Kellogg Auditorium played host yesterday to Yung Krall — a
soft-spoken woman people would never think to be a spy.

Beth Dykstra
Yung Krall, who has served as a spy for the CIA and FBI, tells her experiences yesterday in the Kellogg Auditorium. Other speakers on the Vietnam War will appear March 10 and 17. (MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily)

In an effort to expose the University community to the often
unheard historical issues regarding the Vietnam War, Gary Lillie, a
member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, is sponsoring a series
of presentations featuring people involved in the war. The first
event took place yesterday afternoon, and spotlighted Yung Krall, a
former Vietnamese spy for the CIA and FBI, born and raised in
Vietnam.

The daughter of a communist, Krall provided her listeners with a
first-hand account of growing up in a country divided by war and
political ideology. While her father and eldest brother went to
North Vietnam to support communism, her mother raised five girls
and one boy in the south, under the U.S.-backed South Vietnam
government, Krall said.

She added that her older brother never supported communism and
was forced to fight for the Viet Cong. When the U.S. bombing of
North Vietnam ceased, she said her brother exclaimed, “
‘You coward Americans! Why do you stop bombing before you
finish the job?’ Why would my brother say this? Because he
hated communism, but he was forced to fight for it in
uniform.”

Her family torn apart, Krall added that she watched as the Viet
Cong murdered her friend’s parents and kidnapped her
high-school teacher.

At 21, Krall met and fell in love with U.S. Navy pilot Lt. John
Krall. In April of 1975, when South Vietnam was about to fall to
communist rule, Krall offered her services as a spy to the CIA in
exchange for her family’s safe passage from Vietnam to
America.

“I made a deal with God, I made a deal with people who
thought they were as powerful as God — the CIA,” Krall
said. During her time with the CIA and FBI, Krall testified against
a high-ranking U.S. State Department official, who had offered
information to the Vietnamese intelligence stationed in communist
East Germany, she said.

Krall said her work as a spy hurt her family. She added that
because of her testimony, which landed the official in prison for
15 years, her son went to three different schools in three years,
while she herself received death threats.

Despite these hardships, Krall insisted that her endeavors were
worthwhile. “Spying is not as glamorous as 007, it is a duty.
One must execute it well, so no one gets hurt. Experience hurts
like hell, but I am proud I did it,” she said.

Krall added that she learned from her experiences to not feel
guilty for living in a successful, free country, and that citizens
must support their government and deal with problems in a
democratic manner.

Lillie, himself a Vietnam veteran, said he was disappointed that
more students did not show up, the audience consisted mostly of
veterans. He attributed the low attendance to complications with
advertising the event, but hopes that more will come to the next
two presentations.

Citing a desire for the objective study of history, Lillie said
he wanted to introduce students to a less publicized but equally
important part of the Vietnam War — people with such unique
experiences as Krall’s.

Lillie’s interest in Vietnam began after defeating a bout
of alcoholism.

“It was very hard living in Ann Arbor as a Vietnam
veteran,” he said. “I was one of those that went into
the closet about being a Vietnam vet and I took a fifth of whiskey
with me. When I cleaned up in June, 1999, I decided I would learn
about what I had lived through, and I became a student of the
war.”

LSA freshman Meredith Jones said she heard about the event in
her History of the Vietnam War class, and that she thought it was
valuable to hear a first person account of the Vietnam War.

“You don’t hear many people from that situation who
come up and say you shouldn’t badmouth your
government,” she said.

The next two events take place in the Kellogg Auditorium in the
School of Dentistry Building March 10 and March 17 at 2:00 p.m. The
March 10 program will include a panel discussion of Vietnam
veterans. Michael Benge, an activist on behalf of the Montagnard
people — a native Vietnamese people forced to resettle in
1957 by the South Vietnamese government — will speak on March
17.

— Daily Staff Reporter Andrew McCormack contributed to
this report.

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