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Operation Frequent Wind Remembered

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April 30 will be the 36th anniversary of “Operation Frequent Wind.” This day in history, in 1976, is also known as the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam war. Frequent Wind refers more specifically to the massive effort to evacuate as many souls as possible out of South Vietnam, mostly from the capital of Saigon.

The outskirts of the city were taking enemy fire and virtually all of the South Vietnamese citizens and military personnel who had supported the Americans during the war were in great peril. Most of the evacuees were taken on cargo helicopters to the USS Midway and other ships which were afloat on the South China Sea. American diplomats, staffers, and troops as well as some 6,000 South Vietnamese refugees were evacuated on that day. Many of the young evacuees were children whose frantic parents placed them into the arms of strangers aboard already overloaded cargo helicopters. Children and entire families were separated from each other, and from their native country, on that terrible day, 36 years ago.

For further reading, there are a number of blogs and websites, such as the Asian Pacific American Program, which are devoted to the documentation and memory of the lives touched by Operation Frequent Wind.

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About Marjorie Haun

  • Max Ende

    1t was 1975 not 1976. I was there on the USS Hancock.

  • Michael

    I would like to say that there is an error in the date. The fall of Saigon happened on April 30, 1975, not 1976. I was one of the refugees, but I did not know what ship I was on. I would love to know which ship I was on.

  • Michael Mitchell

    Btw, my adopted last name is Mitchell.

  • Thanks Michael and Max. That was a typo that got past me. I have since written a children’s book called Little Bird Dog and the Big Ship about Bung Ly’s brave flight on April 30, 1975. You can find “Little Bird Dog and the Big Ship” at the AuthorHouse.com book store or at amazon.com. Admiral Scott McGaugh, the marketing director of the USS Midway Museum, helped me research the children’s book. The reaction to it by Vietnam vets has been extremely positive.

  • My second children’s book in the series “The Heroes of the Vietnam War” is called “Saving the Vietnamese Orphans” and it is about Operation Babylift. Lana Noone, as well as those involved in the crash of the first C-5 of OBL helped me research that book which will be available in September.