The last men in the first group of released American prisoners-of-war returned to the United States on Saturday to the warm welcome laid on by their services, family, friends and the U.
The last men in the first group of released American prisoners-of-war returned to the United States on Saturday to the warm welcome laid on by their services, family, friends and the U.S. government.
But their treatment--a return to comfort and relative luxury and to their homes--is in sharp contrast to the treatment their counterparts in South Vietnam have received.
American PoWs got tailored uniforms, with their rank insignias as soon as they were released. They got 250 dollars each as spending money, comfortable lodgings and, after medical checkups, they were allowed to go home.
South Vietnamese troops released by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong get baggy, over-sized fatigues, and just over a dollar in spending money. They sleep in crowded barracks on steel springs and the prospects are that they'll be kept in close confinement by their own government for three months.
American PoWs got anything they wanted to eat. And their back pay, plus special pay for confinement, is soon to be handed over. Meanwhile, the South Vietnamese PoWs are getting food almost the same as they received in captivity: rice with meat chunks, but with the addition of a few vegetables. The South Vietnamese government has given no indication it will soon release back pay and repatriation money.
The families of the American returnees were there to meet them at the airports and to take them home within a few days. But family visits for the South Vietnamese are disorganised and haphazard. On this film, relatives can be seen shoving slips of paper with relatives' names through fences at Bien Hoa airbase to camp officials. They are then allowed in to search for their husbands and sons.