I found more information that is a very large piece of the puzzle in regard to the Saigon Evacuation. I read articles that covered material on a helicopter evacuation called Operation Frequent Wind. This operation was ordered by U.S. ambassador Graham Martin, and was responsible for evacuating over 6,000 Vietnamese and 1,000 Americans to air craft carriers offshore. Using 81 helicopters over the course of 19 hours, this is the largest helicopter evacuation to date. The last helicopter left the embassy at 7:53 AM as the North Vietnamese would soon arrive in Saigon.
There is also a video I found of an interview with a Vietnamese man by the name of Dzung Le, and a navy commander, Nerv Jumper. I have been looking for a video to go along with the articles I found, and I feel this one is very good in the sense that it brings with it an understanding of the emotion in those dark days before the Fall of Saigon. Jumper explained the methods refugees used when departing the helicopter. They landed on a naval base and were led to food, water and shelter by a rope that kept all of them together. This rope in a sense was used to pull them from the terror that was now behind them to the uncertain but hopeful future ahead of them. The other man, Dzung Le, explained that there was much lack of hope before Operation Frequent Wind, because the planes that were coming to rescue them were unable to land due to what he described as “sporadic rockets”. Le and his family were rescued as a result of Operation Frequent Wind.
Le became a pathologist after graduating from medical school and in many ways is believed to have lived the American dream. Initially, he wasn’t so fortunate; his father hunted for a job with little luck despite him being a successful accountant in Saigon. It was all they could do to afford community college for their children. Towards the end of the interview, Le discusses that feels a sense of guilt as he believed most Vietnamese that made it out do. His story was a great testament to the hope and hardships that the South Vietnamese experienced in late April many years ago. I found a very helpful quote that I plan to use in some fashion for my paper. Le stated that “thirty-five years later, I’ve spent more years here (America), but it’s very different for all of us when April comes around”. I understand that this interview concentrated mostly on the time period after the evacuation, but I still feel that I can use it to engage my readers to understand the thoughts that were going through South Vietnamese citizens’ minds at the time. They knew that even if they were free from the North Vietnamese, they would transfer to a life of uncertainty and fear of no jobs or financial security. Many were leaving their homes in panic just to reach conditions like this. Examples like these are what makes me feel like I can use this man’s reflection in a very productive way for my paper.