Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
In a gripping, moment-by-moment narrative based on a wealth of recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin tell the remarkable drama that unfolded over the final, heroic hours of the Vietnam War. This closing chapter of the war would become the largest-scale evacuation ever carried out, as improvised by a small unit of Marines, a vast fleet of helicopter pilots flying nonstop missions beyond regulation, and a Marine general who vowed to arrest any officer who ordered his choppers grounded while his men were still on the ground.
Drury and Clavin focus on the story of the eleven young Marines who were the last men to leave, rescued from the US Embassy roof just moments before capture, having voted to make an Alamo-like last stand. As politicians in Washington struggled to put the best face on disaster and the American ambassador refused to acknowledge that the end had come, these courageous men held their ground and helped save thousands of lives. Drury and Clavin deliver a taut and stirring account of a turning point in American history that unfolds with the heart stopping urgency of the best thrillers - a riveting true story finally told, in full, by those who lived it.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 16 minutes|
|Author||Bob Drury, Tom Clavin|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 21, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #168,299 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#174 in Vietnam War
#1,204 in Vietnam War History (Books)
#3,687 in United States History (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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On January 27, 1973 the Paris Peace Accords were signed, "THE UNITED STATES AND ALL FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS AGREED TO WITHDRAW THEIR COMBAT TROOPS FROM SOUTH VIETNAM WITHIN SIXTY DAYS"... fast forward to April 1975 and Saigon is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of enemy troops. Some NVA's... some former ARVN,s... some Vietnamese "Cowboys". Every person, from almost every country, not affiliated with these "conquerors" are trying to get out of Saigon fearing for their lives. Left to defend the American Embassy... along with fearing for their own lives... and wanting to get out were a handful of MSG's (Marine Corp Security Guards) that when the final "crap" was hitting the fan... and that included a tidal wave of people trying to knock down the gates surrounding the Embassy... untold assault weapons being fired in the vicinity... had an enlisted man vote that was unanimous about staying and helping more refugees escape... even with the odds very high that this would turn into the Marine's "Alamo"!
**"IF IT COMES TO IT, WE FIGHT AND DIE LIKE MARINES."
The local airport was taken over and partially destroyed so any attempt to get the refugees... the ambassador... the Marines out... could not involve any fixed wing aircraft. The only hope was to get helicopters in to the embassy. The author's expertly... and with great feeling introduce each of these brave Marines and what earlier traits may have forged them into the heroes that occupy this place and time. As was "S.O.P." (Standard Operating Procedure) during this time in our military (And believe me, I can vouch for that!) with all hell breaking loose... the Marines had to battle their own Ambassador to chop down a tree that would make it possible for larger helicopters to land and save lives. All during this time the Marines had to continue the high priority of burning and destroying classified information.
In addition to the Marines in the embassy, the chopper pilots from the ships were heroic and refused to quit as long as there were American Servicemen in that embassy. One pilot flew for eighteen straight hours. Every emotion known to an American fighting man was tapped... trying to save lives without sleep or showers and with their emotions already pulled thinner than razor wire... their internal humanity and sense of right and wrong were lambasted by their allies the South Vietnamese soldiers who had fought side by side with them for years... yelled at one of the MSG's: "AMERICAN COWARD! WHY ARE YOU ABANDONING US? WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR PROMISES?" The MSG "WAS AT WIT'S END-HE AGREED WITH EVERYTHING THEY SAID."
*OPERATION FREQUENT WIND* as it was named was being referred to "AS THE AMERICAN DUNKIRK. U.S MARINE HELICOPTER PILOTS FLEW 682 SORTIES INTO SAIGON DURING OPERATION FREQUENT WIND. A TOTAL OF 395 AMERICANS AND 4,475 VIETNAMESE AND THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS WERE EVACUATED FROM THE DAO, WITH ANOTHER 978 AMERICANS AND 1,220 VIETNAMESE AND OTHERS RESCUED FROM THE U.S. EMBASSY. ALTOGETHER, OVER 7,000 PEOPLE WERE LIFTED OUT OF THE CITY BEFORE IT WAS OCCUPIED BY NORTH VIETNAMESE TROOPS AND THE VIETCONG."
A perfect, emotional, touching, end to this miraculous saga is the postscript that details the thirty-fifth anniversary of this historic event on April 30, 2010.
I enjoyed reading this book a great deal. The only problem I personally had with the book is a result of my lack of military knowledge. The author did provide a glossary of terms for the official rankings and I referred to it often. However, the terms were batted around so often that I found myself becoming confused as to who was in charge of whom. I do hope no one takes offense because I wouldn't want anything to distract from the bravery as described by Mr. Drury. I was so impressed with the soldiers who happen to be the last men out. Many had hoped not to even be in Vietnam and others went out of their way to be there. The author presented a very detailed list of those that remained and the circumstances by which they found themselves there. The author draws on an analogy of Fort Apache, which puts one in the proper frame of mind so that the reader may relive, at a very long distance, what it might have felt like to be there.
I have read several books that describe how we got to Vietnam, but this was the first book about how we left I have read. The reader can't help but feel ashamed of what we did to the South Vietnamese people. I could vividly picture all those poor disparate souls trying to leave and risking their life just to try and get on any kind of transportation to get out of there. Those people had trusted us for years and our country let them down. The author presented a bitter sweet perspective of first, our soldiers getting out alive, but yet secondly, the remorse our soldiers must have felt upon leaving the people who trusted them.
I found this book to be a very interesting read.
Top reviews from other countries
I did find the constant criticism of the CIA and its proprietary airline Air America a little trying. It is generally accepted today that the pilots of Air America performed with great courage during OPERATION FREQUENT WIND; often carrying out extractions under very hazardous conditions. The `Customer' as the Agency was sometimes known was faced with a huge challenge to evacuate the countless number of individuals with whom they had worked during the war.
I have many books covering the fall of Saigon yet this book did to my sum of knowledge of this historic event.