War to a close.

Most people on the east coast of the United States, including in Washington, D.C., were fast asleep when the final end came for South Vietnam.

The United States has had its foreign policy successes and failures, but Vietnam still remains the United States’ greatest failure to this day. The United States was drawn in on the basis of a lie and 58,000 military deaths later, had nothing but complete failure to show for it.

And the side we were backing was really no better than the side we were fighting.

  1. One side was Communist/Nationalist that resorted to vile measures to advance its position.

  2. The other side was cabal of former French/Catholic collaborators (now United States collaborators) who were corrupt to the core and resorted to equally vile measures to advance its position.

Today, the Vietnamese expatriate community continues to fly the flag of a dead regime that was ever bit as vile as its opponent. People speak of the horrors done by the North Vietnamese to South Vietnamese and American prisoners, when South Vietnamese did the exact same things to captured North Vietnamese and even worse things to captured Viet Cong.

It is simply a war where I could not support either side.

Instead, I would have kept the United States out of a civil war it had no business interfering in.

But the victorious regime turned the corner in 1986, abandoned orthodox communism and started the path it remains on today. The United States finally reconciled with Vietnam in 1995 and today Vietnam is an emerging First World nation.

The Vietnam war was a complete waste of American lives. Not just the dead but those that were injured physically and mentally.

I have nothing but respect for those that served there but their sacrifices should never have been required.

Frequent Wind.


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Interestingly the original code name was “Talon Vise.”

12:30 am EDT on the East Coast. 11:30 am, April 30 in Ho Chi Minh City right now.

45 full years since the Fall of Saigon.

I wonder when we get to the 50th Anniversary 5 years from now if California cities will still be banning the North’s flag. :smile:

Going into Vietnam was a mistake from the start.

They (the NVA and the VC) had something to fight for and were highly motivated. We went in to clean up the French’s mess and some vague cause of “containing” communism.

The only thing we got out of it was a fractured country and 60,000 brave American lives lost. It was a mistake from the get go.

And in the end, it ended up with exactly the same result as if we had never intervened at all.

And you have it right.

Both the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were primarily NATIONALIST movements. Communism piggybacked on top of that.

They successfully expel the French and then the Americans come pushing in. The Americans are essentially allied with a bunch of corrupt French apologists and collaborators and a Catholic minority that was oppressing the Buddhist majority.

Somebody should have realized that was never going to work.

The North and the Viet Cong were fighting for the independence of their country and freedom from foreign domination. Ultimately, that drove them to make the kind of sacrifices of men that the United States could not match.

The sudden disintegration of South Vietnam in 1974 and 1975 show just how hollow the South really was.

It was the same thing with Cuba. While there was no direct military intervention from the US, we were still propping up a very corrupt dictatorial regeme. It’s not hard to see why the average Cuban supported Castro and his movement.

If there was ever a case of foreign relation karma, it was Cuba. We basically treated Cuba as our bitch from our conquest in 1898 until the Cuban Revolution. We backed a corrupt dictator.

Our reward, perhaps deservedly, was a Communist State just 90 miles off our coast, for the last 62 years.

The people of Cuba certainly didn’t deserve it. The United States probably deserved the karma.

I doubt you were old enough to support either side during that war. You may not have been born, yet.

Silly and irrelevant. I was born during that war, but immaterial. Having an opinion does not turn on experiencing the event in question.

Plenty of posters have opined on WWI, WWII or Korea, despite not having been born until after the conflict.

I was 6 months old when WWII ended and I can say for a fact that I didn’t support either side, at the time. How could I have?
If you had said “had I been of age, I would not have supported either side of the Vietnam War”, I would still be skeptical.

The Domino Theory was rampant during that era. The government told us that if Vietnam fell to the Communists the entirety of Asia would fall, a country at a time. We were also told that if we didn’t fight them in Vietnam we would be fighting them in California. People believed the government back then. That changed with Watergate.

I think the way you evaluate it with 50 years of hindsight, is a far cry from how you would have evaluated it then.