Special Section: IS THIS WHAT AMERICA HAS LEFT?

Only a few years ago, it pulsed with a kind of frontier vigor.

It was still the site of a sprawling, bustling, seemingly impregnable American military compound, filled with thousands of free-spending U.S. Marines and G.I.s. By the time it fell to the Communist attackers last week, Danang had become demoralized and swollen beyond recognition with refugees. TIME Correspondent William Me Whirter spent several days there until he was ordered to depart on an emergency evacuation flight to Saigon. His report:

At first there seemed to be no sense of impending disaster, no awareness of the mortal enemy gathering strength in the dark...

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