Phnom Penh, the capital, is a place where the business of survival never sleeps. In many ways, it’s frozen in time, reminiscent of Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War. For a handful of U.S. Army veterans who left a piece of themselves behind during the ferocious jungle war and say they were vilified when they went back to the USA, Phnom Penh has become home. Read more about veterans in Cambodia.
An American airman whose remains were left in limbo in Cambodia for nearly two years due to nonpayment of funeral expenses has finally been laid to rest.
The battle on Koh Tang occurred on May 15, 1975, three days into what would later be called the “Mayaguez Incident,” after communist guerrillas from the Khmer Rouge seized the American merchant vessel, the SS Mayaguez. Marines from 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines were sent from Okinawa, Japan, for a rescue mission. When the smoke cleared, 15 were killed in action, 23 Air Force personnel died in a support force crash in Thailand, three were missing in action and soon added to the KIA list, and about 50 were wounded, according to U.S. reports.
Around 45 years ago, Mao Ran found himself in a boat headed to Koh Tang island. This was the first time the Khmer Rouge soldier had seen the Cambodian coastline or the Gulf of Thailand.
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