Team Flies to Vietnam for Operation Babylift
By Jim Wallis
In January my wife and I went to Saigon to hand carry some of our adoption papers and spend some time with our daughter. We were hoping to bring her back, but it wasn't possible. The red tape was a nightmare. We feel very lucky to have made that trip together. And have some fond memories of the trip.
The time went by slowly. As the war escalated we finally heard our daughter was going to be sent out. The next day or so was the crash of the C-5A in Saigon. We were in shock. We have worked closely with FCVN and several other agencies and a lady named Jodi Darria. So as you can guess our phone line were burning up.
To made a long story short we put together a group of about 10 people and local news team to try to get as many children out as we could. A major target was An Loc orphanage and the children in the middle of being adopted, as well as any others we could help. We really did not know what we were going into. I found out later our daughter was in Hawaii at the same time I was she was going east as I was headed west, although it would not have made any difference to me at that time.
We were almost all airline employee's and had an in air line of communications with the states.
A little over half way we found out Pan Am was banned from going into Viet Nam, as well as all other American flag carriers. So we put our heads together and made some calls. and changed directions. We headed for Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific Airways. This way we came into Saigon from the north non-stop from Hong Kong.
We were in Saigon for about a week. We were air lifted out by the US Air Force about 3 days before it fell the north. When we pulled out of Saigon we had boxes full of babies in the floor of a C-141. We put a cargo net over the babies and pulled a max take off, headed for Clark AFB. From there we were air lifted the L.A. with World Air Ways (the company I now work for). That is the very short story.
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