Forty-one years ago, April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to elements of the North Vietnamese Army, and its surrender was announced. The city was quickly renamed Ho Chi Minh City and the Saigon government was completely dissolved at all levels.
United States Marine and Air Force helicopters, flying from offshore aircraft carriers, performed a massive airlift, evacuating more than one thousand American civilians and nearly seven thousand South Vietnamese refugees out of Saigon. As more evacuees landed on the aircraft carriers, more than one hundred American-supplied helicopters were pushed off the decks to make room to accommodate the people.
That same day, two United States Marines were killed in a rocket attack at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut airport, and they were the last Americans to die in the Vietnam War. The honor, valor and sacrifice of our fighting men and women were not recognized upon their return to America. Only recently have those veterans been welcomed home unlike the shameful way they were treated upon their return in the mid-seventies.
The American Veterans Center has a collection of oral histories, one of which is presented by a Colonel of United States Marines, Anthony Wood, who in March 1975, was assigned to lead a Special Forces Group to develop a plan for the evacuation of Saigon. “Without protection, and working with more than 100 American volunteers, Colonel Wood and his team helped evacuate more than five thousand civilians from the collapsing South Vietnamese capital to the safety of Marine helicopters.”
Follow this link to watch the American Veterans Center’s oral history project about Colonel Anthony Wood and the evacuation of Saigon, and please share it with your family and friends.