11:31 pm - Situation Room

This is an excerpt from Gerald R. Ford, A Time To Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1979:

I decided to wait an hour or so to see if the shelling stopped. If it did, we could resume the evacuation flights. The firing did cease, but we had a new problem to solve. Refugees were streaming out onto the airport's runways, and our planes couldn't land. The situation there was clearly out of control. The only option left was to remove the remaining Americans, and as many South Vietnamese as possible, by helicopter from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Choppers were standing by on the decks of U.S. Navy ships steaming off the coast, and just before midnight I ordered the final evacuation. [545K MPEG video] Over the next sixteen hours we managed to rescue 6,500 U.S. and South Vietnamese personnel without sustaining significant casualties.

Back to the President's Daily Diary: April 28, 1975

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