April 30, 1975 , In American History It was Huge Rescue operation for American civilians from part South Vietnamese capital Saigon . The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period to the formal reunification of Vietnam into a socialist republic, governed by the Communist Party of Vietnam.
North Vietnamese forces, under the command of the General Văn Tiến Dũng, began their final attack on Saigon, with South Vietnamese forces commanded by General Nguyễn Văn Toàn, on April 29, suffering heavy artillery bombardment. This bombardment at the Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport killed the last two American servicemen to die in Vietnam. The capture of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in ‘Operation Frequent Wind’, the largest helicopter evacuation in history
Many South Vietnamese helicopters landed on the TF76 ships that some 45 UH-1 Hueys and at least one CH-47 Chinook were pushed overboard to make room for more helicopters to land. Other helicopters dropped off their passengers and were then ditched into the sea by their pilots, close to the ships, their pilots bailing out at the last moment to be picked up by rescue boats
original pic here
original pic here
Operation Name :
Originally mission code named “Talon Vise” , the operation was renamed “Frequent Wind” when the original code name was compromised.
How that evacuation was carried ?
The American Embassy had distributed a booklet to its citizens, called “Standard Instruction and Advice to Civilians in an Emergency” (SAFE).This included a map of Saigon showing areas where they would be picked up when the signal was given.
There was an insert page which read: “Note evacuational signal. Do not disclose to other personnel. When the evacuation is ordered, the code will be read out on Armed Forces Radio. The code is: The temperature in Saigon is 105 degrees and rising. This will be followed by the playing of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
It set out with four optional possible evacuation plans
- Option 1: Evacuation by commercial airlift from Tan Son Nhut and other South Vietnamese airports as required
- Option 2: Evacuation by military airlift from Tan Son Nhut and other South Vietnamese airports as required
- Option 3: Evacuation by sea lift from Saigon port
- Option 4: Evacuation by helicopter to US Navy ships in the South China Sea
In this operation they Successfully evacuated 7,000 Americans and South Vietnamese . By Frequent wind plan had an estimate of approximately 8,000 US citizens,
Why they pushed ‘UH-1 Hueys’ Helicopters ?
Major Buang , dropped a note on the deck of the carrier, the note read “Can you move these helicopter to the other side, I can land on your runway, I can fly 1 hour more, we have enough time to move. Please rescue me. Major Buang, Wife and 5 child.” Midway’s CO, Captain L.C. Chambers ordered , in the process an estimated US$10 million worth of UH-1 Huey helicopters were pushed overboard into the South China Sea
During the fixed-wing evacuation 50,493 people (including 2,678 Vietnamese orphans) were evacuated from Tan Son Nhut. Marine pilots accumulated 1,054 flight hours and flew 682 sorties throughout Operation Frequent Wind. The evacuation of personnel from the DAO (Defense Attaché Office) compound had lasted nine hours and involved over 50 Marine Corps and Air Force helicopters. In the helicopter evacuation a total of 395 Americans and 4,475 Vietnamese and third-country nationals were evacuated from the DAO compound. (wikipedia)
‘Day’ remember’d as:
- April 30 is celebrated as a public holiday in Vietnam as Liberation Day or Reunification Day. People get the day off, as well as May 1, and the holiday is filled with many public celebrations.
- Among Vietnamese refugees in the United States and in many other countries, the week of April 30 is referred to as Black April and is used as a time of commemoration of the fall of Saigon
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