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South East Asia then and now

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    Just one more war time photo of SGN center to illustrate the "Air America landing".

    In the forground is the Continental Hotel. The photo has been taken from the Caravelle roof top. The place where the Huey landed must have been one of the highest point in town, hence the pilot's choice.


      Here are some photos of the "Hôpital Grall" which is one of the most active hospital in SGN today. The entry is located on Ly Tu Trong street too..

      First, it was a military hospital at the begining of the 20th century.

      The detail of the door is still the same after more than 100 years.

      Then it was used as quarters for a Colonial Infantry Regiment and when the French left Saigon, it became the Headquarters of the Army of The Republic of Vietnam.

      This photo was taken in 1963, a few hours after the coup.
      "Infanterie Coloniale" is still visible under the new name "Thanh Cong Hoa", which can be roughly translated as "Citadel of the Republic" or "Stronghold of the Republic".

      It became the Capital Military District / Le Van Duyet Compound. And finally CAPITAL MILITARY ASSISTANCE COMMAND (CMAC).



        I have been wondering how so many reporters and history books have got the last helicopter leaving Saigon wrong all these years ?

        Anybody care to shed some light on this ?

        I am baffled completely .



          Originally posted by kammo man View Post
          I have been wondering how so many reporters and history books have got the last helicopter leaving Saigon wrong all these years ?

          Anybody care to shed some light on this ?

          I am baffled completely .

          There were different sites in Saigon used during Operation Frequent Wind. Evacuations also took place from the US Embassy, but there were not as many photos of them taken - and perhaps more importantly they did not look very dramatic.
          The location of the now classic Saigon helicopter evacuations was in an area where reporters could get closer and have better shots than they could at the embassy.
          Most contemporary publications...Newsweek, Time, etc, correctly labeled these photos as not showing the US Embassy. It was in later years they began to be misidentified in various books-films as the embassy.
          Again, I would guess this is because these photos were more dramatic and showed the emotions and desparation at hand, which certainly made them more popular and symbolic.

          The first time I visited Saigon in the late 1990s, I had a guidebook that (among others) showed me the location of this site.

          On a side note, the US Embassy's helipad was much larger, and from here is where the CH-46s took off, etc. Below is a photo. I don't think any CH-46s took off from the Pittman Apartments (Famous Photo Location).


            So Darwin, you're saying there were guidebooks or tours, that showed all the locations for the tourists? Man, bless the Vietnamese they will never miss an oppurtunity will they?
            "Militaria shows are a social event for anti-social people"--A.T. 2008

            ASMIC Executive President


              So ,
              Its just like visiting London , get the book .....see the sights .....Oh I must get a guide book and see all this stuff for my self ......its easy peezy ......
              Ah to be fooled comes out in the wash ...thanks Darwin for helping a fellow collector understand the human nature .


                To be fair, i am not sure it is even as simple as that to view all the sights that most of us here are interested in.

                i imagine the major cities and the famous locations in them by nature would be easier to navigate and observe than remote firebases/airstrips etc, although with the pace of reconstruction that is evident even some of the famous locations may disappear in time....and of course, the more niche interests (such as Pauls request earlier for example) would probably not feature on any tourist specific tour around a city.

                I imagine the effort to travel to the more rural locations is quite a considerable challenge and should not be underestimated.


                  It is possible that such and such places appear in different guidebooks. I doubt they are Vietnamese and it is not what is written in Darwin's message.

                  About the very place of the Huey landing, other people have found it before I posted it here and I don't see what the problem could be (see the original post, I mention a great link about it). This thread is not a first arrived first served competition type. On top of that, if it had been so easy, we would have seen this type of after the battle thread everywhere before, which is not the case.
                  Last edited by nguoi tien su; 07-17-2010, 06:34 AM.


                    VNMC in the very early stage of the war, with typical french cut uniforms.

                    The building on the background is an ex-french cavalry quarters, now part of a university.
                    Last edited by nguoi tien su; 07-17-2010, 08:21 AM.



                      The gates of the zoo. Also in guidebooks !


                        Patrick ,
                        I am sure a distant fire base would be a completely different experience to stumble across ,as a kid my self and a friend came across an old British army VERY small camp deep in the woods ,much to our delight we found some cammo cream ,old rations ,papers and commo wire nothing big and bright but enough to please a 12 year old !!!
                        I am sure there is things to be found out there?
                        Did I once see a show about a Vets return to Vietnam and he went to his old base ..turning up old boots and knicknacks in the bright red soil , I wish I remembered the show but it was humbling to see him remember daily actions and firefights however with the recycling business and climate I suspect items would just fall apart !!!


                          Hi owen

                          in vietnam you have guys digging for scrap metal, with self made metal detectors, mostly up in I corps, they sell the metal to be recycled, a truck come every month a picks it up, i first saw this when i went to Ashau, next to the road you have very big piles, of bent metal, on the porch of most houses, and some guys who are doing the job, are amputees now, with as a result of of the left ordonance that has not been cleared.

                          The first time i was in Dak To i could pick up jungle boots from the runway, well the rest of it, but you still can see the sand bags in the earth, the last time i went there it changed much and buildings are appearing and a timber factory is next to the runway, if i rember well, VNman is changing fast, to fast in my opinion.

                          some vietnamese do dig arround Khe Sanh, and sometimes you can buy some souvenirs from them.

                          i wounder what you find in Dien Bien Phu.
                          Last edited by hochiminhtrail; 07-17-2010, 01:37 PM.


                            up the road to A Luoi- Ashau Valley, see the helmet.
                            Attached Files


                              Not thats a lot of metal !!!!



                                do you have any images of your travels you can add?

                                For those that have visited and continue to visit, are certain parts of the country more 'intact' historically speaking than others?


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