Vietnam War Refugees in Guam

A History of Operation New Life

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About the Book

More than 130,000 South Vietnamese fled their homeland at the end of the Vietnam War. Tens of thousands landed on the island of Guam on their way to the U.S. Many remained there. Guamanians and U.S. military personnel welcomed them. Funded by a $405 million Congressional appropriation, Operation New Life was among the most intensive humanitarian efforts ever accomplished by the U.S. government, with the help of the people of Guam. Without it, many evacuees would have died somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. This book chronicles a part of the first mass migration of Vietnamese “boat people,” before and after the fall of Saigon in April 1975–a story still unfolding almost half a century later.

About the Author(s)

Nghia M. Vo, a Vietnamese-American, has written multiple books on Vietnamese culture. He helped found the nonprofit Saigon Arts, Culture & Education Institute and works to document Vietnamese-American culture through conferences, publications and a website.

Bibliographic Details

Nghia M. Vo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8699-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4417-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1. The Last Days of Saigon 7
2. The Vietnamese Navy and the Trýờng Xuân 23
3. Task Force 76 and USS Kirk 35
4. Guam’s Preparations 50
5. Operation New Life 71
6. Life in the Guam Camps 82
7. First, Second, and Third Wave Arrivals 96
8. Repatriates and the Thýõng Tín I Odyssey 110
9. Auxiliary Team and Sponsors 130
10. The Other Camps 138
11. Follow Up and Untold Stories 148
12. The Two Vietnams 159
Abbreviations 171
Appendix I: Chronology of Important Events (1975) 173
Appendix II: Motion 177
Appendix III: By the Numbers 179
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 189
Index 193

Book Reviews & Awards

• “The inspiring story of how the US government, its military, and the people of Guam accepted 130,000 Vietnamese refugees. Nghia’s well-researched account highlights stories of scores of evacuees traumatized by the war and loss of their homeland.”—James K. Bruton, Jr., Lt. Colonel (Ret.), US Army

• “An incredible book, unequaled by any other works examining Operation New Life.”—Bill Laurie, Vietnam veteran and author