This post is really a piece of thread drift concerning a post by Noyade on the What Aerodrome thread. He posted the famous "US Embassy Helicopter" picture on 12th March. I was not able to see the picture due to an issue with Imageshack not liking my Vietnamese IP address, but after an exchange of PMs, I confirmed that he had posted this picture, which was taken 37 years ago today, the day before the fall of Saigon:
The location of the picture is often described as the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon whereas it is in fact the lift/elevator shaft on the top of an apartment building, used by the CIA, at what was 22 Gia Long Street and is now 22 Ly Tu Trong Street (most streets in Saigon were renamed by the new management). The helicopter is an Air America Huey. The reason for the common mis-attribution of the location is told by the photographer here:
Thirty Years at 300 Millimeters by Hubert Van Es- The Digital Journalist
There was a roof-top helipad at the US Embassy, but it looked completely different:
The street view above was taken in the aftermath of the Viet Cong sapper attack on the Embassy at the beginning of the Tet Offensive in 1968.
The old embassy building is long gone. It was demolished by the US government as soon as diplomatic relations were established in 1995. Here is what the site looks like today:
The new consulate is on the left of the compound. Some of the circular flower beds shown in the earlier picture can still be seen.
Unlike the embassy, the apartment building is still standing. If you are visiting Saigon, the helipad can best be viewed from the corner of Dong Khoi and Le Thanh Ton streets. Here is a picture I took recently from this location:
Thread-drifting even further, while searching for information relevant to this post, I stumbled on a YouTube video of CBS colour news report, compiled shortly after the start of the Tet offensive. Fascinating viewing. Note the circular flower beds at the beginning: