Saturday, January 17, 2009

General Le Minh Dao

The two covers illustrated with this post bookend the military career of Le Minh Dao, the South Vietnamese General who is perhaps best known for leading the ARVN 18th Division during the waning days of the Republic of Vietnam.

The first cover takes us back to February 1956, when Le Minh Dao was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia for military training. It was sent home to his family and the enclosed letter mentions his recent visit to Washington DC during Tet. He writes that he is attending school regularly and expects to be home in June.

After a long and decorated military career, Le Minh Dao was captured after the at the Battle of Xuan Loc by PAVN forces and was sentenced to live the next 17 years in re-education camps where he became weak and nearly blind from malnutrition.

The second cover was sent from Le Minh Dao from a re-education camp in Ha Son Binh province in April 1982. When he was finally released, he received political asylum in the United States where he lives today.

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