Even though the last of the United States combat troops were pulled out of Vietnam on March 29, 1973, the official end of America’s commitment to the war in Vietnam came on April 30, 1975. On that day, forty years ago, the last of the civilians, some South Vietnamese military and a small contingent of United States Marines were removed from the American Embassy by a massive helicopter airlift effort.
It was thus that the United States evacuated Southeast Asia following more than two decades of warfare. The American involvement dates back to the 1950s with support given to the French in their resistance to the rising communist power in what was then called French Indochina. In the beginning, the French were supported by American Military Advisors and were provided American military equipment. By 1965, the United States had inherited the war effort and American military boots were on the ground, leading to hundreds of thousands of American soldiers serving in the Vietnamese jungles. In the end, the United States lost more than 58,000 young men (average age about 23 years old). Thousands more were maimed, mangled, wounded and held in Viet Cong prisoner of war camps.