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Thread: 29 April 1975 Operation Frequent Wind

  1. #31
    My father's WWII unit, the 87th Infantry Division JUNKHO's Avatar
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    bd....thank you for this.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JUNKHO View Post
    bd....thank you for this.
    thank you sir..and thank you for your service to our nation.

    What were the criteria for selecting the Vietnamese who were evacuated?
    First come first served. Embassy staff..and other RVN officials.

    Here's an excellent account of what was happening in Saigon that fateful day.

    http://www.saigonscene.com/US_Embass...on_Vietnam.htm

    When on April 29th 1975 North Vietnamese forces started attacking the outskirts of Saigon Martin gave the order to commence operation Frequent Wind.

    The signal for the evacuation was the broadcast on Armed Forces Radio of the quote “the temperature is rising” followed by eight bars of the Irving Berlin song White Christmas.


    Originally large scale helicopter evacuations were not planned for the Embassy.



    But as things deteriorated and people could not get to Tan Son Nhat airport which was under bomb and rocket attack, the Embassy was used as a staging area.

    Wave after wave of helicopters would land on the rooftop of the Embassy, where French, Americans and South

    Vietnamese military families would all be ushered into the arriving helicopters.


    Outside the Embassy compound thousand of Vietnamese swarmed around the Embassy compound hoping and pleading for escape.


    So desperate to escape, Marines talk of seeing a women toss her baby over the barbed wire of the fence in the hope they would take it, or of a man offering a bag of uncut gems for a chance of freedom.


    By about 3am on the following morning of April the 30th, the ambassador had gone and the only Americans remaining were the U.S. Marines.


    The order was then given to airlift Embassy documents and American citizens only.


    Vietnamese still there who had worked many years for the U.S. Embassy or military were refused the helicopter evacuation service.


    To the regret of many Americans who were there, hundreds of Vietnamese who had been promised a way out were left behind.


    In particular the U.S. Embassy staff were concerned with evacuating Vietnamese who had worked for US AIS, USIS and the embassy, as these were people who more than likely would be on the communist enemies' list, and would be killed for allying with the U.S. enemy during the war.


    The remaining marines barricaded the entrances, rolled down steel doors, dropped grenades down the elevators so they could not be used and went to the roof.


    As the Marines lay on the roof of the Embassy to avoid sniper fire until the last helicopter finally arrived, the crowds outside drove a full water truck through the outer gates.


    Swarms of Vietnamese flooded into the compound and rushed into the building.

    With a desperate mob of refugees desperately trying to gain access to the roof, the final helicopter finally arrived at 8am for the remaining marines.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    This photo has been mis-identified many times. This RVN Huey was shoved into the Tonkin Gulf from the USS Blue Ridge(LCC 19)


    A South Vietnamese helicopter is pushed over the side of the USS Okinawa (LPH 3) during Operation Frequent Wind, April 1975. The helicopter, which carried two Vietnamese officers, a woman and two children, had to be disposed of to make room for the extensive Marine Corps helicopter operation helping to evacuate the city of Saigon.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    The photos below are from the Hanna's 1975 cruise book...OPERATION FREQUENT WIND. 29 April 1975.














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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    I found this video on youtube. It has no sound. The film was taken aboard the USS Midway (CVA 41) on 29 April 1975. Check out the look of the 1975 era sailors. I want to find a similar film taken aboard my ship the USS Hanc0ck (CVA 19).


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    Quote Originally Posted by bd popeye View Post
    I found this video on youtube. It has no sound. The film was taken aboard the USS Midway (CVA 41) on 29 April 1975. Check out the look of the 1975 era sailors. I want to find a similar film taken aboard my ship the USS Hanc0ck (CVA 19).

    Great thread and photos and video BDP, thanks for your service and for the pix you got of your carrier and the evac. Amazing stuff. at least some of the south VN folks got out of there okay then.

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    The soul that is within me no man can degrade bd popeye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commanding View Post
    Great thread and photos and video BDP, thanks for your service and for the pix you got of your carrier and the evac. Amazing stuff. at least some of the south VN folks got out of there okay then.
    Thanks commanding.. not my photos. Just photos I found online.

    This video is Very short and in Spanish. It does show my ship..the Fightin' Hanna..



    Another short film. Scenes from the Hanna, USS Okinawa(LPH 3) & USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19)


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    Senior Member Marsch's Avatar
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    One thing that's on my mind about this operation is that I read somewhere (think it was in Frank Snepp's recollections) that untrained CIA personal got to some Air America Hueys and managed to turn them on and fly them to the ships without ever having been instructed how to operate a helicopter.

    I had a chatter with a Luftwaffe UH-1D pilot who told me that it's basically impossible for somebody who never flew a helicopter or got any instructions to get it of the ground. He actually showed me the moves you've to do and told me if you're not doing it exactly this way the helicopter will just spin on the ground and get destroyed (has something to do with countering the torque directly at the lift off).

    Has anybody infos about this and can confirm or debunk this story?

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    Senior Member PATTO's Avatar
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    I remember watching this live on TV as a kid. Thanks for the awesome pics. I cannot even fathom the chaos on board as they arrived.

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    Senior Member Marsch's Avatar
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    You should really see if you could get your hands on a copy of "Decent Interval" the book written by the mentioned Frank Snepp (no matter the stance towards him). It reflects the whole chaos in which this operation did go down. Has some anecdotes like confidential papers in plastic bags getting ripped open and spread across the whole US embassy area by landing helicopters or hundred thousands of dollars getting burnt and coming out half intact of the embassy chimney with lots of people trying to grap as much as they can. Of course also deals with the evacuation itself and the selfless efforts undertaken by many people to safe as much souls as possible.

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    I cannot even fathom the chaos on board as they arrived.
    Actually there was little disorder. Very little. At first yes. We were not expecting the RVN helos. But we took them anyway. No helos crashed aboard any USN ship and only one USMC helo a CH-46 was lost.

    Has anybody info about this and can confirm or debunk this story?
    Those men flying the CIA Air America Heuy's were pilots. They were very skillful. I was there , I saw them with me own peepers. aaarrrvvv Believe it or not some of them were drunk. ALL of them were armed as were many persons that were evacuated that day. We did not push any of the Air America birds overboard. They were all spotted on the bow. And then off loaded in NAS Cubi PT helo flight line wre they statyed for several months. Then they were shipped off to ..who knows?



    This is a rare pic! This is a pic of Air America(CIA) helos that were recovered from Vietnam during Operation Frequent Wind spotted on the helo flight line in NAS Cubi Pt. Republic of the Philippines. I was stationed in Cubi from 8-'75 til 9-'77. These helos stayed on the helo flight line until early '76 if memory serves me correctly. Note the silver and blue paint scheme.

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    Peacemaker Zorro C9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post
    One thing that's on my mind about this operation is that I read somewhere (think it was in Frank Snepp's recollections) that untrained CIA personal got to some Air America Hueys and managed to turn them on and fly them to the ships without ever having been instructed how to operate a helicopter.

    I had a chatter with a Luftwaffe UH-1D pilot who told me that it's basically impossible for somebody who never flew a helicopter or got any instructions to get it of the ground. He actually showed me the moves you've to do and told me if you're not doing it exactly this way the helicopter will just spin on the ground and get destroyed (has something to do with countering the torque directly at the lift off).

    Has anybody infos about this and can confirm or debunk this story?
    You have to counter with left pedal at take off. It's possible they could start it with the checklist but they wouldn't have been able to land it, which is reasonably difficult. So, story unlikely.

  13. #43
    Senior Member Marsch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bd popeye View Post
    Those men flying the CIA Air America Heuy's were pilots. They were very skillful. I was there , I saw them with me own peepers. aaarrrvvv Believe it or not some of them were drunk. ALL of them were armed as were many persons that were evacuated that day. We did not push any of the Air America birds overboard. They were all spotted on the bow. And then off loaded in NAS Cubi PT helo flight line wre they statyed for several months. Then they were shipped off to ..who knows?
    He clearly stated that it was untrained CIA personal and not AA helicopter pilots that took the helicopters and managed to get them of the ground.

    Besides that in the last posted video you can see an AA Huey getting ditched. Maybe the deck was full at the time and the pilot was running low on fuel or what ever and just had to do it this way. Anyways not all AA aircrafts could be recovered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zorro C9 View Post
    You have to counter with left pedal at take off. It's possible they could start it with the checklist but they wouldn't have been able to land it, which is reasonably difficult. So, story unlikely.
    AFAIK that's not enough. You also have to put the stick (cyclic blade control) to the right (IIRC) to counter the torque at the take off. I'd say that's the reason while one skid comes lose first in nearly all take offs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post
    Besides that in the last posted video you can see an AA Huey getting ditched. Maybe the deck was full at the time and the pilot was running low on fuel or what ever and just had to do it this way. Anyways not all AA aircrafts could be recovered.
    No AA heys crashed in the vicinity of the Hanna. A USMC CH-46 did crash off the port bow the evening of the 29th. Could have been early morning on the 30th.

    All I know is that all the AA pilots i saw seem to be flying with some skill.

  15. #45
    Peacemaker Zorro C9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marsch View Post


    AFAIK that's not enough. You also have to put the stick (cyclic blade control) to the right (IIRC) to counter the torque at the take off. I'd say that's the reason while one skid comes lose first in nearly all take offs.
    There's lots of little things you have to do, I was just mentioning one of the major ones. Either way, it's pretty improbable.

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