September 2023
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Submitted by Michael Smith (ACS)

Many of us Saigon Kids knew Domino while living in Saigon. Several of you have asked if anyone knew whatever became of him. According to Bill Smith’s account below, to his brother Michael,it turns out Domino was Viet Cong. I suppose it just goes to show how we never really knew who the local people were that we became friends with while we were in Saigon.


Domino Vietnamese friend of Saigon Kids while in Saigon. Circa 1960. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Although I was a youngster during the Clod, and Scat Cat days, I do remember my oldest Brother Larry, riding their cycles to our compound, (where the commissary/PX was located), going up stair where my mom and dad would then have a party. Those were the days, of course being just a kid, I was always left out of the fun. I would wake up the next morning with a house full of passed out bodies all over the place.

There was a Vietmanese guy named Domino that use to ride along with them, later when my Brother Bill was sent back with the 1st Cav. unit, he went looking for Domino and found out that Domino was in an ARVN Prison, he was found to have been a Major in the NVA (Viet Cong), one would never have known it.

8 comments to WAS DOMINO VIET CONG?

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    I remember Domino well from my time in Saigon. Larry Smith was a friend of mine and rode Domino’s motorcycle at times. We visited Domino at the gym on To Do street several times. I certainly cannot question the remarks above, I suppose, given my experience and training while in the Foreign Service, it could very well be true. In any overseas environment, one really never knows who foreigners are.

    The wife of an ambassador once took me to a shop to buy a gift for my wife and on the ride in her chauffeured car (an African driver), asked me if a certain person in our embassy worked for the CIA. My response was that I didn’t know and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell her. I thought her asking was quite stupid, especially in hearing of the driver. One always has to assume that “friends” and employees are plants by a foreign or host government and quite often, they are.

  • frank

    In 2000, It seems to me that Liz Pope (Phoenix Reunion) told me that Domino had her fly out to L.A. sometime in the 80’s. When she got there he asked her to marry him so that he could get citizenship. She refused and flew back to the East Coast. Again, I may have been in a drunken state at the time, so my memory of what she said may be wrong.

  • Mimi

    I too was told that Domino was living in the US. One thing is sure, if he was viet-cong, he was not working hard for the cause 🙂


  • Larry Duthie

    In 1984 Richard and Sylvia Turner hosted a small reunion in Orange, CA. Domino, who was living in Little Saigon (LA), was invited. He declined to attend, but because Richard had his phone number, I called him. We had a nice chat. I knew him pretty well, and I am certain he was not a Viet Cong. Because he was Chinese, he did feel discrimination, so liked to hang with Americans. Too long a story to tell here, but one night Joe and Paul Christiansen and I got into a situation that Domino understood put us in danger. He warned us, and by the look of terror on his face, I can assure you he was not on their side. He did not spend time in a prison. Instead, he was one of Thieu’s body guards. Richard can add more to this.

  • Like others, I knew Domino. I seriously doubt he was Viet Cong.

  • As Larry mentioned, Domino did not attend the August 1984 Saigon Reunion. However we did get together for lunch in September of that year at a local restaurant. After lunch we walked around downtown Orange and talked about what had happened to us since Saigon. He told me that he was living in Orange County and had come here as a bodyguard for one of the deposed Vietnamese presidents. He also wanted to know about Suzy Tham, a mutual friend from Saigon who had been my girlfriend for awhile.

  • Janet Bogardus

    I can’t say I knew Domino well, but I certainly had lots of interactions with him. I remember that he seemed to have a lot more American friends than Vietnamese. I remember that he was Chinese, and I feel that Larry Duthie’s, Richard Turner’s and Cathie’s accounts of him are more accurate than that he was a Viet Cong. I’m wondering if anyone knows anything more recent about Domino.

  • frank

    I heard he had died in L.A. in the 1990’s, but I do not remember who told me.

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