Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Pleiku. Central Vietnam. 1967
We operated one of our Decca sites from Pleiku.
Towns such as Pleiku, Banmethuot, and Kontum were very necessary to the South Vietnamese if they wished to have any hope of frustrating a communist buildup in the highlands. If the VC or North Vietnamese were to control this vast area they could menace the coastal towns at will.
The Vietnamese were a people of the coast and delta. They did not have any affinity with the high interior of their country inhabited by what they considered more or less savages, the Montagnard peoples. Dalat was slightly different as it had been developed as a hill station by the French and become a market garden for Saigon.
The Vietnamese in fact tended to rather look down on the Cambodians as well. The Chams had been destroyed in the southward march of the Vietnamese from the Red River Delta.
When President Thieu abandoned the highland in 1975 in a vain hope to bring in American help the country was lost. It had probably been lost with the so called peace accords of 1973 but this was the final straw.