Vietnam vet discusses his last days in the war


The public is invited at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 26, to the Champaign County Historical Society museum on East Lawn Avenue to a program by David E. Norman: Last Helicopters Out.

A U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant, 1972-2002, Vietnam 1973-1975, Norman was prepared to die as one of the last 11 Marines to be evacuated from the top of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon on the day it fell to the North Vietnamese in April of 1975. The command was “There’s nobody coming for you. Don’t surrender. Get in your fighting position and fight to the last man …” Come to the museum meeting room to hear the rest of the story.

Norman grew up in Fairborn and graduated from Park Hills High School with a draft number of 10. Knowing he was likely going to be drafted as soon as he graduated, he enlisted in the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program in March 1972 and went to Marine Corps Basic Training at San Diego, California, that September before going on to Camp Pendleton, California, for Infantry training in December. He volunteered for assignment in South Vietnam.

After his first tour of duty was completed in March 1974, he was sent to the Marine Security Guard School in Arlington, Virginia, and was then assigned to MSG duties at the American Embassy in Saigon, RVN. He remained there until the call for evacuation in April 1975. His last assignment was to the American Consulate in Frankfort, Germany. September 1976 he left full-time duty in the Marine Corps and returned home to Fairborn. Norman is currently a lieutenant in the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Troy.

This program is to salute all of our young men (and not so young men) who serviced our county in the Vietnam Conflict. Too many lost their lives, too many suffered wounds of many kinds long after the last shot was fired, and too many are still dealing with the trauma of that war and other conflicts in which our country has asked them to defend the cause of freedom.

In conjunction with the military theme of our next two programs, the Champaign County Historical Society will present at the museum a display of military uniforms worn by Champaign Countians. Uniforms of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan will be included. As you attend the programs allow time to view this display announced by Ward Lutz.

By Dick Virts

Museum Curator

Champaign County Historical Society

Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Society

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