On April 30, 1975, the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon fell to lớn the North Vietnamese Army, effectively ending the Vietnam War. In the days before, U.S. Forces evacuated thousands of Americans và South Vietnamese. American diplomats were on the frontlines, organizing what would be the most ambitious helicopter evacuation in history.

The logistics of issuing visas và evacuating these Vietnamese & American citizens were not glamorous but were essential. American diplomats were behind every detail. Some diplomats showed exceptional bravery saving Vietnamese citizens who would have faced persecution under the new regime.

These artifacts và photos in our collection offer a glimpse of what diplomats and refugees experienced during the Fall of Saigon. More broadly, they show the challenging and dangerous circumstances diplomats may encounter while performing their work.

A member of the CIA helps evacuees up a ladder onto an Air America helicopter on the roof of 22 Gia Long Street, a hotel half a mile from the Embassy, April 29, 1975, shortly before Saigon fell khổng lồ advancing North Vietnamese troops.

Bạn đang xem: Viet cong mua hang cho troi sau 30

Saigon in April 1975

Although the United ongirlgames.coms had withdrawn its military forces from Vietnam after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, approximately 5,000 Americans remained–including diplomats still working in the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. While President Nixon threatened a forceful response to a violation of the treaty, many factors, including lack of domestic tư vấn and the distraction of the Watergate scandal, provided an opportunity for the NVA to lớn launch an offensive.

Throughout March and April 1975, the North Vietnamese Army captured more & more Southern cities. South Vietnamese citizens began to flee in mass numbers. The fall of the second-largest city, domain authority Nang, sparked even more refugees khổng lồ depart.

Americans và their South Vietnamese dependents wait in line outside the U.S. Embassy to lớn apply for visas in Saigon, Vietnam, Saturday, April 5, 1975. AP Photo.

In Saigon, South Vietnamese lined up at the embassy khổng lồ gain entry lớn the United ongirlgames.coms. Patti Morton, a trailblazing Diplomatic Security Special Agent serving as a Regional Security Officer in Saigon—the first woman in such a role—documented the scene on the embassy grounds in the footage below, taken on an unknown day in April.

The Final Days: The Fall of Saigon

In this April 29, 1975 tệp tin photo, South Vietnamese civilians scale the 14-foot wall of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, trying to lớn reach evacuation helicopters as the last Americans depart from Vietnam. AP Photo/File.

On April 29, 1975, North Vietnamese troops shelled Saigon’s rã Son Nhut Air Base. U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin then ordered the evacuation of Saigon. As a signal to lớn Americans in Saigon that the evacuation had begun, Armed Forces Radio started to play “White Christmas” on repeat.

By this point, sea lanes were blocked and planes could not land in Saigon, leaving only one option for an evacuation: a helicopter airlift.

After the defense attaché compound was attacked, the U.S. Embassy became the sole departure point for helicopters. The original plans called to only evacuate Americans, but Ambassador Martin insisted on evacuating South Vietnamese government officials & the embassy’s local staff.

Meanwhile, 10,000 South Vietnamese waited at the embassy gates, hoping to make it onto a helicopter.

From April 29th to lớn April 30th, helicopters landed at 10-minute intervals in the embassy, including landing on the embassy roof. With some pilots flying for 19 hours straight, over 7,000 people were evacuated, including 5,500 Vietnamese, in less than 24 hours.

Americans & Vietnamese run for a U.S. Marine helicopter in Saigon during the evacuation of the city, April 29, 1975. AP Photo.

Diplomat Wolfgang J. Lehmann & the Final Hour at the Embassy

Passport photo of Wolfgang J. Lehmann, 1973. Gift of the eongirlgames.com of Wolfgang J. Lehmann.

One diplomat working to lớn facilitate the evacuation was Wolfgang J. Lehmann, who served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Lehmann was one of the last people khổng lồ leave the embassy on April 30th.

After witnessing Ambassador Martin depart on a helicopter and then departing on the next one along with about six other embassy staff members, Lehmann recalled the flight lớn a waiting evacuation ship:

“We could see the lights of the North Vietnamese convoys approaching the city…The chopper was packed with the rest of the staff & remaining civilian guards…and it was utterly silent except for the rotors of the engine. I don’t think I said a word on the way out and I don’t think anybody else did. The prevailing emotion was tremendous sadness.”

– Wolfgang J. LehmannWolfgang Lehmann’s day planner that he used during his time as Deputy Chief of Mission. Gift of the eongirlgames.com of Wolfgang O. Lehmann.

Xem thêm: Tổng Hợp Cách Phối Đồ Với Giày Thể Thao Cho Cả Nam Và Nữ: Mix Chuẩn


President Ford Thanks Diplomats for Historic Evacuation

A framed copy of this personal message sent on May 5, 1975 from President Ford to lớn Ambassador Graham Martin. Gift of the eongirlgames.com of Wolfgang J. Lehmann.

Lehmann kept và framed a copy of this personal message sent on May 5, 1975 from President Ford khổng lồ Ambassador Graham Martin, thanking him và the entire embassy staff for the successful evacuation effort.The telegram reads:

“Dear Graham: I want to lớn express my deep appreciation to lớn you và your entire staff for the successful evacuation of Americans and Vietnamese from Saigon. The tireless dedication of your mission & its skillful performance under the most severe pressure was vital to the accomplishment of this most difficult và delicate operation. Please accept as well my sincere personal compliments. Your courage & steadiness at this critical period enabled us khổng lồ evacuate our own citizens và a very large number of endangered Vietnamese. I hope you will convey lớn your entire staff my deep gratitude & that of the American people for a job well done. Sincerely, Gerald R. Ford”

Diplomat Evacuates Hundreds of Vietnamese Refugees in bắt buộc Thơ

While Saigon was falling, the rest of South Vietnam was also evacuating as quickly as possible. Approximately 100 miles away In bắt buộc Thơ, one diplomat saved hundreds of Vietnamese refugees by devising và leading a risky evacuation.

Francis Terry McNamara served as Consul General in phải Thơ, Vietnam at the time of the U.S. Evacuation. In the hectic days prior khổng lồ the final pull-out, McNamara’s orders from the U.S. Embassy were to lớn evacuate only the Americans; they were only going to provide helicopters with enough room to lớn evacuate the 18 or so American employees — for expediency and security reasons.

McNamara knew that he could not leave his loyal Vietnamese employees or their families behind, as they would likely face detention or even death for working for the Americans.

McNamara refused to evacuate just the Americans from the consulate, as were the instructions from the evacuation coordinator in Saigon. Saigon desperately needed đề xuất Thơ’s helicopters, the coordinator relayed.

Using his negotiation skills, McNamara said they could have the consulate’s helicopters now, rather than in six hours after evacuating Americans, if McNamara could evacuate everyone, including Vietnamese staff, by boat.

After they got disconnected, McNamara was able lớn get Jacobsen back on the phone. He recalls,

“Reluctantly, he agreed, “You’ve got your permission to go by water,” he granted. “Just get the hell out of there.” I had finally worn him down. The whole world was ending around him, và he could not get me off the telephone.”

– Consul General Francis Terry McNamara

Utilizing his skills as a former sailor, McNamara commandeered some barges with help from a USAID colleague and quickly loaded the remaining Americans, Vietnamese employees, và their families for evacuation.

An American holds a flag pole on the barge carrying hundreds of Vietnamese and American refugees on April 30, 1975. Consul General McNamara insisted on evacuating more than just his American staff from the U.S. Consulate in cần Thơ. He devised and executed a daring and risky evacuation via boat, which succeeded in bringing about 300 people lớn safety. McNamara donated the flag to lớn the National Museum of American ongirlgames.com.

McNamara captained the convoy down a Mekong Delta tributary, which was stopped at one point by the South Vietnamese Navy và took fire from Viet Cong troops. The U.S. Navy was supposed lớn meet them at the mouth of the South trung quốc Sea, but a ship never arrived.

Consul General Francis Terry McNamara (behind the two armed guards) captains a barge of American và Vietnamese refugees out of buộc phải Thơ. Photo Courtesy of the National Museum of American ongirlgames.com.

The barge bobbed in the mở cửa sea for a few hours until they saw some lights. It was an American freighter contracted by the CIA for evacuations. However, they had no idea who McNamara và his band of about 300 Vietnamese và Americans were. They were finally convinced khổng lồ take everyone on board to safety.

In 2019, Ambassador McNamara donated the U.S. Flag and the Consular flags, taken from the consulate building as they evacuated và then subsequently flown on the barge he commanded during the evacuation. Over the years, the blues of the flags have turned lớn deep red due khổng lồ a chemical reaction that occurs in some older plastic-based materials, including fabrics.

Ambassador McNamara (right) describes the evacuation in phải Thơ lớn National Museum of American ongirlgames.com staff. McNamara donated the flags pictured here khổng lồ the museum, which were from the consulate building & which he subsequently flew on the barge.

The Bravery & Resilience of Vietnamese Refugees

No one showed more bravery in this evacuation than the Vietnamese that went khổng lồ extreme risks to lớn evacuate their families from the war zone, risking their lives khổng lồ board helicopters as quickly as possible. Some of those refugees would go on to become American citizens & serve their country, including serving as diplomats. One such story is that of Anne D. Pham, now a U.S. Foreign Service officer who was evacuated from Vietnam as a small child.

“…Brave individuals like USAID officers Joseph Gettier & Mel Chatman sought alternative, last-ditch means khổng lồ rescue people. They commandeered military transport barges that had been used to carry supplies during the war…That was how my parents left their homeland with their six young children. Our escape down the Saigon River, with darkness setting in, was a dangerous one. Near Vung Tau Harbor, where the river opens lớn the Pacific Ocean, we came under rocket fire. Thankfully, as I was only 3 years old, I have only faint memories of the journey. As the barge drifted out to lớn sea, crammed with refugees, my father held me close và solemnly said to lớn my eldest brother: “Take a good look at your country. It will be the last time you see it.” The next day, we were plucked out of the ocean from our barge & boarded the U.S.S. Sgt. Andrew Miller.”

Pham would later join the Foreign Service và become a faculty thành viên of the National Defense University. She had opportunities khổng lồ meet & honor “her heroes” that played a part in the evacuation. She recounts:

“By saving me on that fateful day, they planted the seeds of strength and hope that helped me khổng lồ achieve my dream of working for the ongirlgames.com Department…While I am a hàng hóa of a painful chapter in history, I am also a hàng hóa of the greatness of America, with its diverse society, democratic ideals & opportunity for all. Only in America can a former refugee child become a senior adviser working for the same agency as vị the Foreign Service officers who saved her.”

– Foreign Service Officer Anne D. Pham


Finding My Heroes, Finding Myself: From Refugee Child lớn ongirlgames.com Department Official | The Foreign Service Journal – April 2015

Tears Before the Rain: An Oral History of the Fall of South Vietnam

Oral History of Wolfgang J. Lehmann | The Association for Diplomatic Studies và Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project

Oral History of Ambassador Francis Terry McNamara | The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project

Bài viết liên quan

Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *