|Evacuating Saigon 1975|
The real end didn't come until nearly two years later, when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese and the remaining American service members in country got the hell out. In addition to many prisoners of war and troops still missing in action, there were many U.S. troops still in Vietnam and still in harm's way long after the end of "combat operations."
They included a group of American Marines who bravely stayed behind at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon to the very end.
Do you remember the dramatic footage of these American Marines and South Vietnamese citizens evacuating from the embassy roof on April 30, 1975? As a kid, I watched those riveting news accounts of that evacuation and wondered who was on the very last helicopter to leave the embassy roof. Who were the very last American troops to officially leave Vietnam?
That question lingered in my mind for two decades. And in 1994, as a correspondent for People magazine, I embarked on a journalistic mission to become the first person to identify the men on that very last chopper.