WXXI AM News

Connections: Innovation Friday - Reflecting on Operation Babylift 40 Years On

Apr 24, 2015

We take a slight departure from the usual Innovation Friday topics to acknowledge a major anniversary related to America’s involvement in the war in Vietnam.

In 1975, 2,700 Vietnamese babies and children were evacuated to the US mainland in Operation Babylift. Another 1,300 went to Canada, Australia and Europe. 

A series of commemorative events are planned for Saturday April 25th which marks the day when the last transport plane left the tarmac in Saigon ahead of the advancing North Vietnamese Army. 

Forty years later we speak with some of those adoptees about their lives, and with adoptive parents and veterans who were involved in this major turning point.

Our guests:

  • Greg Hodges, airlift adoptee who grew up in Cohocton, New York
  • Tia Keevil, airlift adoptee who is now a nurse in New York City
  • Lana Noone, adoptive parent who’s first adoptive daughter, Heather, passed away not long after arriving in the U.S.; her other daughter, Jennie, was the last baby placed through the Operation Babylift.
  • Sister Mary Nell Gage, was in Vietnam between 1973-75 and was stationed at the Presidio during Operation Babylift
  • Bill Terrell, a Vietnam veteran who helped rebuild an orphanage destroyed during the war when he was on active service