Ambassador Martin's Bodyguards


SSgt Clem Seguara (SNCOIC, Ambassador Martin's Bodyguards)

Ambassador Martin's Bodyguard Story

PPSU Story
PPSU House

"all animals - 10/7 fox-4"


SSgt SeguraSSgt McDonald, SSgt Daisey, SSgt Broussard,  Sgt Gozgit

Ambassador's Personal Protective Security Unit

by SSgt Clem Segura USMC
Background of the Personal Protective Security Unit

Front Row (L-R): Gary Mellinger, J.D. Sneed, Lamar Holmes, John Ghilain, Doug Potratz Randy Smith, Terry Bennington, Duane Gevers, Ken CrouseSecond Row = Ted Murray, Kevin Maloney, Steve MooreLarry Killens, John Kirchner, Bill NewellColin Broussard, Mike Sweeny, John Valdez, Steve Stratton, Dean Kinzie, John Moya and Chris Woods.


From left to right:   Near the Vietnam Wall:   Sgt Bill Spruce, CWO Doug Potratz, ( Captain Quang X. Pham USMC) was evacuated by the Marines during the Fall of Saigon.  He later joined the Marines and became a chopper pilot for the Corps),  Sgt Gevers, Cpl John Ghilain and MSgt Colin Broussard


As delineated in paragraph F.2 of the Memorandum of understanding between the Department of State and the U.S. Marine Corps pertaining to the use of Marine Corps Personnel In the Marine Security Guard Program, specially trained Marine' Security Guards may be assigned to the personal protection of a U.S. Chief of Diplomatic Mission Abroad. Such assignments will be subject to the following conditions:

a. An actual threat to the Ambassador and the host government was either unable or unwilling to provide an acceptable degree of protection. b. Arrangements were made with the host government to insure appropriate immunity or safeguards for the Marines performing these protective duties outside the U.S. diplomatic premises.  c. The duties were performed under the guidance and supervision of a professional Security Officer's). d Such duties were performed only on an interim or temporary basis for the duration of  the immediate emergency or until alternate measures could be arranged. In accordance with the Memorandum dated 27 December 1972, and previously superseded Memorandums the Personal Protective Security Unit, U.S. Embassy, Saigon was created in 1965 for the protection of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and existed until the fall of Saigon, 30 April 1975.

The activation of the Unit was the result of a White House Directive to improve protective security of the U.S. Ambassador in Vietnam. The Unit was activated and operated under the approval of the host government.  The Unit performed under the operational control of the State Department's Regional Security Supervisor who was assisted by a designated State Department Security Officer. The Officer - In - Charge, Marine Security Guard Detachments Vietnam, retained responsibility and
control for Marine Corps related matters. In the beginning, staffing for the Personal Security Unit came from Company "E,"  Marine Security Battalion, Saigon, Vietnam. These Marines were considered to be among the "best of the best." When identified, the Marines were sent to a local selection board. The board was composed of the Regional Security Supervisor, Senior Marine Non - Commissioned
Officers from the Embassy and the Non - Commissioned Officer - In - Charge of Personal Protective Security Unit. Once selected, the new unit members were immersed in an eight (8) week Bodyguard training program supervised by the unit's Non - Commissioned Officer - in - Charge. The Unit had an internal training program that was thorough and in depth. This encompassed supplemental training for new personnel and a substantial  training program for veteran members.

As the war escalated and the "Threat Condition" increased, the U.S. State Department and the Marine Security Guard Command identified a need to become involved in the selection  and training of Marines designated to serve as Diplomatic Bodyguards. After completion of  Marine Security Guard School, the graduates were well versed in the following subjects: Embassy Defensive Tactics...Physical Security Considerations...Destruction of Classified Material...etc.  The Marines were then trained by the Office of Security, Education, and Training Staff located in  Washington, D.C. The course lasted five (5) weeks and comprehensively covered all aspects of  the Personal Protective Security mission. The Marines became knowledgeable in matters of Diplomatic Protocol, Security Equipment, Weapons, and Techniques. Some of the subjects covered were as follows: Counter Terrorism and Protective Techniques... Crowd Control... Technical Security Considerations ... Searches and Equipment ... Locksmith Training ... Weapons Training ... Radios... Vehicles.. .Motorcades ... Vehicle Defensive / Offensive Tactics... Ordnance Disposal ... Embassies and Personnel Functions ... etc. Upon arrival in Saigon, the Marine was provided with approximately eight (8) weeks of follow - on training before becoming a fully qualified member of the unit.

The Personal Protective Security Unit, Saigon, Vietnam was composed of eight (8) Marine Non - Commissioned Officers. The unit provided a security operation modeled on the Secret Service Personal Security template available to the President of the United States. The  actual Operational detail consisted of four (4) basic positions: 1) The advance man, preceding the Motorcade by approximately 15 minutes, and responsible for advising the Motorcade on the selection and security of the route and the security situation at the destination, 2) The driver, responsible for driving, daily maintenance, and security surveillance of the Ambassador's vehicle, 3) The follow vehicle man, responsible for the supervision of the Vietnamese Police in the Motorcade and the man most directly responsible for defensive reaction in the event  of an emergency on the road, and, 4) The escort man, who rides in the right front seat of the Ambassador's car, accompanies him into buildings, ceremonies, etc., maintains liaison with the Ambassador' s staff concerning scheduling etc., controls access to the Ambassador's office while the Ambassador is at the Embassy, and is responsible for the Ambassador's immediate personal safety in whatever situation might develop. In support of these four basic positions, the detail is reinforced with additional advance visits involving additional protection requirements, and other situations requiring special security considerations. Added to the basic operational duties described above, members of the PPSU also had individually assigned support and logistics duties. These duties included maintaining their own quarters and messing facility, the armory, establishing liaison for the acquisition of  ammunition and other supplies, assuring rapid repair and maintenance of the Ambassador's vehicles and for the emergency and reaction equipment (examples include gas masks, oxygen systems, fire extinguishers, first aid supplies, radios, weapons and the bunker at the
Ambassador's residence). After completion of the follow - on training period, each member of the PPSU was fully capable of functioning in all of the four basic jobs, and all of the jobs were, in fact, rotated among the members of the unit, each Marine changing functions each day. The Ambassador's Personal Protective Unit supervised all aspects of security including the monitoring of residence alarm systems, controlled grounds access, monitored residence security patrols, embassy access, motorcades, telephone switchboard and other secure communications network.  The 14 Vietnamese Special Police Officers assigned to the unit were truly professional Police Officers and the best the Government of South Vietnam had to offer. These dedicated and  loyal professionals considered it a true honor to serve and protect the "Dean of the Diplomatic Corps", the American Ambassador to the Republic of South Vietnam. The Saigon Personal Protective Security Unit was acknowledged as the best Unit of it's type among Security Details of visiting U.S. Dignitaries who were frequent visitors to the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Vietnam.


Written by MSgt Colin Broussard USMC, Retired

"
all animals - 10/7 fox-4"

My job was complete after the Marine Corps CH-46 chopper landed on the USS Blueridge. A Marine Corps First Sergeant attempted to grab my grenade off my flak jacket and I pushed him away.  He ordered SSgt Jim Daisy and I throw our weapons overboard.   We went to the side of the carrier and threw my Swedish-K submachine gun, .357 Magnum,  .45 pistol and 4 grenades overboard into the South China Sea.    We
had gone   48 hours without sleep, food and cigarettes.  We found an open spot in the passageway and I fell into a deep sleep.  My Vietnam is over today. April 30, 1975.

CH-46 Marine Chopper flying over the American Embassy Saigon, R. Vietnam


   
          U.S.S. Blueridge LCC-19

On April 29, 1975, Saigon is under attack. I heard 16 North Vietnamese Divisions surrounded Saigon and was attacking Than Son Nut Airport and the DAO Compound.   SSgt Jim Daisy and I (SSgt Colin Broussard) were assigned as Escort and Driver to Ambassador Graham Martin

The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) was ready for the kill.  Tensions were extreme. SSgt Jim Daisy was assigned as  PPSU (Personnel Protective Security Unit)   Driver.  He was assigned as the Ambassador's driver that day.   His responsibilities included driving and coordinating with the rest of the PPSU on everything relating to movement.   I was assigned as Escort.   My duty was to guard the Ambassador.  The other 4 PPSU team members  were out  in town picking up our Vietnam Special Police Officers family for the evacuation.


The Ambassadors Bodyguards home was next to Ambassador Martin's residence


PPSU Communication Plan


This  morning rockets are falling randomly on Saigon much like the German Rockets to England.. The NVA are pounding Thon Son Nut airbase with 122mm rounds.   Earlier that day we lost two of our own Marines (LCpl Darwin Judge and Cpl Charles McMahan)  guarding the DAO Compound near the airport.  I head it was a direct hit from a NVA RPG rocket.   They were brand new in country.  I didn't know them well but I heard they were good Marines.  There must be around 5,000 South Vietnamese people outside the Embassy walls trying to get in.   The Marines stood on the walls throwing Vietnam civilians back on the deck.    It started to look like the Alamo.     


Cpl Charles McMahon and LCpl Darwin Judge


Around 5,000 Vietnamese outside American Embassy Saigon, R. Vietnam

The Marines had machinegun emplacements at each corner of the Embassy roof.    The rest of our 65 Marines were on the walls throwing people off.  The South Vietnamese civilians knew the Americans were leaving and it started a mass panic.  Incredible things happened around the embassy walls that day. A Vietnamese mother threw her baby over our 8 foot wall, perhaps thinking someone would pick the baby up and it would get to America.


United Sates Ambassador to South Vietnam
Ambassador Graham Martin
 

Ambassador Martin was a professional Ambassador, not a political appointee. He was a former Congressman.   He lost a son in Vietnam.   Ambassador Martin didn't want anyone to think we were going to evacuate.   I was picking up Flash Top Secret documents up (Declassed Top Secret Documents from the FORD Library) for the Ambassador.  I figured it was either the President Ford or Secretary of Dr. State Kissinger.   I found out 25 years later that I was right..   In fact they had ordered the evacuation.

  
President Ford  |   Secretary of State Kissinger
Each link represents a letter to the Fall of Saigon Marines Association
 

Two months before the Fall of Saigon, Consultant General Albert Francis from Da Nang (No Picture found) asked Ambassador Martin for bodyguard protection to accompany him to Hue City.  Jim and I were picked to go.   We flew Air America fixed wing from Saigon to Da Nang and chopper to Hue City.   We landed on the opposite side of the Perfume river and the Imperial Palace.   Albert Francis talked to the village chief.    We could hear the NVA Army fighting the South Vietnam Army about 5 miles away.  The battle was extremely loud.    We left Hue in a Air America chopper out of Hue City that afternoon.   Hue was overrun  the next day.   We drop the Albert Francis off in Da Nang and flew back to Saigon.   Da Nang fell about 2 months after Hue City fell.   Saigon was next in line.


Hue City, Imperial Palace

 
Air American fixed wing and chopper
 

The NVA (North Vietnamese Army) was pounding the airport in Saigon and you felt every artillery percussions.  It sounded like the main attack.    We didn't know if the South Vietnamese Army could defend Saigon.


NVA Attacking Ton Shan Nut Airport

We heard that NVA were bombing the airport.  We were on top of the embassy roof when we saw a C-130 South Vietnam aircraft trying to take off the runway and A  wing was shot off and the plane crashed.     .    

 

The Ambassadors Personal Protective Unit

SSgt Dwight McDonald, SSgt Steve Johnson, SSgt Colin Broussard, Sgt Kevin Maloney
Missing SSgt Clem Segura (NCOIC), Sgt Paul Gozgit and SSgt Jim Daisy
Pictures taken at MSG School around 1975, Henderson Hall, Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Martin did not believe the  fixed wing aircraft had stopped flying in and out, so he wanted to inspect the airport.   He told me to get the team ready.   I attempted to explain to him that it was too dangerous  for him to go.  He told me to get the unit ready, and I didn't question him again.   As I was leaving his office, I heard the Duty Chief of Mission protest that he was leaving the Embassy.   I radioed Jim to pass word to the PPSU Unit.    I talked to Major Kean, the Commanding Officer, that the Ambassador wanted to visit the airport to see what type of condition its was in.     Major Kean protested, also.




Major James Kean
Commanding Officer, Fall of Saigon, American Embassy Saigon

SSgt Segura and SSgt McDonald took off in the Advanced Jeep ,trying to find a secure route to the airport.  The Marines in the Advanced Jeep gave us a code  telling us which route to take.    We heard that Viet Cong were out in the streets and something about assassin squads.  We were all  locked and loaded.    SSgt Daisy was the Driver, and Sgt Paul Gozgit was the escort.    Sgt Maloney and I (SSgt Broussard)  were in the follow car with two Special Police Officers.    We knew this might be a bad trip.    The streets were lined with Vietnamese waiting for the NVA Army to roll in.  We didn't know if  there were enemy in the crowd.   I focused my weapon at the street, and locked  my finger on the trigger  waiting for something to happen.  It felt like an attack on the motorcade could happen any second.    We made it the Than Son Nut airbase. You could see black smoke  from several aircraft burning on the tarmac.  The NVA had just bombed the airport and whatever planes were left couldn't take off.     The airport runway was pot holed  by the bombs.

 


SSgt Dwight McDonald at PPSU House, Saigon, R. South Vietnam

Once at the airport entrance the motorcade stopped.   We all got out and stood by the Ambassador's window at the ready.    SSgt Dwight McDonald persuaded the South Vietnamese to allow us in.   We got the motorcade going again.    This had been the first time it had ever been stopped.     The Ambassador saw  that the airbase was in flames from the bombing and artillery strikes.  Deep black and grey smoke and fire was everywhere.   The fixed wing evacuation had stopped.   The Ambassador viewed the smoke and flames and ordered us to bring him back to the Embassy.   Messages went out  requesting a Chopper for the evacuation.   This was the beginning of "Operation Frequent Winds".  White Christmas was played via a radio system to inform Americas that the evacuation was going to happen.

Around 1100 that day the Ambassador asked me to take him to his residence. All of his staff pleaded with him not to go because of sporadic firefights, artillery and rocket explosions that were heard all over the city.   I informed the Ambassador of the current security situation at the Embassy.   There were reports of snipers[,] and sporadic rockets firing blindly in the city. He waved them off, so I got things ready.

The biggest fear was that there were Viet Cong (VC) running  loose in the city.   A couple of days earlier the NVA had stolen a couple of ARVN Intruder aircraft from Da Nang and bombed the Vietnamese Presidential Palace, about two country blocks away. Rockets, gunfire and artillery were heard all over Saigon.


SSgt Jim Daisy

I tried to drive through the main gate but the Vietnamese were trying to overrun it.  Major Kean and [a] several Marines finally got the gate closed.   I backed up the armored plated 454 Chevy, but the Ambassador said he wanted Jim and I to walk him to his house, which was about 2 blocks from the Embassy. Jim Daisy and I looked at each other and thought that was going to be the end. We brought UZIís, grenades, and our TE 357s with us and went through a secret entrance in the French Embassy, which bordered the American Embassy, and walked out to the compound in the streets.  The fear factor pucker was high.   We made it through the first street OK but the next street some "Vietnamese Cowboys" (kids carrying M1 Carbines) on a motorcycle stopped us. We both locked and loaded on them and they took off.    We all made it to the residence. There was a horrific firefight going on in the cemetery across the street.   We went into the house and burned classified information.  Jim used Frag and thermite grenades to destroy sensitive radio items. I called the CO to request permission to secure the two Marine Lance Corporals who were guarding the residence.   Finally after 5 minutes I got the back-up Pontiac running and radioed Jim to get the Ambassador outside.   Lets go!   Jim put the Ambassador in the back seat and laid over him.   The two Marines armed with M16s pointed their weapons outside. I tapped the  the residenceís 8 foot gates with the armored plated vehicle and once up on the road I sped to the French Embassy.  When we finally got back to the American Embassy Ambassador Martin told Jim and I that he owed us a bottle of scotch.  I informed my Commanding Officer that the mission was complete.


Walking to the American Embassy Saigon from the Ambassador's residence
From left to right:  Colin Broussard, Ambassador Martin, Jim Daisey
 

Trees and telephone lines were being cut in the parking lot by Marine and the few remaining civilian staff making ready for the Helicopter Evacuation.  The first Marine Corps CH-53 Chopper landed in the Embassy Compound. Out came about 30 Grunts who helped our exhausted Marine reinforce the walls.  Major Kean and MSgt Valdez helped loaded the Vietnamese, who departed to the 7th Fleet off the coast. 


Then MSgt J. J. Valdez
SNCO, American Embassy, Saigon. R. Vietnam

  Later that night they used CH-47ís off the roof of the embassy. Almost everyone was evacuated by 0400 on April 30th , including Ambassador Martin, and Jim and I.  SSgt Seguara manually moved  the Ambassador up the stairs to the roof, then on to a chopper.    


NVA Tank crashing through the gates of the South Vietnam's Presidential Palace

 The last 11 Marines lifted off about 0500 on April 30, 1975 about the same time the NVA Tanks moved into the city.   We thought the Fall of Saigon could have been similar to the 2nd Alamo.  It could have been. 

    Click her to see the PPSU House

 


Ambassador Martin's Personal Bodyguards 25 years after the Fall
from left to right. Colin Broussard, Jim Daisey, Dwight McDonald
at the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. Behind are the names of our KIA.
Cpl Charles McMahon and LCpl Darwin Judge

cd.jpg (24816 bytes)
Colin Broussard and Dwight McDonald at Marine Corps Ball, Jefferson City, Missouri on November 10, 1994


SSgt Dwight McDonald, SSgt Steve Johnson, SSgt Colin Broussard, Sgt Kevin Maloney
Missing SSgt Clem Segura (NCOIC) and Sgt Paul Gozgit


April 1975 after Evacuation on the USS Blueridge
From Left to Right
Carlos Silva, Sgt Bennington
, SSgt Segura, SSgt Daisey


Picture of SSgt Segura, Eva Kim and SSgt Broussard after evacuation on USS Blueridge
The picture is distorted - No one is that skinny -


Front Row (L-R): Gary Mellinger, J.D. Sneed, Lamar Holmes, John Ghilain, Doug Potratz Randy Smith, Terry Bennington, Duane Gevers, Ken CrouseSecond Row = Ted Murray, Kevin Maloney, Steve MooreLarry Killens, John Kirchner, Bill NewellColin Broussard, Mike Sweeny, John Valdez, Steve Stratton, Dean Kinzie, John Moya and Chris Woods.


Seventeen Saigon Marines and
Mr. & Mrs. Judge and Heidi who is representing the deceased Jim Daisy



Ambassador Martin died in March of 1990

SSgt Jim Daisy died in 1995