Colonel Tom Henry and I, with our Berets and Green jackets
on, represented Special
Forces and Jimmy Tong Nguyen, with his Red Beret on, represented our
Vietnamese Commando comrades in arms. Jimmy was our interpreter and did an
outstanding job. The Commandos had a good turnout and displayed a welcoming
bannerfor everyone to see. We were all interviewed by TV, Radio and Newspaper reporters on the scene.
The real thrill was to see the first Nungs coming through the customs’
The first one through stopped gave me a solemn look, clicked his heel
together and saluted. I returned the salute and we hugged. He then threw up
both hands and shouted (interpreted by Jimmy) Freedom, Freedom, after 8 years
of confinement, we are free. Thank you America for our Freedom. Handshakes,
hugging and well wishing continued for quite awhile, to the joy of the press.
Many pictures were taken and many interviews conducted.
After the airport greeting, we proceeded to a Chinese restaurant in San
Gabriel, where one of our Nungs who had made it to this country 10 years ago,
hosted a reception and dinner for everyone.
At the restaurant, many speeches were made and Tom and I got to talk
each of the Nungs. Tom had a picture of he and the head Nung in Chorlon. In
1963 Tom hired all the Nungs through this Nung. He showed the picture to a
senior Nung of the group and asked if he might know the Nung in the picture.
The man said Oh my God that is my younger brother. This brought a loud
response from the crowd.
The Catholic Immigration and Refugee Department was represented by
Nguyen, who just happened to be a fellow Ranger of our Jimmy, the
interpreter. On behalf of his organization, he presented a welcoming package
to each family and a nice Check, to help the Nungs get started.
He was also able to translate Tom and My recount of how this
took place and how proud we were of all the Special Forces and others who
helped make this event happen. We mentioned the important help of Senators
D’Amato and Helms and Represenative Bonno, Dee Zuber and our Friend who make
the trip to Hong Kong to get the ball rolling.
Words cannot describe the looks on the faces of the Nungs and their
during the ceremony. I was expecting to see some rundown, tired looking,
unkempt, etc folks, but what a surprise to see beaming faces, clean clothes,
etc of the entire group.
So it is time to say; doff your Berets to yourselves brothers, because
your hard work and attention to detail has now paid off. We informed the
Nungs that once they are settled, Special Forces personnel would contact them
and help to get them settled in their new environment.
See you at the convention. I will bring some Videos that I
have of this
Jack Isler sends