Operation Babylift

Operation Babylift was a mission ordered by United States President Gerald Ford that evacuated approximately 3,000 children from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) in 1975. This took place over a series of 30 planned flights with each flight carrying about 100 children. Most of the children that were flown into the United States were later adopted out to families which later held some controversy as while most of the children were orphans, there were some who had parents in Vietnam who gave up their children in hopes of securing their safety. This is especially the case with Amerasian children whose parents feared for their safety in a country that houses much hatred towards children with American descent. To help combat this, a Vietnamese nonprofit organization called Operation Reunite, uses DNA testing to connect these children with their biological families.

Out of the 30 assigned flights for Operation Babylift, on April 4th, 1975, one flight dealt with internal issues that unfortunately resulted in a tragic crash that resulted in the loss of 138 lives, 78 of which were that of children. This sadly happened to be the very first flight to leave Saigon to begin the operation.

Even during various flights, conditions were chaotic as multiple nurses were to tend for the aircraft full of children. Some would have to spend the entire 30 hour flight caring for the children: either giving them their prescribed medication or attending to their feeding schedules. These nurses oftentimes also had to handle children in need of immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, some had passed away due to their health-related complications. However, the vast majority that did survive were able to build their new lives in the United States as Vietnamese Americans.

Learn More:


A Nurse’s Perspective on Operation Babylift

Operation Babylift & New Life



Image Source: