By James Mesko
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Additional info for Airmobile: The Helicopter War in Vietnam (Vietnam Studies Group Series 6040)
Any vehicle traveling in that direction put itself in grave danger. Clark agreed to go. “We had to help the children,” she later said, giving the explanation that had become a kind of mantra for the Americans and foreigners of other nationalities who, like Clark, ran orphanages in Vietnam. From the outside, Clark’s dedication seems admirable, though somewhat curious. After all, she had a husband and children of her own back in Saigon. For many observers, in fact, Clark’s willingness to put herself in danger makes little sense.
Within a minute or two, it was pouring. Water sprayed from between the wheels of the motorbikes and rushed in torrents along the the life we were given 23 edge of the road. Horns blared. The roar of the rain sounded like one more gigantic engine forcing itself through the city. With one hand, I held onto the edge of my seat. With the other, I tried to keep the hood of my poncho over my bicycle helmet. It was impossible to stay dry in a mess like that. Through it all, Thuy wove the motorbike steadily through the city.
Clark, Thuy, and Sy set off on the drive, anxious to give themselves enough time to make it there and back before sunset. The three remained silent during the entire journey down to the coast. Any sudden noise or movement on the road could signal an attack. When they finally arrived, they rushed to unload their supplies, unwilling to pause long enough to drink the cups of tea offered by the orphanage’s nuns. With barely a word, they arranged ten infants in the back of the FCVN van, and then Clark and her colleagues drove away.