The following is an email I received from John Valdez that I found quite interesting and I am sure that you will also.

Gus Tomuschat, MSgt USMC(Ret), Webmaster

John’s email:

What follows are brief accounts of the images posted:

In September 1995, seven former Marine Security Guards who experienced the Fall of Saigon, including Major James Kean, Regional Marine Officer, and myself, Master Sergeant John Valdez, Detachment Commander, returned to Ho Chi Minh City at the invitation of CNN.  They observed the same images captured in photographs by Alex. Petro-Vietnam was still in the process of evacuating the building.  The Embassy roof still showed signs of debris left on the roof as a result of the evacuation.

In 1994 Alex returned to Ho Chi Minh City and the same Vietnamese guard was still there.  This time The Guard invited Alex, and two other friends with him, to return at 5 p.m. for a brief view of The Embassy grounds from the roof, but not to be escorted inside the building.  These photos are the result of that visit.  The Guard stated to Alex that everyone in the building was moving out to prepare for the handover back to the Americans.  Incidentally, Alex states that December is a good month to visit South Vietnam.

In 1992, Alex visited the embassy which housed Petro-Vietnam oil refinery.  He states that Petro-Vietnam had offices in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom (UK) embassies.  As those who served there during the final months may recall, The UK embassy was located across the street (Dai Lo Thong Nhut), and to the left of The U.S. Embassy.  In 1992 Alex managed to get through the gate without being observed and gained access to the building before being discovered and escorted off the grounds.  He managed to observe a desk at the bottom of the elevator shaft, and was told it was placed there by the evacuating Americans to stop the South Vietnamese from getting to the roof.  During this unlawful entry, Alex met the Vietnamese guard seen in the photo with him. 

I would like to share some U.S. Embassy, Saigon photos sent to me by Alex Acheimets, a gentleman who visited Ho Chi Minh City in 1992 and 1994 prior to The Embassy being torn down, and who was interested in sharing them with me since he had visited my association's website - www.fallofsaigon.org - and was aware that I had served in Saigon during the evacuation.  The Embassy had not been occupied or used since it was given back to the U.S. in 1994.  Washington, D.C. and Hanoi normalized relations in 1995 and exchange ambassadors the following year.  The Embassy, the site of a historic helicopter evacuation on April 30, 1975, where Americans and thousands of South Vietnamese fled before North Vietnamese took over, was eventually demolished.  In 1997, the U.S. Government (State Department) opened a consulate in Ho Chi Minh City at a location separate from the old embassy.

Semper Fi

John Valdez
MGySgt USMC (Ret)


December 1992 Photo - Rear (or back) of embassy parking lot which led from vehicle gate.

December 1992 Photo - Alex and North Vietnamese Guard.

December 1994 Photo - Embassy roof and a view of St Basilica Church and surroundings

December 1994 Photo - Embassy roof and discarded sandbags.

December 1994 Photo - Structure building housing three incendiary cylinders for destruction of classified material.

December 1994 Photo - View of embassy roof and ladder leading up to helipad where Marines were evacuated from on April 30, 1975.

December 1994 Photo - Embassy rooftop - Alex, guard, and American friends.

Photo I took on April 1975 while awaiting helicopters to airlift us off the embassy roof.

December 1992 Photo - Front of embassy as seen from Dai Lo Thong Nhut street.  Mac Dinh Chi Street would be to the right of "white" gun tower which led to vehicle gate, Post #4.