Thomas Kinton Martindale (1921-2000) was born in Tennessee. He flew “The Hump” in the Army Air Corps during WWII. The GI Bill helped put him through the University of Michigan and there he took a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting and secured his CPA. After some accounting jobs in the mid-west, he joined the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development (USAID) where he worked until retirement. He was controller in the mission in Saigon and was there as South Vietnam collapsed under the advance of the North. Martindale remained in Saigon until the last day and participated in evacuation efforts.
In following posts, I will transcribe notes about the final days, notes that he wrote for his family, notes that are now archived and of interest to more than his family alone.
writing this on Wednesday, April 30, 1975 while on board the USS Midway east of
Vietnam. I hadn’t been able to write home very often during the preceding two
weeks so I wanted my family to know what I had been doing during those hectic
days. They couldn’t understand why I hadn’t gotten out of there.
also thought there should be some recollection of events for the record. Even a
week later, days had tended to merge with one another. Note that I said
Vietnamese employees were paid on Wednesday, or maybe earlier. I have since
talked to an American who helped stuff the envelopes Wednesday afternoon and
Thursday morning. They were then paid Thursday afternoon.
continued writing this in Bangkok and completed it on May 4th. Many of the
names have probably been misspelled and I can’t vouch for all the dates. I have
just recited events as I saw them and tried to recall my feelings at the time.
Since I have continued to draft or redraft parts of this at night, I have
dreamed about some phase of the evacuation almost every night in my sleep.
THOMAS K. MARTINDALE Manila, Philippines May 9, 1975