Vietnam War Produces One More Genuine Hero: John Riordon

Categories: Little Saigon, TV

JohnRiordon60Minutes.jpg
Civilian hero of Vietnam War finally gets recognition
It's remarkable that an uplifting story can still emerge from the Vietnam War that ended nearly four decades ago.

But CBS, 60 Minutes and Leslie Stahl managed the feat this month in a segment titled "Rescue," a never before told account of a Saigon-based, American businessman who repeatedly risked his career and life to sneak 105 terrified Vietnamese out of South Vietnam as communist soldiers finalized their brutal takeover.

John Riordon, the hero of the story and an executive at Citibank, had followed company orders to flee Vietnam in April 1975, but while in Hong Kong he plotted ways to save his Vietnamese employees from approaching enemy thugs. Nothing worked. Not even the U.S. government would agree to help.

After being told by a boss that he'd be fired if he returned to Vietnam, Riordon took what turned out to be the last commercial flight into Saigon during that era. He huddled his associates in his villa for their safety and then produced a miracle.

During a four-day period and without any help, he daringly made 10 trips to Tan Son Nhat airport, where he got groups of his employees and their families on outgoing U.S. cargo planes by falsely claiming each person was his offspring.

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Hero
Stahl asked if any military officials came close to detecting the ruse.

Riordon replied, "This one man [an official at the airport], he said, 'Haven't I seen you here before?' I said, 'No, sir. Absolutely not' . . . And then another time this man said, 'Well, you have one heck of a big family here, huh?'"

Some of those saved, people who eventually made it to the U.S. after stints in Guam or the Philippines, told Stahl they believe Riordan saved their lives.

(Citibank didn't fire him in the aftermath.)

Go HERE to see the broadcast.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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2 comments
18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

So this fantastic war hero story reminds me of the American heros that I collaborated with as an engineer in both Stanton and Anaheim Hill's, CA.

First up Mr. Dominic Steven Mercadante. I'll let his obituary tell his story.

http://m.legacy.com/obituaries/orangecounty/obituary.aspx?n=&pid=150551744&referrer=0&preview=True

I can confirm that everything in that article is true and I can add that this Italian American man was the best engineering boss any person could have had; especially if you were an Hispanic American man trying to practice this profession in the hate crime zone of central Orange County, CA.

My other boss - Jim Ashley Sr. was another incredibly accomplished Rockwell International engineer. He was Director of Engineering for Rockwell International, Satellite Systems Division - Chief Engineer, Global Positioning Satellite - Chief Engineer, Advanced Infrared Telescope Program and Communications Manager Apollo/Saturn Launch Operations.

These are the men that I worked for on surveillace law enforcement engineering projects in Colombia - the men that I respected - and who respected me.

So picture this scene. You step into your engineering company and work with these incredibly decent intelligent white American men and then you step outside your company and proceed to witness an endless collection of cops and deputies led by the three amigo klan of Stan Knee , Randall Gaston and Brad Gates trying to audition for a starring role in a movie than can only be described as a cross between the Godfather and the 70's sitcom Hogan's Heroes.

Complete respect and wonderful collaboration from highly educated white male American WW2 / space program hero types and complete and total disrespect from mostly white male law enforcement and an associated multi-cultural civilian criminal trash backup group collectively acting like the East German Stasi.

So, three cheers for American war heros and associated types - and to cops behaving like criminals while hiding behind badges - your traitorous behavior is not why these men sacrificed so much near the start of their lives. By deliberately harming me you were deliberately harming them. Porque pendejos??????

Katie24121
Katie24121

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