“Protecting The Unprotected”: Running A Camp For Vietnamese Refugees On Guam During Operation New Life

Steven H. Myer


COL(R) Steven H. Myer followed in his father’s footsteps and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1972. Arriving at West Point in the turbulent summer of 1968, his class had the expectation of being sent to Vietnam upon graduation, but American involvement in the war was winding down. While he was at the Academy, the Superintendent, Samuel Koster, was relieved and demoted in the aftermath of the My Lai investigation. After graduating, Lieutenant Myer was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 27th Infantry in the 25th Infantry Division. During his time as a “Wolfhound,” the Vietnam War ended suddenly, and refugees fled the former South Vietnam. This was an exodus of enormous proportions, and the Army surged to create a facility on the old airfield at Orote Point, Guam, to process the refugees for movement to camps in America. LT Myer deployed from Hawaii to Orote Point and was assigned to lead the camp security detachment, responsible for ensuring peace and stability for thousands of refugees. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his West Point experiences, and his service in the refugee camp. He discusses various aspects of running a camp, such as security, sanitation, diet, and medical care for thousands of refugees. He describes the waves of arrivals at the camp, first the privileged who flew out of South Vietnam, then South Vietnamese Navy personnel and their families, and finally those who escaped by boat. He also reflects on meeting one of the former refugees, who later became a West Point Cadet, while teaching math at the Military Academy.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics West Point History Refugee Leadership Civilians Diversity Military Techniques Morale
interviewer David Siry
date 28 September 2018


name Steven H. Myer
institution USMA
graduation year 1972
service Infantry
unit 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division
specialty Security Officer for a Vietnamese Refugee Camp, 1975
service dates 1972 1999