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May 01, 2012

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People awaiting evacuation at the U.S. Embassy of Saigon.
People awaiting evacuation at the U.S. Embassy of Saigon.
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Juan Valdez

Last Day In Saigon 1975

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On the last day of the Vietnam War, Sgt. Juan Valdez, a Marine embassy guard, controlled crowds and ushered people fleeing in helicopters. Meanwhile, David Nguyen, a Saigon teenager, knew the embassy would be mobbed, so he and his family ran to the port, where they climbed onto a barge headed for an American ship.

Valdez was featured in Last Men Out, a book about America’s final hours in Vietnam. The organization Fall of Saigon honors the fallen, including Corporal Charles McMahon, Jr. and Lance Corporal Darwin L. Judge, the last two Americans killed in action.

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