(Vietnam 1975)

International Operation Name:

International Operation Dates: 

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Asia

Location:  Vietnam

Canadian Operation Name:

Canadian Operation Dates: 1975/04/15 – 1975/05/09

Mission Mandate:

To evacuate persons designated by the Department of External Affairs from Saigon, Vietnam

Mission Notes: 

In April 1975, the North Vietnamese were on the verge of unifying North and South Vietnam.  With the impending victory of the North, thousands of civilians who feared a communist victory clamoured to escape South Vietnam.  In early April, 500,000 fled to Danang, prompting US President Gerald Ford to order an evacuation and request international assistance. However, Danang fell before help could arrive.  In addition, there were literally thousands of orphans for whom an international evacuation and adoption campaign was started.   Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States all sent planes to fly orphans back to the respective nations.

In Canada, the Department of External Affairs requested assistance from the Canadian Forces to evacuate personnel from Saigon.   In mid-April 1975, three CC-130 Hercules from 426 Squadron on a long-range training flight were diverted to Hong Kong to assist External Affairs.  Six flights into Saigon were authorized, with two evacuating about 150 orphans to Hong Kong.  The remaining four flights carried Canadian Embassy personnel, war correspondents and a few select refugees whose emigration had been approved by the South Vietnamese government.  The last flight occurred on 24 April, with the last of the Hercules returning to Canada on 9 May.

Although no date has been noted for the request for CF assistance and the diversion of the three Hercules, a date of about 15 April for the commencement of the operation is highly probable.

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