USS Midway played key role in evacuations of South Vietnamese

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – This week marks the 40th anniversary of the end to perhaps the most unpopular war in American History, The Vietnam War.

But in the final hours of that conflict were profiles of courage and compassion, courtesy of those aboard the USS Midway.

Five thousand people gathered on the flight deck of the USS Midway to commemorate the role of the aircraft carrier on the last day of the Vietnam War, for it was on the flight deck 40 years ago that there was complete chaos as Midway personnel helped to evacuate over 3,000 South Vietnamese refugees from Saigon.

As the North Vietnamese stormed into Saigon, there was panic at the U.S. Embassy as terrified families waited in line, hoping to be ferried by U.S. helicopters to the safety of the Midway offshore.

At one point, there were over 20 Huey Helicopters hovering above the Midway, hoping to land on a small patch of the crowded carrier.

Air operations in dropping off the refuges became so dangerous, helicopters not being used were pushed overboard to create more room on the flight deck.

The words of Midway Captain Larry Chamber who refers to the “Wall of Healing” on board the Midway this week.

The wall listing the names of over 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.

Vietnam Vet Dean Kale looked up the names of buddies he lost in the war.

The day after the USS Midway received its last refuge, the South Vietnamese Government surrendered to the North Vietnamese.

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