Operation Babylift (Vietnam Adoptions 1975)

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Operation Babylift at Clark Air Force Base

By Claude R Wayman

Operation Babylift creates unforgettable experiences at the Clark Air Force Base.

I was stationed a Clark Air force Base during Operation Babylift. I remember the military having to deal with the Philippines Government, who did not initially approve of allowing the Planes to land. Mostly I remember the children.

I was one the only males to volunteer to work in the base Gym. As I had grown up in a large family I had experience with feeding, diapering and general care. I don't think anything could have prepared me for the experience. The first children I had assigned to me were a brother and his two sisters who refused to be separated from each other. If I remember correctly they were destined for France. The youngest was maybe two months old, if that. I remember thinking French was spoken in Viet Nam so I sang Dite Moi from South Pacific to the youngest while rocking her to sleep. The three children were the most beautiful children I have ever seen. The hair, eyes and skin all were a beautiful shade that made them look as if someone had dipped them in Gold.

The Doctors said that since I was so comfortable with the children that they could use me in the Hospital group. These children came in cardboard boxes. Some were missing arms and legs or both and many had cleft pallets and Hare lips. Some where passing blood in their stools due to parasites and others had ruptured eardrums from the flight out. I can remember learning how to place a tube so one of the baby's could eat. I loved them all. I went to see "Miss Saigon" a few years back and couldn't prevent myself from weeping when the song Bui-doi was sung. I have always wondered where the children I took care of went and what their lives were like. I do know they deserved much much better than they had.


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