Last Days in Vietnam


  • hd video

    Last Days in Vietnam: Miki Nguyen’s Story

    Experience the intensity of one South Vietnamese family’s escape from Saigon in this video adapted from American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam. Miki Nguyen’s father was among several pilots in the South Vietnamese Air Force who commandeered helicopters to transport their loved ones to safety during the U.S. Embassy evacuation. Flying over the Pacific, his helicopter low on fuel, Nguyen’s father spotted a ship. But the Chinook that he flew was too big and heavy to land safely on its deck, so he hovered over the ship as his passengers jumped into the arms of the crew. Nguyen’s father managed to get himself off the helicopter before intentionally crashing it into the water. This resource is part of the American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • hd video

    Last Days in Vietnam: The Embassy Evacuation

    Learn about the decision to evacuate Americans and South Vietnamese from the U.S. embassy and about the experience of a South Vietnamese Army lieutenant who stayed behind in this media gallery adapted from American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam. By mid-April 1975, it was clear that the North Vietnamese Army would attack Saigon. While the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, Graham Martin, had been hopeful that Saigon would be spared, he ultimately sanctioned the helicopter airlift that helped 1,100 threatened South Vietnamese to their freedom. Lieutenant Dam Pham was not among those evacuated. He was arrested and spent 13 years in a communist re-education camp. This resource is part of the American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • hd video

    Last Days in Vietnam: A Moral Dilemma

    Experience the moral dilemmas facing both U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon in April 1975 in this video adapted from American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam. According to some of the 6,000 or so U.S. personnel remaining in South Vietnam, it was clear that the U.S. Embassy needed to plan for an evacuation of American personnel and the hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese who had worked closely with the U.S. during the war. Because the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam had refused to develop an evacuation plan for endangered South Vietnamese, several young officers in the embassy led “black ops”—operations that were against regulations—to evacuate as many South Vietnamese as possible. This resource is part of the American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Last Days in Vietnam: Refugees

    Learn about the unsanctioned U.S. naval escort of thousands of refugees on South Vietnamese ships from Con Son Island to the Philippines in this video adapted from American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam. Just before the fall of Saigon, Richard Armitage, a civilian on assignment from the U.S. Defense Department, and Paul Jacobs, the captain of the U.S.S. Kirk, led the mission to escort dozens of South Vietnamese Navy ships into international waters, away from Vietnam. But Armitage and Jacobs did not have U.S. government permission to bring refugees as well. They decided to do so anyway. Because the Philippines had already recognized the new Vietnamese government and wouldn’t allow South Vietnamese ships into port, the ships had to replace their flags with American flags. This resource is part of the American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam Collection.

    Grades: 9-12