A Diplomat Recalls The Vietnam War

Armed Forces Day Event Featured Live Broadcast of "Welcome Home Show"

Along with other veterans of the Vietnam War, Theresa Tull watched with mixed emotions the recent television series about that war produced by Ken Burns and Lynne Novick. The young diplomat was among the last to leave the American Embassy in Saigon aboard a helicopter at the end of the war — accompanied by three children, two girls and a boy, age nine to 15.

They were the children of South Vietnamese Lt. General Ngo Quang Truong, the Military I Corps Commander in Da Nang, who asked Tull to take his children to safety until he and his wife could join them in America.

As described in her book, ‘A Long Way From Runnemede,’ Tull didn’t know what her next assignment would be, so she asked her brother, Ted, if he could take care of the children at his home in Washington State until she got settled. And that’s where they stayed until Gen. Truong and his wife made it safely to America. The Tulls and the Truongs have been ‘family’ ever since.

Theresa went on to become ambassador to Guyana, the former French colony on the northern coast of South America, and then to Brunei, a kingdom in the Malaysian Islands north of Australia.

Now in her 80s and still active, Theresa Tull divides her time between her seventh floor apartment in Sea Isle City, N.J., which has a spectacular view of the beach and ocean in that seashore community, and a retirement community in Springfield, Va., which is home to many other retired diplomats, as well as generals and admirals.

Tull is often asked to lecture about her experiences in Vietnam and as a diplomat, and she’s “as sharp as ever,” according to her friend Joe Griffies, a Vietnam veteran and host of the Welcome Home Show, a radio program for and about veterans (where Amb. Tull is shown in the photo above) on WIBG AM and FM.

Looking back at her career as a diplomat, Ambassador Tull reflected on her “incredible 33-year adventure that had, in more than one way, taken me a long, long way from home. I was, and I remain, grateful for the opportunity to have served my country in the Foreign Service.”