Friday, May 8, 2015

Hidden stories

Yet again, a good lesson about remaining open to the fact that everyone has dimensions of which you will remain unaware.

Richard Armitage has only ever been on my radar screen in the context of being the individual to have inadvertently divulged the information that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA desk agent, an event that became known as the Plame Affair. While the investigation of that event was a shameful exercise in partisan witch hunting which turned up nothing illegal but which did destroy one man's career without basis, I had no mental mark against Armitage other than as a character in that sad chapter.

But there is always more to a person than what get's highlighted.

I was watching a two hour documentary last night on the Fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975. One of the speakers was Richard Armitage. Independent of his role in the Plame Affair, he played a commendable humanitarian role at the time of the Fall of Saigon. From the Wikipedia account.
Immediately prior to the fall of Saigon, he organized and led the removal of South Vietnamese naval assets and personnel from the country and out of the hands of the approaching North Vietnamese. Armitage told South Vietnamese naval officers to take their ships to a designated place in the ocean where they would be rescued by U.S. forces and their ships destroyed. When Armitage arrived at the designated location he found 30 South Vietnamese Navy ships and dozens of fishing boats and cargo ships with as many as 30,000 Vietnamese refugees.[8][9] With transportation options limited for removing the floating city, Armitage, aboard the destroyer escort USS Kirk, personally decided that humanity required him to lead the flotilla of ships over 1000 miles to shelter in Subic Bay, Philippines, in 1975. This went against the wishes of both the Philippine and American governments. Nevertheless, Armitage personally arranged for food and water to be delivered by the U.S. Defense Department before negotiating with both governments for permission to dock in Subic Bay.
An officer bucking direct orders goes against every grain of training, even if in pursuit of humanitarian welfare. I doubt he got a medal but he should have.

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