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Dean notified the acting Cambodian chief of state, Prime Minister Long Boret,
and other Cambodian leaders including Sirik Matak, that the Americans would
officially leave the country within the next few hours and inquired if any
desired evacuation. All declined except for Saukham Khoy, successor to Lon
Noi as president of the republic, who left without telling his fellow leaders.*32

The Ambassador then alerted designated Embassy personnel to marshal the preassigned groups. At this time, the command element proceeded to its station the landing zone. Each of the 10 members of the command group drove a vehicle to the landing zone. They parked them so as to block access to the zone from any part of the city, and then disabled them. The disabling process had to be done quickly and pulling the distributor cap was easy but rendering the tires unusable was not an easy task. Some way had (o be found to flatten the tires without drawing attention by shooting them out. Major George L. Catcs found the proverbial needle in a haystack when he located six valve stem extractors, seemingly the entire supply in all of Phnom Penh. Their value so exceeded their worth that Major Cates kept them in a plastic bag suspended from a chain around his neck until the moment of issue, Saturday, 12 April 1975. The vehicle which Major Catcs drove had been designated as exempt from destruction, because of its accessory equipment. It was a pickup truck rigged with a winch and cable. It would serve as a means to remove from the landing zone any helicopter crippled by either enemy fire or a mechanical malfunction.33

The Embassy's Marine security guards, led by Gun-

*The Khmer Rouge executed both Long Borci and Sirik Matak within the next two
wcck.s. On 20 April, the Communists physically removed Sirik Matak from the
French Embassy where he had sought rctuge. purposefully disclaiming it as
French territory. Lon Noi, who with the help o{ Sink Matak (his depury prime
minister). had overthrown Prince Norodom Sihanouk in March 19'"0, already
had departed Cambodia. Under the guise of an invitation from Indonesian President
Suharto to vacation with him on Bali. (he ailing Lon Noi Icit Pochcntong Airport
at five minutes after noon on Tuesday, l April, with his party of 29. thereby
escaping the Khmer Rouge bloodbath which followed the government's capitulation
on 17 April. Without Honor, pp. 198-199 and 265-276

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