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December 2017
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Saigon Life 1955 – 1965: A Day In The Life …

by Admin and Richard Turner, Contributing Editor
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

A Day in the Life: Saigon 1955 – 1965

The Saigon Kids American Community School website is assembling an archive of stories by people who lived in Saigon between 1955 and 1965.

This is your story.

We need your help.

The structure for the narrative is *A Day in the Life* of the members of the American international community in Saigon and their French, Vietnamese and Chinese friends and acquaintances.

The project will be completed in stages of 1 to 2 months each, ending in one year.Saigon Life 1955-65

The accompanying outline (with suggested topics) is the framework we will use to organize your accounts of life in Saigon.

Many of you have already sent poignant, humorous or thought-provoking recollections to the website.  We will begin the task of creating *A Day in the Life* by plugging these entries into the outline in the appropriate places. The author of each entry will be identified as will the years that the author lived in Saigon, eg. Jane Doe 1961-1963.

These entries and the material you send us will be arranged chronologically in terms of the time of day that it references and by subject matter.  For example all of your stories about afternoons at the Cirque Sportif would be grouped together.

Your contributions to *A Day in the Life* can be fact or fiction.

They can be brief or lengthy.

They can be something you have written or something written by another person, so long as the original author is credited.

We also want your images of life in Saigon to illustrate this history. Scan your photographs, slides, etc. and send them to the website. Identify, as best you can, the people in the photos and the events that they represent. If you have home movies taken while in Saigon that you’d like to transfer to DVD contact us for assistance instructions.

So, send us your stories and your images.

We were participants in a unique period of history.

No one can tell this story better than we can.

Submission Guidelines:

Submit all stories via the *Contact Form* on the website.

Stories should be submitted as a text document (MS Word, Note Pad, Open Office Writer, etc.).

Please include your name and the time period you were in Saigon. Ladies please include your maiden and married last name.

When submitting longer stories, please submit them as an *Attachment* to your message on the Contact Form by copying the text document with your story to a File Folder on your computer, ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the File Folder containing your story as an *Attachment*.

Photos and images should be cropped, re-sized to 1000 pixels wide, and submitted in JPEG format.

Photos and images should include information identifying the people in them, location, event and approximate date taken (month and year, or at least the year).

Photos and images should be sent as an *Attachment* to your Contact Form message. When submitting multiple text files, photos/images copy them to a File Folder on your computer, then ZIP (compress) the File Folder and send the ZIP File Folder containing the text files and photos/images as an *Attachment*.

All photos/images must be your own. If they are not your own photos/images you’ll need to submit documentation the owner and/or copyright holder of the photos/images has granted you written permission and license to use them.

Phase Two

This phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Saigon Arrival*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • How did you arrive in Saigon – plane or boat?
  • What were your first impressions when Saigon first came into view?
  • What was your and your family’s reaction upon disembarking in Saigon?
  • Who greeted you upon arrival in Saigon?
  • What was your trip to your first living quarters in Saigon like?
  • What sights, sounds, smells, people did you experience while traveling to your temporary quarters?
  • Where did you stay in Saigon until your permanent housing was arranged?
  • What where your first impressions and reaction to your temporary quarters?
  • Who introduced you to the other kids in Saigon?
  • What was your first day in Saigon like?
  • What do you remember most about your first day in Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Phase One

The first phase of *A Day in the Life* project will focus on — *Before Saigon*. This phase will last for about 2 months during which we invite you to submit your stories about why and how you came to Saigon.

  • What Brought you to Saigon?
  • Where were you when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • How did you learn you were going to Saigon?
  • What was your initial reaction when you learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your family members when they learned you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your friends when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was the reaction of your teachers and other community members when you told them you were going to Saigon?
  • What was preparing for your trip to Saigon like?
  • What was your trip to Saigon like?
  • What places did you visit en-route to Saigon?
  • What do you remember most about preparing for and traveling to Saigon?
  • How did you feel about moving to Saigon?
  • What feelings did you experience leaving your friends, class mates, family and community members to go to Saigon?

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.


Use the Comments form below if you have questions or need additional assistance or guidance.

Saigon Life 1955 -1965: A Day In The Life … Saigon Arrival

by Admin and Contributing Editors Richard Turner and Kevin Wells
© SaigonKidsAmericanCommunitySchool.Com

Below are Saigon Kids™ stories about our Saigon Arrival – when and how we arrived in Saigon and our initial impressions and experiences.

Bob LaysonBob Layson (1959-61)
How Did Mrs. Yamaguchi Know?!

After landing the plane taxied to the arrival gate. I watched out the window as they rolled the exit ramp in place. Once it was positioned they announced we could exit the plane and proceed to the terminal. Since we were in First Class they had us exit first. Following my parents I stepped out of the plane onto the ramp…. Continue Reading HERE

Kevin Wells

Kevin Well (1959-62)
USOM Guest House

Everybody new to Saigon had to start somewhere and our start was at the US Overseas Missions (USOM) Guest House. It was our first night and I lugged the luggage up the stairs, flailed my way through the mosquito netting and fell face-down on the bed. By the morning, the air conditioner had lowered the air temperature to a mere … Continue Reading HERE

Submit your *Before Saigon* stories and photographs by using the
*Contact Form*.



by Admin

I’m thankful for the memories we created together and share.

What are you thankful for?

Tell us in the Comments section below.

May you and yours enjoy many, many blessings …

Rock Onn…


“In the end all we are left with is our memories.”


by Admin

I’ve received a couple emails and photos from Saigon Kids™ who live in the areas hit by the hurricanes, rains and flooding over the past few months. It was good to hear they are okay and recovering from the storms.

Which reminded me of this old song from the 1950s

But, I’ve been wondering, as I sure many of you are, how all of our Saigon Kids™ family members are and how they’ve weathered the storms.

Please feel free to let us all know in the Comments Section below. I’m sure everyone would like to hear from you and how you are doing.




Submitted by: Elliot Bishop (Australian Vietnam Vet)

Dear Saigon Kids,

How delighted I was to discover this web site.

I am an Australian Vietnam veteran (Phuoc Tuy Province, 1968-69) with a particular interest in the post-World War II history of French Indochina. Despite my own involvement in the “shooting war”, my main interest is in the war’s antecedents and the events leading up to it.

As a schoolboy I followed events in Vietnam long before most Australians had heard of Vietnam. Events such as the Buddhist uprising and immolations, the Diem coup and succession of military juntas following, the failed Ap Bac battle, the Brinks Hotel and floating restaurant bombings, and the attacks on Pleiku and the Bien Hoa airbase sparked my imagination and ultimately led to my enlistment in the Australian Army.

Unlike you, my witness to these events was distant and abstract. I believed in the American effort and continue to hold deep respect for all US servicemen and their families who served. The war’s failed outcome is no reflection on you and your parents, but lies squarely in the complexities of Vietnam’s history and the folly, duplicity and betrayal of and by America’s political leaders.

I particularly enjoyed reading your ACS yearbooks, seeing your old photos and learning how you adapted to your strange new environment. That you were able to create a productive school community in the midst of chaos is a credit to you, your teachers and administrators. In many ways I’m sure you look back on these as your best and most memorable days. Well done!

Elliot Bishop

Admin Note: Welcome Elliot! Glad you found us and enjoy the site. Please feel free to join in the conversations sharing your memories, experiences and historical knowledge of Saigon and Viet Nam.



by Admin (ACS)

Philip Brady USAID Bien Hoa-1

One of our Saigon Kids who worked for Philip Brady in Vietnam is attempting to locate him. If you have any information about his current location and contact information, please share in the Comments Section below, or via the Contact Form.

Thank you.



Submitted by Suellen (Oliver) Campbell (ACS)

Charles and I are planning a cruise to Asia next year (2018) that includes a one-day stop in Saigon along the way.

The ship will provide transportation to the city from the port with a short tour of the city included.

We have no interest in seeing the tunnels or areas outside the city.

I am wondering if any of the Saigon Kids who have returned in the past few years would recommend investigating the city on our own after the day tour is over?

I would like to find our old house on Phan Dinh Phung, if possible, but we want to be safe if we venture out on our own.

Is transportation still easily available these days?

Did you find the currency easy to calculate?

Are there any obvious pitfalls to avoid?

For all intents and purposes, my Vietnamese is non-existent.

Should we stick with the ship tour, or add our adventure?

Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.


Suellen (Saigon ACS ’58-60)