Looking Back From Ninety


A less-than-honorable exit

In Honorable Exit: How a Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War, Thurston Clarke tells an engaging but incomplete version of the shambles that concluded America's involvement in South Vietnam. Though certainly more honorable than our recent abandonment of Afghanistan, the Vietnam exit was marred by poor planning that Mr Clarke blames primarily on Ambassador Graham Martin, with lesser failures by President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. I don't know about Mr Martin, but Mr Ford certainly did his best to avert the collapse of the ARVN when the North Vietnames tanks came over the border. It was the US Congress that refused to appropriate money or let American pilots take part as we had promised Saigon we would do when US troops were pulled out two years earlier. In the end, 130,000 Vietnamese and Montagnards were evacuated thanks to the heroic efforts of individual American servicemen  and civilians, but thousands of more were left behind. Ed Sprague, a US advisor in the Highlands, managed to get 2,000 Montagnards to a beach in Nha Trang, where they waited in vain for an American ship to pick them up.

And other good stuff for July

See the Warbird's Book Club for reviews of a mesmerizing novel, The Pages, and a bit about Top Gun: Maverick, soon available for download. On the Annals of the Flying Tigers we learn about "Flying Tiger Ying" and how an AVG nurse is featured in a museum display at Penn State. And can you believe that meat was still rationed in Poland as recently as August 1989? No wonder Ukraine is so anxious to get out from Russian domination, and why Poland today rivals the United States in supplying military equipment to Kyiv!

I am still blogging more or less regularly. You can keep up to date at Daniel Ford's blog. Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!) -- Dan

Humanitarian aid through Razom for Ukraine (a 501c3 charity). Support the military through the National Bank of Ukraine.

And welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more: