Page 049

[Image 1: Map of Phnom Penh Evacuation Sites, 1973 - 1974]

Page 49(The Bitter End)







Penh fluctuated almost daily from "never go" to "maybe tomorrow."30


After the August 1975 conference, the major question that remained was when to go, because the planners had decided method and means; evacuation would be by air, cither fixed-wing or helicopter. These were further divided into five options by helicopter and two by fixed-wing. The helicopter choices involved primarily Marine aircraft from the MAU while the fixed-wing course projected use of cither commercial or Air Force aircraft.


On 10 August 1973, the 31st MAU/Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) reached its designated holding area in the Gulf of Thailand with an assigned 12-hour response time. (Assuming a 20-knot speed, the ARG could remain somewhere within a 240 mile arc of the launch point.) Three days later, USSAG issued Operation Plan 1-73 for Operation Eagle Pull. It reflected the decisions arrived at by the joint planning conference. The next day, the 31st MAU issued Operation Order 2-73 detailing its role in support of USSAG. On 16 August, General Vogt additionally tasked the 31st MAU with preparations for possible evacuation of the three MEDTC personnel from the Rcam/Kom-pong Som area. To accomplish this mission, the MAU issued Operation Order 3-73. All of the elements of the real-life drama were now in place, and it was time to wait.31


Within three weeks, a crisis of a different sort confronted the Eagle Pull planners. On 8 September,








Page 49(The Bitter End)