It’s a warm day spring morning. The group known as the PAVN is advancing towards the Americans. General General Văn Tiến Dũng orders the attack to end the conflict that has been going on for more then 19 years. On April 29, 1975 the attack began. General Dũng had order a strike on Tân Sơn Nhất Airport which killed the last two Americans in this conflict.
As the PAVN continued their advance into Saigon, the Fall of Saigon began. On the 30th of April The North Vietnamese had raised their flag over Saigon. And the Vietnam war has come to an end. On the 30th of April at 10:48 a.m, Ambassador Grahan Martin to Vietnam had told Henry Kissinger, US National Security Adviser to order “Operation Frequent wind” With in three minutes of this Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”, the signal for Americans to be ready to evacuate since Saigon has fallen.
Under this operation Americans CH-53 Stallions, and CH46 Sea Knights would deploy to pick up Americans and Viennese and take them to the 7th Fleet.
The meeting point was the DAO Compound at Tan Son Nhat; buses moved through the city picking up passengers and driving them out to the airport. The first bus of people arrived at shortly afternoon. The first CH-53 arrived to the Compound at noon also, by that evening over 350 Americans had been evacuated along with 4,000 Vietnamese.
Due to how massive this evacuation was, ships decks were needed to be cleared for the incoming helicopters, helicopters, and aircraft were pushed over the side of the ships, aircraft from the United States and Vietnam arrived on the ships. The Americans were overwhelmed by Vietnam pilots arriving to run from the North.
Around 12:00 five or six VNAF UH-1Hs and one of the stolen ICCS UH-1Hs, were circling around Blue Ridge . The VNAF pilots had been instructed after dropping off their passengers to ditch their helicopters and would be rescued. The pilot of the stolen ICCS Huey had been told to ditch off the port quarter of the ship, but seemed reluctant to do so, flying around the ship to the starboard bow he jumped from his helicopter at a height of 40 feet
His helicopter turned and hit the side of Blue Ridge before hitting the sea. The tail rotor sheared off and embedded itself in the engine of an Air America Bell 205 that was doing a hot refueling on the helipad at the rear of the ship. The Air America pilot shut down his helicopter and left it and moments later a VNAF UH-1H attempted to land on the helipad, locked rotors with the Air America Bell, almost pushing it overboard.
One of the more notable events occurred on USS Midway when the pilot of a VNAF Cessna O-1 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.”
On the 30th at 16:45 Martin received a message that couldn’t have been much blunter: “Load only Americans from now on." 15 minutes later the last helicopter of evacuees left Vietnam.
Because of these pilots 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 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. And a further 978 U.S. and 1,120 Vietnamese and third-country nationals from the Embassy, giving a total of 1,373 Americans and 5,595 Vietnamese and third country nationals. In addition, Air America helicopters and RVNAF aircraft brought additional evacuees to the TF76 ships.
The U.S. State Department estimated that the Vietnamese employees of the U.S. Embassy in South Vietnam, past and present, and their families totaled 90,000 people evacuated.
Videos from The Fall of Saigon/Operation Frequent Wind