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Lê Minh Đảo
Born c. 1933 (age 86–87)
Saigon, French Indochina
Occupation Major General, Army of the Republic of Vietnam

Lê Minh Đảo (born c. 1933, Saigon) is a former Vietnamese Major General who led the 18th Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), nicknamed "The Super Men", at Xuân Lộc, the last major battle of the Vietnam War. He currently lives in the United States.

By April 1975, North Vietnamese forces were in full advance and most ARVN resistance had collapsed. Đảo's 18th Division, however, made a significant defence at the Battle of Xuân Lộc, 38 miles from Saigon. The fierce fighting raged for two weeks. The 18th Division, facing People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) forces, managed to hold on for three weeks, but was overwhelmed by 21 April 1975. Saigon fell nine days later.

General Đảo was famous for his emotional battlefield interview that was broadcast around the world during the fighting in which he stated that, "The communists could throw their entire Army at Xuân Lộc, the 18th will stand fast". When pressed during the battle by Peter Arnett of the Associated Press about the hopeless situation, Đảo stated "Please tell the Americans you have seen how the 18th Division can fight and die. Now, please go!"[1] According to Dirck Halstead, by the afternoon of April 21 he knew the battle was lost and fully expected to die before it was over.[1]

Aside from Brigadier General Tran Quang Khoi, who commanded the III Corps Armored Task Force, Đảo was the only ARVN commander who stood and fought to save Saigon, before the city finally fell on 30 April 1975.

Lê Minh Đảo withdrew from Xuân Lộc and wanted to continue fighting further south, but President Dương Văn Minh surrendered. Đảo was sent by the new communist regime to 17 years in a "reeducation camp". After his release, he received political asylum in the United States.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Nghia M. Vo Saigon: A History, 2011 p.180 "Something strange happened when General Lê Minh Đảo took over the division in 1972. Đảo was a fighter: He had earned his ..."

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