These Marines Went to Rescue Hostages—Who Weren’t There
Gerald Ford sent Marines to a remote island to rescue American hostages. They faced a superior enemy—and were operating off bad intel.
Welcome to the second installment of “How the Marines Pulled Off an Impossible Rescue Mission in Cambodia,” a Beast Files series for Beast Inside members only.
The rounds tore into the helicopter like a pitchfork stabbing through metal.
That is how Al Bailey, a 19-year-old Marine Corps private from Maryland, remembers the sounds of the bullets hitting the side of the HH-53 helicopter as it tried to land on the Cambodian island of Koh Tang’s West Beach. His unit of Marines arrived near dawn on May 15, 1975 to rescue 39 merchant sailors being held by the Khmer Rouge.