Only a few feats of engineering are as impressive as a military helicopter. Today military helicopters are worth millions of falls; they are high-tech machines and a formidable military asset. They are not only used to safeguard the sky but also used for many other uses such as rescue operations, goods transport, and air ambulance. But there was a time US military personnel chose to push down several dozen high-tech military helicopters into the sea, and the reason for this was to save a mother, a father, and their 5 children.
Operation Frequent Wind
Well, not aware of what Operation Frequent Wind was; it was the name given to the final evacuation during the Fall of Saigon: the final days of the US-Vietnam War. This operation is one of the largest military evacuations ever and the largest done using helicopters as the primary means of evacuation. This rescue operation is known as a logistical success for the US because a few dozen helicopter pilots were somehow able to rescue and evacuate more than 7,000 people in just 18 hours. Well, it’s impressive for sure, and what makes it more impressive is the fact that mass evacuation was never supposed to involve helicopters.
Operation Frequent Wind is now well known for being the most successful mass helicopter evacuation ever done using helicopters. The primary means of evacuation was never the plan – well, to surprise you more, it wasn’t even the backup plan. It was the backup to the backup to the backup plan. Woohoo!!
It was initially known as Operation Talon Vise until spies from North Vietnam got to know about it. The plans for a mass evacuation from Vietnam had been in place for many years and originally supposed to involve the use of commercial and military aircraft to evacuate citizens at risk and military personnel, with the estimated total number of people evacuated was around 2 million.
But why did marines dumped helicopter worth millions of dollars
The South Vietnamese air force major Buang Lee was trying to escape Vietnam because if he had stayed, he would have been executed. He was able to commandeer a small Cessna plane, and under heavy fire, he somehow took off and fled out of the country with two adults and five children in the tiny slow-moving plane.
He headed towards the sea in search of any ship to land on. After about an hour, he finally saw the USS Midway.
But he wasn’t able to land because there was not sufficient space to land on the ship, because of dozens of helicopters on board. He somehow was able to throw notes on the ship, that read: Can you please move the helicopters on the other side, so that I can land on your runway, Please rescue my family and me.
After reading the note, the captain of the vessel, Lawrence Chambers, had to make a decision. While it was possible to move some of the helicopters but not all of them. But seeing the courage of Major Buang, young captain Chambers made a decision to move the helicopter that could be moved and dump the rest in the sea. In total, nearly $65 million worth helicopters were ditched to save Major, his wife, and five children.
Well, this is the brave story of Major Buang and Captain Lawrence Chambers. This brave act by Lawrence Chambers has made a lot of Americans proud.