1975 The Spring Reunification

Printed on rize paper.

Size “Large”: approx. 60 cm x 80 cm

Size “Small”: approx. 38 cm x 58 cm

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At 06:00 on April 29, General Dung was ordered by the Politburo to “strike with the greatest determination straight into the enemy’s final lair.” At the same time, there were still many Air America aircraft at Tan Son Nhat. Shortly after 7:35 the many UH-1 Hueys began their shuttles from the many rooftop pads around town out to the U.S. Navy ships offshore. The fixed-wing aircraft had assigned pilots to each one, but due to the confusion, many pilots could not get to the airport. Captain E. G. Adams was assigned to pilot a Volpar Beech but when he was the last pilot on the Air America ramp (all other personnel had gone over to the MACV HQ), and there was a C-46 aircraft full of refugees parked there, Adams boarded that aircraft (a 52 passenger configured ship with 152 people on board) and departed on it, so it thus became the last fixed-wing aircraft to depart Saigon during the evacuation, dodging the burning aircraft on the Main Ramp and on Runway 36.

After one day of bombardment and general offensive, the North Vietnamese were ready to make their final push into the city. In the early hours of April 30, Dung received orders from the Politburo to attack. He then ordered his field commanders to advance directly to key facilities and strategic points in the city. The first PAVN unit to enter the city was the 324th Division. By daybreak, it was obvious that the ARVN’s position was untenable. At 10:24, Minh announced an unconditional surrender. He ordered all ARVN troops “to cease hostilities in calm and to stay where they are,” while inviting the Provisional Revolutionary Government to engage in “a ceremony of orderly transfer of power so as to avoid any unnecessary bloodshed in the population.”

However, the North Vietnamese were not interested in a peaceful transfer of power. PAVN T-54/55 tanks under the command of Colonel Bùi Tín burst through the gates of the Independence Palace around noon. They found Minh and 30 of his advisors waiting for them on the palace steps. Minh told Tin, “I have been waiting since early this morning to transfer power to you.” However, Tin curtly replied, “There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You cannot give up what you do not have.” Later that afternoon, in his final broadcast, Minh declared the South Vietnamese government “completely dissolved at all levels.” The Vietnam War was over.