“This was the period of my government service that shattered my ideals, my romanticism . . . it shattered my idealistic vision of what my government, my country was all about, and particularly, the CIA was all about.” -John Stockwell
Three weeks before Tay Ninh was captured in 1975, John Stockwell, the CIA chief of a small outpost in the city, ordered a helicopter to seek personal assurances from his superiors in Saigon. He had heard their official line, that there was to be no evacuation and that the end of the war not in sight, but he wanted to hear it from them himself. In his view, the signs were clear from intelligence and the daily shelling of his area that the South Vietnamese army, ARVN, would not hold and that it was only a matter of time before the North Vietnamese army would prevail. He decided before he got to Saigon what he wanted to say. He pictured it as a showdown where he would confront them on their lies.