“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tampa in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Operation Frequent Wind

April 29-30, 1975

— Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park —

Operation Frequent Wind Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, March 7, 2022
1. Operation Frequent Wind Marker
Inscription.  Operation Frequent Wind was the evacuation by helicopter of American civilians and "at-risk" Vietnamese from Saigon, South Vietnam, on 29-30 April 1975 during the last days of the Vietnam War. More than 7,000 people were evacuated from various points in Saigon, and the airlift left a number of enduring images.

Preparations for the airlift already existed as a standard procedure for American embassies. In the beginning of March, fixed-wing aircraft began evacuating civilians through neighboring countries. By mid-April, contingency plans were in place and preparations were underway for a possible helicopter evacuation. As the imminent collapse of Saigon became evident Task Force 76 was assembled off the coast near Vung Tau to support a helicopter evacuation and provide air support if required. Air support was not needed as the North Vietnamese recognized that interfering with the evacuation could provoke a strong reaction from US forces.

On 28 April, Tan Son Nhut Air Base came under artillery fire and attack from Vietnamese Peoples Air Force aircraft. The fixed wing evacuation was terminated and Operation Frequent
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Wind commenced

The evacuation was to take place primarily from Defense Attaché Office compound and began around two in the afternoon on 29 April and was ended that night with only limited small arms damage to the helicopters. The U.S. Embassy in Saigon was intended to only be a secondary evacuation point for Embassy staff, but was soon overwhelmed with evacuees and desperate South Vietnamese.The evacuation of the Embassy was completed at 07:53 on 30 April, but some 400 third country nationals were left behind.

With the collapse of South Vietnam, an unknown number of VNAF helicopters and some fixed-wing aircraft flew out to the evacuation fleet. Helicopters began to clog ship decks and eventually some were pushed over to allow others to land. Pilots of other helicopters were told to drop off their passengers and then take off and ditch in the sea, from where they would be rescued.

During the fixed-wing evacuation 50,493 people (including 2,678 Vietnamese orphans) were evacuated by helicopter.

By late March the Embassy began a thinning out of US citizens in Vietnam by encouraging dependents and non-essential personnel to leave the country by commercial flights and on Military Airlift Command (MAC) C-141 and C-5 aircraft were still flying in emergency military supplies. In late 2 or 3 March MAC aircraft were arriving each day
Operation Frequent Wind Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, March 7, 2022
2. Operation Frequent Wind Marker
and these aircraft were used for the evacuation of civilians or as part of Operation Babylift. On 4 April, a C-5A aircraft carrying, 250 Vietnamese orphans and their escorts suffered explosive decompression over the sea near Yung Tar and made a crash-landing while attempting to return to Tan Son Nhut before the crash.


Evacuees offloaded onto the USS Midway.
Erected by Hillsborough County.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceMilitaryParks & Recreational AreasWar, Vietnam.
Location. 27° 58.648′ N, 82° 21.677′ W. Marker is in Tampa, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Memorial can be reached from N US Highway 301,, 0.2 miles south of E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Marker located within Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3602 N US Highway 301, Tampa FL 33619, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gulf of Sidra Incident (here, next to this marker); Operation Eagle Claw (April 24, 1980) (here, next to this marker); Operation Praying Mantis (here, next to this marker); Operation Odyssey Dawn (here, next to this marker); Invasion of Grenada 1983
Rescue Helicopter pushed overboard image. Click for full size.
Public Domain, 1975
3. Rescue Helicopter pushed overboard
(here, next to this marker); America’s Secret War. The Salvadoran Civil War (here, next to this marker); Cambodian Campaign during mid-1970 (here, next to this marker); United States Invasion of Panama (1991) (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tampa.
Also see . . .  Operation Frequent Wind. (Submitted on March 21, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 25, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 21, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 317 times since then and 175 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 21, 2022, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 22, 2023