As the U.S. readies to mark the 50th anniversary of a Vietnam War milestone, UCR’s Biggs reflects on his work in the Southeast Asian country.
The plane’s doors opened, and the oppressive heat hit him “like a ton of bricks,” David Biggs said. It was July 4, 1993, and Biggs had just landed on the runway at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“The airport was a tiny, one-story concrete building that hadn’t been expanded in years,” he added. “You could see all these perfectly circular fish ponds set in the rice fields; the old B-52 bombing strikes had created circular footprints that filled up with water and became fish ponds.”
Then 23 years old, Biggs had left the University of North Carolina only a year earlier with a bachelor’s degree in history and vague plans of attending law school.