Norman speaks at Optimists

TROY — Miami County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dave Norman spoke at the Oct 26 Troy Noon Optimists Club meeting.

Norman grew up in Fairborn and attended Fairborn Park Hills High School. In February or March 1972 he learned his draft number was 10, which meant he had a very good chance of being drafted right after high school.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps delayed entry program in late March 1972. Lt. Norman graduated from High School in June 1972 and went to Marine Corps Basic Training at San Diego, Calif., in September 1972. He graduated basic training in December 1972 and then went to infantry training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In March 1973, he graduated near the top of his infantry school class and volunteered for assignment to a Marine Corps Infantry unit in South Vietnam. He completed his first tour of duty in March of 1974 and was sent to the Marine Security Guard School in Arlington, Va. He completed training in June 1974 and was assigned to MSG duties at the American Embassy in Saigon, RVN. He was told he might have duty in Paris, or elsewhere, but after training he found himself back in Vietnam as a guard for the embassy in Saigon, and active as the world saw the largest evacuation of all time by helicopter of Vietnam citizens who had become friends of the US, and the last of the military personnel guarding Ambassador Martin.

He spoke of a location on top of the six-story embassy where they could see firefights 360 degrees around them, and knew this war was ending when word came to evacuate the ambassador. After he was taken to safety, 2 CH46 helicopters came to the roof, and evacuated what they could hold. Norman found himself to be one of 11 left behind who couldn’t be taken. He told of his feelings of impending death, to fight to the end and not be taken prisoner, when he saw his rescue approaching in the form of a helicopter the next day. After being rescued from the roof and heading towards the fleet, they were escorted by gunship helicopters and fighter jets; Fellow Marines would leave no one behind and returned for those last 11 After the evacuation he was assigned to the American Consulate in Frankfort, Germany, until September 1976. He left the Marine Corps and returned home to Fairborn in October 1976.

Lt. Dave Norman, now part of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, gave us a gripping account of the last days of the Vietnam War