The final chaotic days of the Fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War and captivated the world. I was no exception. We had all turned against the war long ago, but still it was sobering and surreal to watch America and our friends caught in a maelstrom of disarray and a thousand stories of personal tragedy.
THE ICONIC HELICOPTER ROOFTOP PICKUP
A brief clip that would become the icon of the evacuation — frightened Vietnamese waiting on a staircase leading to a rooftop landing pad. In the mythology that grew up around this, the roof is said to be that of the American Embassy but it’s not. It’s the rooftop of an apartment building that housed a number of American diplomats, including the Deputy Chief of the CIA station.
The first few seconds are eery, as you see a helicopter fly past the famous rooftop that would become the iconic image of America’s chaotic evacuation from Saigon — dozens of people waiting on a stairway leading up to a rooftop landing pad. This is not the U.S. Embassy — it’s an apartment building where U.S. personnel lived.
EYEWITNESS JOURNALIST ACCOUNT OF AMERICAN EVACUATION CONVOYS