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.