Tactical Tailor

“Angel of Dien Bien Phu” to speak at AUSA

The Association of the US Army’s Annual Meeting is right around the corner. One of the things we are looking forward to (other than checking out the Colt CM901) is meeting Genevieve de Galard, French nurse who served at the besieged Dien Bien Phu earning her the nickname “l’ange de Dien Bien Phu”. Hers is an incredible story, chronicled in the book “Angel of Dien Bien Phu” and AUSA has just sponsored the first English language version.

In November 1953 the French army and colonial parachute troops dropped into a valley in Vietnam near the village of Dien Bien Phu. The siege of Dien Bien Phu became one of the decisive battles of history. The capture of its garrison confirmed France’s inability to control its colony in Indo China. During that operation, a young French Air Force nurse volunteered to fly on evacuation missions in C-47 aircraft landing on Dien Bien Phu’s only airstrip. After two months of flights, her plane lost an engine on landing and was destroyed by gunfire. A young Genevieve de Galard found herself the sole woman and nurse in a trapped garrison whose ability to survive was measured by enemy advances through the garrison’s trenches and the meager rations and ammunition that survived airdrops. De Galard soon became a French legend: “The Angel of Dien Bien Phu.”

The garrison’s Foreign Legionnaires made her an honorary member, and France awarded her the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre. After the garrison was overrun, she continued to serve the wounded, while in Viet Minh captivity. She was repatriated and, within several months, President Eisenhower awarded her the Medal of Freedom for heroism. New York gave her a ticker tape parade. Her story is one of bravery, dedication, and stands as an inspiration to those who cherish freedom everywhere.

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