Thursday, May 4, 1972

Refugees Moved To Pleiku

by Spec. 4 JIM SMITH
S&S Staff Correspondent

KONTUM, Vietnam
--Thirty per cent of the 30,000 Montagnards in this threatened provincial capital have been evacuated by 7 U.S. Army Chinook and Huey helicopters to Pleiku, 30 miles south, as of Tuesday night, American sources here said.

"We're trying to get all the people who work for Americans in any capacity out first," said a civilian advisor, "because they would be a prize target for any Viet Cong who made it into the city."

Chinooks bearing up to 60 to 70 persons at a time have been making continuous dawn-to-dusk lifts of people and equipment since Saturday, the advisor said. Only women, children and very old men are being evacuated, he said. Civilians have been unable to flee south to Pleiku because Highway 14 is cut by the Communists. As some residents [sic] fleed the city, other sources reported Tuesday that ARVN Ranger and Airborne troops have evacuated Fire Base Lima, about four miles north of Kontum, in the face of heavy enemy pressure.

"There were 'beaucoup' (many) Communists all around that place," said a U.S. officer who helped direct the evacuation. "It was only a matter of time before they were overrun."

"Refugees Moved To Pleiku", by Spec. 4 JIM SMITH S&S Staff Correspondent, KONTUM, Vietnam, published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes on Thursday, May 4, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
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