April 2024
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I Wasn’t Afraid Of Anything

by Robert Luke (1963-65)

I lived in Saigon summer of 1963 to Feb 1965 and attended the American School. We went through the Coup that overthrew President Diem, the bombing of the American theater (I think The Longest Day was still playing a the time), and various bomb threats (the American Pool, bicycle bombs etc.) I had a ball living there as I was only 10 and wasn’t really afraid of anything.

I still have my Gecko 64 year book and my school buddy and I (Clinton Leopard) were in Newsweek in the picture of us leaving the school during the 1965 evacuation. Clinton was carrying a Viet Namese wooden model boat and I am the one behind him. We my mom, brother and I eventually landed at NAS Miramar we were interviewed by the San Diego Tribune…Navy Wife Flees Vietnam…or something like that. It was the day Nat King Cole died as his picture is on the bottom of the page.

I still have a nice scrapbook with pictures of the Coup, our homes, getting on the school bus with the MP and “white mouse” VN policeman. Grenade wire on the windows.

4 comments to I Wasn’t Afraid Of Anything

  • ron ryan

    I remember all the things you talked about. I was 10 yrs old in 1955. I had Mrs. Armstrong for one of my classes. I was in the theater when it was bombed and went throught the Coup also. Wow! What an exciting time for a kid. I wonder if you were in one of my classes. I will look you up in my year book.

  • Robert Pollock

    IIRC, the movie playing when the theater was bombed was ‘The List of the Adrian Messenger’ starring George C. Scott. This stuck in my memory because there was a bombing (of an airplane) in the movie.

  • Leri Thomas

    Sorry I missed that, but I was there for the first coup. It actually held up our departure. I was struck by Ron’s comment that he wasn’t afraid of anything. Neither was I! They murdered a general across the street from where I lived and they were driving trucks through the city with 50 calliber machine guns on them. You could hear mortar fire as well. I think my parents had a lot to do with my state of mind. Back then American citizenship meant something. I was 5 in ’55 and lived in Saigon from 55-60. My father helped launch the first Gecko.

  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    Dear Leri~
    I worked on the first Gecko with Jeannie and Judy Smith at the helm. It was quite an accomplishment at the time. It took lots of time, effort, creativity and support to have it printed. I am still the proud owner of it and I hope you will thank you dad for helping us in such a great way to save our Saigon memories.
    Happily we were out of Viet Nam before the coup, but were there for a few other “exciting” memories in 1958-60.

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