Woman Who Taunted US GIs in Vietnam Is Dead

Trinh Thi Ngo was 'Hanoi Hannah,' a propaganda broadcaster
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2016 11:44 AM CDT
'Hanoi Hannah' Has Died
Trinh Thi Ngo a.k.a. Hanoi Hannah, age 63.   (Flickr)

Thinh Thi Ngo, the Vietnamese radio host better known to US troops as "Hanoi Hannah," is dead, reports the New York Times. Ngo, who was in her mid-80s, was a propaganda broadcaster for North Vietnam during the war, and her English-language program was designed to convince American soldiers that their presence in Vietnam was wrong. Despite the serious nature of her mission, many who heard her remember her fondly, including Sen. John McCain, who was forced to listen to Ngo's broadcasts daily during his captivity in the "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp. "She’s a marvelous entertainer," McCain recalled in 2000. "I’m surprised she didn’t get to Hollywood."

Ngo's 30-minute broadcasts ran for a decade, from 1965 to the end of the war in 1975. AFP says Ngo's programs were an eclectic mix: In soft-spoken English, Ngo would read out names of American soldiers killed that day, interspersed with lessons on Vietnamese history, and music by American singers like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. She would also throw in lines such as, "GI, your government has abandoned you. They have ordered you to die." In a 1994 interview with the New York Times, Ngo said "My work was to make the GIs understand that it was not right for them to take part in this war." Of her moniker, she said: "The Americans like nicknames." (Each Vietnam vet thought the other had died in the war, but then came this reunion.)

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