Monday, April 13, 2015

Battle of Xuan Loc 40th Anniversary

Airborne soldiers protecting refugees waiting to be evacuated, Xuan Loc, 1975.
      During this month in 1975 the last major battle in the twenty year long struggle of the Republic of Vietnam was taking place. Much about the battle has been written and discussed by veterans, historians, news commentators, students, and authors of all kinds in the subsequent four decades. In this posting, RVNHS would like to ask you to take a moment to reflect upon the battle not as an abstract historical event, but as the fierce physical and psychological ordeal for the servicemen and women as well as the countless civilians of the Republic of Vietnam who were caught up in the intensity of those April weeks forty years ago.
Tank crew heading into Xuan Loc, 1975. Note the flags painted on the helmets
of two of the crewmen - a show of loyalty and determination undertaken unofficially
 by soldiers during the battle.
        The battle has often been discussed in terms of the last stand of the republic. Nearly all those soldiers who went into the forray to defend the republic`s cause would give their lives or lose their freedom this month. Of those who survived the battle many would spend years in "re-education" camps. The overall commander at Xuan Loc, General Le Minh Dao, would remain in capitivity until 1992, seventeen years after the battle ended. The sacrifice of these men and women in the eleventh hour of the republic stands testiment to the loyalty many held for the Republic of Vietnam.
General Le Minh Dao, principal commander of the Republic of Vietnam
forces at Xuan Loc, 1975.
Much of the battle consisted of repeated repelling of assaults by Communist forces.
Here, republic soldiers pose with captured enemy flags, Xuan Loc, 1975.
Soldiers of the 18th Infantry Division, Xuan Loc, 1975.
General Le Minh Dao and Colonel Ngo Van Minh at the forward command
headquarters, Xuan Loc, 1975.
Evacuation of wounded and refugees, Xuan Loc, 1975.
Refugees fleeing the Communist advance flocked around the military of the republic,
clogging roads and generally making military movement of any kind difficult.
Nevertheless, the republic`s military felt a responsibility to the civilians, and thousands were
evacuated aboard military aircraft from the conflict area as shown in this photo,
Xuan Loc, 1975.

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