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Students Depart Saigon – February 1965

TIME

Friday, Feb. 19, 1965

Foreign Relations: A Look Down That Long Road

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” … To give the U.S. more flexibility in Viet Nam, Johnson ordered all 1,819 dependents of Government and military personnel out of the country—a move long opposed by Taylor and Westmoreland. “We have no choice now,” explained the President, “but to clear the decks and make absolutely clear our continued determination to back South Viet Nam in its fight to maintain its independence.”

Most of the dependents were reluctant to leave. “I don’t like it. I like to be with my husband,” said Mrs. Maxwell Taylor. But she, as well as Westmoreland’s wife and three children, was ticketed for departure along with the rest. “We don’t want to go,” said Westmoreland’s 16-year-old daughter Katherine as she bade friends farewell at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Airport. When a teen-aged acquaintance taunted Katherine that the move was her father’s fault, she bristled: “It is not. It’s the fault of Lynda Bird’s father, not mine.” …

CLICK HERE to read the complete article.

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Who else remembers leaving Saigon in February 1965?

As Always you’re welcome to leave your Comments below.

Bob

13 comments to Students Depart Saigon – February 1965

  • Randy Seely

    Since I’ve jumped onboard this magnificent site, I’ve enjoy the exchange of comments from all SK’s…because we were all looking into this crystal ball from a different perspective. We were teens…living in our own bubble of fun, parties, the Cerc, movies. But we have yet to hear from the SK’s like Katherine Westmoreland, who, more than likely, walked a finer line than most of us,and who had an entirely different outlook on what was going on, since her dad was who he was. It’d be terrific if someone knew her whereabouts…or, for that matter, the whereabouts of the offspring of any of the other bosses of our fathers who were doing our government’s work. I’m sure their input would be most welcome on our site! Best wishes…Randy

  • Ken

    I was in the U.S. at the time, but my mom and sister were still in Saigon. As I recall, Dad sent them off to England to my grandparents but then didn’t hear from my mom for such a long time that he paniced and took off to England himself. He then resettled them in Bangkok until his contract with USOM expired and then everyone went back to the US.
    Unfortunately, Katherine is also the name of Gen. Westmoreland’s wife so it is a bit difficult to try and find the daughter. Been trying but without success to date. Ken

    • Admin

      Ken – It is interesting that most accounts found on the Internet say “Westy” (Gen. Westmoreland) and his wife “Kitsy” (Katherine) had 2 daughters and a son, identifying the 2 daughters as ‘Katherine’ and ‘Margaret’. But, ACS accounts refer to a daughter “Stevie Westmoreland” – she was an ACS Cheerleader, also. If you do a search for “Stevie Westmoreland” you’ll get results of several sites mentioning her as ‘the daughter of Gen. Westmoreland’ … I believe you’ll find her in Maine – mentioned at a church web site many times. The church has an email address and one of there newsletters mentions Stevie Westmoreland departing on a visit to Viet-nam in May (?year?). Email the good Pastor of the church … 🙂

      Also, if you look up Gen. William Westmoreland on Wikipedia it shows the name of his son. Locate his son who can then point you to Katherine (his sister). Click Here Son’s name is James Ripley Westmoreland. BTW son James goes by the nick name of “Rip” — Click Here Check out Page 625 by Clicking Here for an address and phone number (?current?) of “Rip” … 🙂

      Who might this be? Click Here — could it be that daughter ‘Katherine’ went by the nick name of ‘Stevie’ (her middle name being Stevens) — as a way to distinguish her from her mother Katherine??? You’ll find the answer by Clicking Here and reading the family information on this page — 🙂

      Click Here — it seems according to Lady Byrd’s diary (page 358) that Katherine Westmoreland (16 year old daughter of Gen. Westmoreland) was at the White House on Feb. 5, 1966 and flew with LBJ on Air Force One to Hawaii where she met up with her parents to celebrate Mrs. Westmoreland’s birthday … Lady Byrd’s diary is an interesting read … LOL 🙂

      Search on my friend … very interesting search results come up … LOL 🙂

      Bob

      PS: Final clue – LOL – Katherine Stevens “Stevie” Westmoreland is a family therapist in Kennebunk, ME and a member of The Church On The Cape – 🙂

      PPS: Evening update – just spent another 5 minutes Googling and now have address and phone number for Stevie. Have not phoned to confirm yet, but will do so when I get a chance over the next few days. Unless, someone who knew her at ACS would like to do the honors … LOL 🙂

  • Ken

    Please over look the misspellings.

  • Ken

    And I sent an email to that Katherine Stevens Westmoreland but haven’t looked at my personal emmails yet today. Just might be the right one.

    Oh, struck out on Karen Walthers…Will try again with more searching…Still wish I could find Suzie Hunt or Kaye Malone. Ken

  • Randy Seely

    Amazing work, agents. I always knew that, when the chips were down, we could all rely on the ‘Kids Intelligence Service, Saigon’…more commonly referred to as ‘KISS!’ 🙂 On a more serious note, it’d be great to get some input from Stevie Westmoreland…or any other honchos’ SK’s! (this message will self-destruct in 10 seconds..) 🙂 Best wishes…Randy

  • Alice Ahlgren

    Hi Guys…..I knew Stevie Westmoreland although I doubt anyone knew her very well. Couldn’t have been easy being the general’s daughter at that time. She does live in Maine and I do have a private residence address for her from some years ago. I’ll write her a letter and see what kind of response I get. I am reluctant to interfere with anyone’s desire for privacy, however.

  • Frank

    Did she later travel with the USO? I swear I saw her somewhere. Is that possiable? Frank
    Glad to see Alice…the “look…oh never mined…is back. Hi Alice!

  • George Baggett

    I admire how this group returns to positive topics regarding the war and reports. The posted article, “Foreign Relations: A Look Down That Long Road – Feb 1965 appears on the surface as an objective account of the genesis of American escalation of the war after the assassination of Diem and his brother, and efforts to abandon the war by JFK were dropped.

    In retrospect, the Gulf of Tonkin incident has turned out to be a questionable event. The so-thought terrorist acts at Hue were proven not to be initiated by VC or the North Vietnamese. Other actions also remain in question.

    Though the author may have been working from “solid” information at the time, in retrospect we now know there was a great deal of misinformation provided to enhance the desire for escalating the war, (much like Iraq) and changing the nature of life from what most of the Saigon Kids experienced and recall with fondness.

    I appreciate the detail of the article, but consume it with a grain of salt knowing the after-history where many grew to question the authority of information we were provided.

    Not to take up the side of the opposition, but I recently read books by Truong Nhu Tang – “A Viet Cong Memoir” and the memoir “Buddha’s Child” by Nguyen Cao Ky. Truong and Ky were both disillusioned by their experience and the outcomes of the war. As I read them, my critical mind spun with concern for the truth, and the complicated web surrounding the period. The posted article brought forward in question much of what we were told during this time, and like many of the Kids, I too wish to think of the good things that occurred during my brief visit to Saigon. However, don’t ask me to accept such information without question.

    Ms. Westmoreland was correct about the mis-placed blame on her dad. The responsible parties have never seen much light cast upon them.

  • Admin

    Okay gang … Stevie has made contact – 🙂

    Expect her arrival soon!

    Rock Onnnn … Saigon Kids 🙂

    Bob

  • Robert Luke

    I lived in Saigon summer of 1963 to Feb 1965 and attended the American School. We went through the Coup that overthrew President Diem, the bombing of the American theatre (I think The Longest Day was still playing a the time), and various bomb threats (the American Pool, bicycle bombs etc.) I had a ball living there as I was only 10 and wasn’t really afraid of anything.

    I still have my Gecko 64 year book and my school buddy and I (Clinton Leopard) were in Newsweek in the picture of us leaving the school during the 1965 evacutation. Clinton was carrying a Viet Namese wooden model boat and I am the one behind him. We my mom, brother and I eventually landed at NAS Miramar we were interviewd by the San Diego Tribune…Navy Wife Flees Vietnam…or something like that. It was the day Nat King Cole died as his picture is on the bottom of the page.

    I still have a nice scrapbook with pictures of the Coup, our homes, getting on the school bus with the MP and “white mouse” VN policeman. Grenade wire on the windows.

    Rob Luke

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