Vietnam War

Oral History Interview: Bon Bui


Bon Bui in Quang-Ti, Vietnam, in 1971

Courtesy Bon Bui

Bon Bui was born in Quảng Bình, Vietnam. His family fled North Vietnam after the Communists took power. 

When he became old enough, he joined the South Vietnamese military to defend his country. He was trained in the United States by the Marine Corps and later became a commander.  He was injured during the Tet Offensive and fought until the end when Saigon fell in 1975, a battle in which his unit lost 200 men.  

After the war, Bui became a prisoner of war and remained a prisoner for 10 years. With very little food and no medication, he says his faith in God kept him going.  After being released from prison, he tried to escape Vietnam by boat, but he recaptured and sent back to prison.  

He was eventually granted refugee status in the United States and relocated with his family to Urbana, Illinois.  Bui provides insight into living under Communists in Vietnam and says he wants to make sure future generations know Communism is a terrible thing.