Operation New Life

Operation New Life (23 April – 1 November 1975) was the care and processing on Guam of Vietnamese refugees evacuated from Saigon in the closing days of the Vietnam War. More than 111,000 of the evacuated 130,000 Vietnamese refugees were transported to Guam where they were housed in tent cities for a few weeks while being processed for resettlement. The great majority of the refugees were resettled in the United States. A few thousand were resettled in other countries or chose to return to Vietnam on the vessel Tuong Tin.

Background

In April 1975, as the North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) advanced on Saigon, the United States carried out a massive and chaotic evacuation of Americans, nationals of allied countries, and Vietnamese who had worked for or been closely associated with the U.S. during the Vietnam War. To deal with the refugees, President Gerald Ford on 18 April 1975 created the Interagency Task Force (IATF) for Indochina, a dozen government agencies with the responsibility to transport, process, receive and resettle Indochinese refugees, nearly all Vietnamese, in the United States. Ford appointed L. Dean Brown of the Department of State to head Operation New Life. Later he was replaced by Julia V. Taft of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).[1] To finance Operation New Life the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act was adopted on 23 May 1975. This act allocated funding of $305 million for the State Department and $100 million for HEW.[2]

Nearby countries in Southeast Asia declined to accept the Vietnamese evacuees, fearing that they would have them on their soil permanently. However, Governor Ricardo Bordallo, agreed to grant the Vietnamese temporary asylum on Guam, some 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from Saigon. On April 23, Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison, commander of U.S. Naval forces on Guam (and the father of singer Jim Morrison), was ordered to "accept, shelter, process and care for refugees as they were removed from South Vietnam."[3]

More than 130,000 Vietnamese were evacuated from Vietnam by air and sea during the last few days of April. A few went to other locations, such as Wake Island, but most were transported to Guam by U.S. and Vietnamese naval ships, commercial vessels and military and commercial aircraft. A total of 111,919 Vietnamese would be housed temporarily and processed for entry into the United States on Guam. That total included 2,600 orphans and abandoned children evacuated from Vietnam under Operation Babylift who transited Guam on 3 and 4 April en route to the United States.[4]

Guam had a substantial U.S. military presence to care for the Vietnamese refugees. Andersen Air Force Base on the northern end of the island was the U.S.'s biggest B-52 base and Naval Base Guam was a large deep-water port for naval vessels.

Typhoons frequently impact Guam and the military and civilian personnel involved in Operation New Life feared that a typhoon would strike Guam while the Vietnamese were living in tents and unprotected from the elements. Fortunately, no typhoon hit Guam in 1975.[5]

Refugees

Aerial view of Orote Point (Guam) refugee camp c1975
Aerial view of the refugee camp at Orote Point, Guam.
View of Orote Point (Guam) refugee camp c1975
"Tent City" at Orote Point, Guam.

Although not classified legally as "refugees" under international refugee law, the Vietnamese on Guam were commonly called refugees as well as "evacuees" and "parolees."

The U.S. military estimated that 13,000 refugees could be housed on Guam and the first arrivals on 23 April were placed in apartments. The numbers, however, reached 20,000 on 27 April, exceeding the capacity of existing housing. The Seabees constructed additional housing, including bulldozing 1,200 acres of brush to create "Tent City" for 50,000 people. On 7 May, three merchant ships arrived at Guam carrying 13,000 Vietnamese, the highest number of people to arrive in a single day. The refugee population on Guam peaked on 13 May at 50,450—more than one-half the number of permanent residents of the island. Most of the Vietnamese would spend only two or three weeks on Guam before being transported to the United States, or in a few cases to other countries.[6]

The objective of the evacuation of South Vietnamese had been to remove U.S. government employees and their families and other Vietnamese with close associations with the United States from the danger of persecution by the victorious North Vietnamese. Many of the refugees were former officers in the South Vietnamese military and officials of the South Vietnamese government. However, a Congressional report summed up characteristics of the refugees who arrived in Guam as follows: "Half the Vietnamese we intended to get out did not get out – and half who did get out should not have." The refugees included "farmers...an entire fishing village...Many gave the impression of not knowing where they were or why they were there. Some had simply fled in panic." However, once in Guam, "their destination was the United States...how many never intended to travel to continental United States will never be known."[7] Nevertheless, the majority of the Vietnamese on Guam were from the educated elite of the country. Twenty percent had attended a University; 40 percent were Catholic, and 35 percent spoke some English—all much higher percentages than those of the Vietnamese population as a whole.[8]

The United States Attorney General used his authority to grant parole status to the Vietnamese which allowed them to enter the United States and remain permanently.

Military participation

More than U.S. 20,000 military personnel from all services were involved in the operation. The military was tasked with providing transportation, operating refugee reception centers in the Pacific and the United States, and assisting civilian agencies in the resettlement program. Expenses incurred by the military were reimbursed from the funds appropriated to the IATF of which the Department of Defense was a member.[9]

Airlifts from Saigon's Tan Son Nhut Air Base unloaded at Andersen Air Force Base. Passengers were escorted to Tent City, where tents erected just hours before awaited them. Those who fled Vietnam by sea landed at the Naval Supply Station at Apra Harbor. First responders included personnel from USS Proteus, the Naval Station and Camp Covington CB Base. Tasked with providing food and shelter, Naval Station Tug Base personnel improvised housing from abandoned warehouses of decommissioned Camp Minron with cots and supplies from the base emergency hurricane supplies, fed hundreds from plastic trash cans full of fish and rice from the base galley. USS Hector also provided hot meals from her own stores and galley. Outside showers were made from a circle of metal lockers and fire hoses with sprinkler heads. The CB's set up Vietnam-style steel drum toilets, which were immediately overwhelmed.

Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft unloaded and personnel processed at NAS Agana, Brewer Field.

Tents were set up at Army-run Camp Orote on an abandoned airstrip. At its peak it held a population of 39,331. The camp at Orote Point (called Camp Rainbow) was staffed by units from the U.S. 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; initially under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Will H. Horn (April–May), and later of Colonel Jack O'Donohue (June–September). The command consisted of the 1st Bn 5th Inf and 1st Bn 27th infantry battalions, elements of the 25th Supply and Transport Battalion, a field hospital from Fort Lewis, WA the 423rd Medical Company , and intelligence teams.[10] In addition to the Army run camp at Orote Point, numerous Vietnamese were housed at Andersen Air Force Base in an area known as Tin City. This complex of pre-engineered metal buildings had previously served as housing for aircraft maintenance and other personnel supporting the B-52 bombing missions that flew from Andersen. The complex included dormitory and latrine facilities which were quickly made ready by base personnel.

Admiral Morrison would later call Operation New Life the most satisfying assignment of his career.[11]

The Viet Nam Thuong Tin

Among the refugees in Guam were about 1,600 people who requested repatriation to Vietnam. Many of them were South Vietnamese army and naval personnel. The Vietnamese navy had loaded up their ships with people during the evacuation and sailed out to sea, ending up in Guam. Their families often left behind, the soldiers and sailors requested—then demanded—that they be allowed to return to Vietnam.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees initially took responsibility for the repatriation. The Vietnamese government demanded that a lengthy questionnaire be completed for each potential returnee. UNHCR completed the questionnaires and submitted them, but no response was forthcoming from Vietnam. Meantime, the refugees became more insistent in their demands to return, including staging demonstrations and threatening violence and suicide. In September 1975, Julia Taft recommended that the Vietnamese be given the merchant ship Thuong Tin and allowed to depart Guam for Vietnam. The U.S. Navy renovated the ship for the voyage to Vietnam.[12]

The State Department was concerned that some among the potential returnees were being coerced by their colleagues into saying they wished to return to Vietnam. State isolated the potential returnees and interviewed each of them individually. Those affirming they wished to return to Vietnam were escorted directly from the interview to the Tuong Tin for departure. Those declining to return, numbering 45, were escorted to the mostly-empty refugee camps for onward transportation to the U.S. The total number of Vietnamese crowded onto the Thuong Tin was 1,546, of whom most were men whose families were in Vietnam. The Thuong Tin departed Guam on 16 October 1975.[13]

The fate of the Thuong Tin was unknown for more than a decade. The ship's captain, Tran Dinh Tru, later told his story. On arrival in Vietnam, Tru and at least some of his shipmates were sent to re-education camps in the rural areas of Vietnam. Tru was imprisoned for 12 years.[14]

The Thuong Tin returnees were nearly the last Vietnamese refugees on Guam. The camps there were closed on 23 October and Operation New Life terminated on 1 November 1975.[15]

Aftermath

The Vietnamese on Guam were flown to one of four military bases: Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. There, the U.S. military provided them food and temporary housing while the IATF and charitable organizations gave them language and cultural training and sought sponsors and locations for their resettlement. (See Operation New Arrivals) By 20 December 1975 all the Vietnamese had been resettled in every state and in several foreign countries. The self-congratulations for the success of the program were premature, however, as the coming years would see an even larger flow of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians fleeing their home countries.[16]

References

  1. ^ "Department of the Army After Action Report Operations New Life/New Arrivals" http://detic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/aO36359.pdf, accessed 16 Dec 2013
  2. ^ "Public Law 94-24", 23 May 1975. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-89/pdf/STATUTE-89-Pg89.pdf, accessed 26 Dec 2013
  3. ^ Thompson, Larry Clinton Refugee Workers in the Indochina Exodus, 1975–1982, Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Company, 2010, p. 63; "George S. Morrison, Admiral and Singer's Father, Dies at 89" The New York Times, 8 Dec 2008
  4. ^ "Operation New Life" http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/ew_life.htm, accessed 20 Dec 2013
  5. ^ Mackie, Richard Operation Newlife: The Untold Story Concord, CA: Solution Publishing, 1998, p. 53
  6. ^ Thompson, p. 65
  7. ^ United States. Congress. House,Indochina Evacuation and Refugee Problems, Part IV, p. 5
  8. ^ Kelly, Gail P. "Coping with America. Refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1970s and 1980s" Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Vol. 487 (September 1986), pp. 138–149
  9. ^ "Department of the Army After Action Report Operations New Life/New Arrivals" http://dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/aO36359.pdf, accessed 16 Dec 2013
  10. ^ "Department of the Army After Action Report Operations New Life/New Arrivals" dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/aO36359.pdf, accessed 16 Dec 2013
  11. ^ "George S. Morrison, Admiral and Singer's Father, Dies at 89" The New York Times, 8 Dec 2008; Thompson p. 65
  12. ^ U.S. Marines in Vietnam – The Bitter End, 1973–1975, p. 225-227 http://ehistory.osu.edu/vietnam/books/end/0226.cfm; Thompson, pp 69–71
  13. ^ U.S. Marines in Vietnam – The Bitter End, 1973–1975, p. 225-227 http://ehistory.osu.edu/vietnam/books/end/0226.cfm; Thompson, pp 69–71
  14. ^ Thompson, pp 72–73
  15. ^ U.S. Marines in Vietnam – The Bitter End, 1973–1975, p. 225-227 http://ehistory.osu.edu/vietnam/books/end/0226.cfm
  16. ^ Thompson, p. 90
15th Wing

The 15th Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The wing reports to 11th Air Force, Headquartered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Its history goes back to just before World War II, when the 15th Pursuit Group was organized at Wheeler Field, Hawaii from elements of the 18th Pursuit Group. The group's combat effectiveness was largely destroyed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. Remanned and re-equipped as the 15th Fighter Group, it remained in the Hawaiian islands to provide for the air defense of the islands, although it deployed squadrons and detachments to the Central and Western Pacific areas. It later became a Twentieth Air Force very long range fighter group on Iwo Jima, escorting Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers that attacked the Japanese home Islands. In April 1945 the group earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for combat action over Japan. Following the end of the war, the group returned to Hawaii, where it was inactivated in 1946.

The group was again activated in 1955 to replace the 518th Air Defense Group as part of Air Defense Command's Project Arrow, which replaced units formed during the Cold War with those that had a distinguished history in the two world wars. It performed the air defense mission at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport, New York until it was discontinued in 1960 and its mission assumed by the New York Air National Guard.

In July 1962, Tactical Air Command organized the 15th Tactical Fighter Wing as the second McDonnell F-4 Phantom II wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Although its companion 12th Tactical Fighter Wing was one of the first wings deployed during the Vietnam War, the 15th acted as an F-4 combat crew training unit during this era, although it assumed a tactical role during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Pueblo crisis. In 1970 the wing was inactivated and its mission, personnel and equipment were transferred to the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, which moved on paper to MacDill from Hamilton Air Force Base, California.

Little more than a year later, the wing returned to Hawaii as the 15th Air Base Wing, when it replaced the 6486th Air Base Wing as the host organization at Hickam Air Force Base. The wing has been stationed at Hickam (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam) since then. In 1984, the 15th group and 15th wing were consolidated into a single unit.

374th Airlift Wing

The 374th Airlift Wing is a unit of the United States Air Force assigned to Fifth Air Force. It is stationed at Yokota Air Base, Japan. It is part of Pacific Air Forces. The 374th Airlift Wing is the only airlift wing in PACAF and provides airlift support to all Department of Defense agencies in the Pacific theater of operation. It also provides transport for people and equipment throughout the Kantō Plain and the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The Wing participates in operations involving air, land and airdrop of troops, equipment, supplies, and support or augment special operations forces, when appropriate. It fields a provisional airlift wing or group headquarters (when required) to command airlift resources as units in support of contingencies or exercises. It also supports assigned, attached, and associate units on Yokota Air Base and satellite installations according to higher headquarters' direction.

The 374th Airlift Wing has never been stationed in the United States.

60th Air Mobility Wing

The 60th Air Mobility Wing (60 AMW) is the largest air mobility organization in the United States Air Force and is responsible for strategic airlift and aerial refueling missions around the world. It is the host unit at Travis Air Force Base in California. Wing activity is primarily focused on support in the Middle East region, however it also maintains operations in areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

63rd Air Expeditionary Wing

The 63d Air Expeditionary Wing is a provisional unit of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to Air Mobility Command to activate or inactivate as needed. No publicly available information indicates it has been active as an expeditionary unit. The wing was last active as the 63d Airlift Wing at Norton Air Force Base, California, where it was inactivated on 1 April 1994.

The wing was first activated as the 63d Troop Carrier Wing in the Air Force Reserve in June 1949, when Continental Air Command reorganized its units under the wing base organizational model. It was ordered into active duty for the Korean War in May 1951 and, after its personnel were used as fillers for other units, inactivated a week later.

The wing was activated as a heavy troop carrier unit in 1953 under Tactical Air Command. In 1957, heavy troop carrier units in the United States, including the wing, were transferred to Military Air Transport Service. The unit continued to fly the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II until 1967, when it moved to Norton Air Force Base and began to operate the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter. The wing served as a strategic airlift unit until it was inactivated in 1994.

Andersen Air Force Base

Andersen Air Force Base (Andersen AFB, AAFB) (IATA: UAM, ICAO: PGUA, FAA LID: UAM) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) northeast of Yigo near Agafo Gumas in the United States territory of Guam. Along with Naval Base Guam, Andersen AFB was placed under the command of Joint Region Marianas on 1 October 2009. The two bases are about 30 miles apart at opposite ends of the island. Administration offices for Joint Region Marianas are about half-way in between, at Nimitz Hill.The host unit at Andersen AFB is the 36th Wing (36 WG), assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Eleventh Air Force. A non-flying wing, the 36 WG's mission is to provide support to deployed air and space forces of USAF and foreign air forces to Andersen, and to support tenant units assigned to the base.

Andersen AFB was established in 1944 as North Field and is named for Brigadier General James Roy Andersen (1904–1945). The 36th Wing Commander is Brig. Gen. Gentry W. Boswell. The Vice Wing Commander is Colonel Matthew J. Nicholson and the Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Gary R. Szekely.The most important U.S. air base west of Hawaii, Andersen is the only one in the Western Pacific that can permanently base U.S. heavy strategic bombers (one of the four Air Force Bomber Forward Operating Locations), including B-1B, B-2, and B-52 bombers. Andersen is one of two critical bases in the Asia-Pacific region. The other location is Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Guam's almost unrestricted airspace and the close proximity of the Farallon de Medinilla Island, a naval bombing range 184 miles (296 km) north, makes this an ideal training environment.

Asan, Guam

Asan (Chamorro: Assan) is a village located on the western shore of the United States territory of Guam. The municipality of Asan-Maina combines Asan with Maina, a community in the hills to the east. It was a primary landing site for United States Marines during Guam's liberation from the Japanese during World War II. Asan Beach Park is part of the War in the Pacific National Historic Park. Asan and Maina are located in the Luchan (Western) District.

Battle of Gang Toi

The Battle of Gang Toi (8 November 1965) was fought during the Vietnam War between Australian troops and the Viet Cong. The battle was one of the first engagements between the two forces during the war and occurred when A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) struck a Viet Cong bunker system defended by Company 238 in the Gang Toi Hills, in northern Bien Hoa Province. It occurred during a major joint US-Australian operation codenamed Operation Hump, involving the US 173rd Airborne Brigade, to which 1 RAR was attached. During the latter part of the operation an Australian rifle company clashed with an entrenched company-sized Viet Cong force in well-prepared defensive positions. Meanwhile, an American paratroop battalion was also heavily engaged in fighting on the other side of the Song Dong Nai.

The Australians were unable to concentrate sufficient combat power to launch an assault on the position and consequently they were forced to withdraw after a fierce engagement during which both sides suffered a number of casualties, reluctantly leaving behind two men who had been shot and could not be recovered due to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. Although they were most likely dead, a battalion-attack to recover the missing soldiers was planned by the Australians for the next day, but this was cancelled by the American brigade commander due to rising casualties and the need to utilise all available helicopters for casualty evacuation. The bodies of the two missing Australian soldiers were subsequently recovered more than 40 years later, and were finally returned to Australia for burial.

Fall of Saigon

The Fall of Saigon, or the Liberation of Saigon, was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Viet Cong on 30 April 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period to the formal reunification of Vietnam into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.The PAVN, under the command of General Văn Tiến Dũng, began their final attack on Saigon on April 29, 1975, with the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces commanded by General Nguyễn Văn Toàn suffering a heavy artillery bombardment. This bombardment at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport killed the last two American servicemen killed in combat in Vietnam, Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge. By the afternoon of the next day, the PAVN had occupied the important points of the city and raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace. The city was renamed Hồ Chí Minh City, after the late North Vietnamese President Hồ Chí Minh.

The capture of the city was preceded by Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians who had been associated with the southern regime. The evacuation was the largest helicopter evacuation in history. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and the institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the city's population.

Fort Wint

Fort Wint (known as Grande Island, the Philippines) was part of the harbor defenses of Manila and Subic Bays built by the Philippine Department of the United States Army between 1907 and 1920 in response to recommendations of the Taft Board prior to the non-fortification clause of the Washington Naval Treaty. Fort Wint was located on Grande Island at the entrance of Subic Bay, approximately 35 miles (56 km) north of Manila Bay. The fort was named for Brigadier General Theodore J. Wint. As specified in the National Defense Act of 1935, this was one of the locations where coastal artillery training was conducted. A battery of the 60th Coast Artillery (AA) was stationed here. Now owned by Jimmy and Jocelyn McCormick.

Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act

The Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, passed on May 23, 1975, under President Gerald Ford, was a response to the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War. Under this act, approximately 130,000 refugees from South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were allowed to enter the United States under a special status, and the act allotted for special relocation aid and financial assistance.

List of allied military operations of the Vietnam War (1975)

This is a list of known military operations of the Vietnam War in 1975, conducted by the armed forces of the United States.

Military Airlift Command

For the current active command, see Air Mobility CommandThe Military Airlift Command (MAC) is an inactive United States Air Force major command (MAJCOM) that was headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Established on 1 January 1966, MAC was the primary strategic airlift organization of the Air Force until 1974, when Air Force tactical airlift units in the Tactical Air Command (TAC) were merged into MAC to create a unified airlift organization.

In 1982, the heritage of the World War II Air Transport Command (ATC) (1942-1948) and the postwar Military Air Transport Service (MATS) (1948-1966) were consolidated with MAC, providing a continuous history of long range airlift.

Inactivated on 1 June 1992, most of MAC's personnel and equipment were reassigned to the new Air Mobility Command (AMC), with a smaller portion divided between U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and the newly created Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The heritage of MAC (and its predecessor organizations) was officially consolidated into AMC in 2016.

New Life

New Life may refer to:

New Life (Meher Baba), phase of Meher Baba's spiritual life and teaching that begun in 1949

New Life Movement, civic education program initiated by Chiang Kai-shek

Operation Babylift

Operation Babylift was the name given to the mass evacuation of children from South Vietnam to the United States and other countries (including Australia, France, West Germany, and Canada) at the end of the Vietnam War (see also the Fall of Saigon), on April 3–26, 1975. By the final American flight out of South Vietnam, over 3,300 infants and children had been evacuated, although the actual number has been variously reported. Along with Operation New Life, over 110,000 refugees were evacuated from South Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War. Thousands of children were airlifted from Vietnam and adopted by families around the world.

Operation Crimp

Operation Crimp (8–14 January 1966), also known as the Battle of the Ho Bo Woods, was a joint US-Australian military operation during the Vietnam War, which took place 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Cu Chi in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam. The operation targeted a key Viet Cong headquarters that was believed to be concealed underground, and involved two brigades under the command of the US 1st Infantry Division, including the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) which was attached to the US 173rd Airborne Brigade. Heavy fighting resulted in significant casualties on both sides, but the combined American and Australian force was able to uncover an extensive tunnel network covering more than 200 kilometres (120 mi).

The operation was the largest allied military action mounted during the war in South Vietnam to that point, and the first fought at division level. Despite some success, the allied force was only able to partially clear the area and it remained a key communist transit and supply base throughout the war. The tunnels were later used as a staging area for the attack on Saigon during the 1968 Tet offensive before they were largely destroyed by heavy bombing from American B-52 bombers in 1970, ending their utility.

USS Hector (AR-7)

The USS Hector (AR-7) was a repair ship that served in the United States Navy from 1944 to 1987 and as PNS Moawin in the Pakistan Navy from 1989 to 1994.

USS Proteus (AS-19)

The third USS Proteus (AS-19) was a Fulton-class submarine tender in the United States Navy.

Proteus was laid down by the Moore Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Oakland, California, 15 September 1941; launched 12 November 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Charles M. Cooke, Jr.; and commissioned 31 January 1944, Capt. Robert W. Berry in command.

Vietnamese boat people

Vietnamese boat people (Vietnamese: Thuyền nhân Việt Nam), also known simply as boat people, were refugees who fled Vietnam by boat and ship following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 (mainly were Hoa people). This migration was at its highest in 1978 and 1979, but continued through the early 1990s. The term is also often used generically to refer to all the Vietnamese (about 2 million) who left their country by any means between 1975 and 1995 (see Indochina refugee crisis). This article uses boat people to apply only to those who fled Vietnam by boat.

The number of boat people leaving Vietnam and arriving safely in another country totalled almost 800,000 between 1975 and 1995. Many of the refugees failed to survive the passage, facing danger from pirates, over-crowded boats, and storms. The boat people's first destinations were the Southeast Asian countries of British Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. External tensions stemming from Vietnam's dispute with Cambodia and China in 1978 and 1979 caused an exodus of the majority of the Hoa people, of whom more than 170,000 fled overland into the province of Guangxi, China, from the North; the remainder fled by boat from the South. This new influx brought the number of refugees in China to around 200,000. In addition, the Vietnamese military also began expelling ethnic Hoa from Vietnam-occupied Kampuchea, leading to over 43,000 refugees of mostly Hoa descent fleeing overland to Thailand. By 1980, the refugee population in China reached 260,000.The combination of economic sanctions, the legacy of destruction left by the Vietnam War, Vietnamese government policies, and further conflicts with neighboring countries caused an international humanitarian crisis, with the Southeast Asian countries increasingly unwilling to accept more boat people on their shores. After negotiations and an international conference in 1979, Vietnam agreed to limit the flow of people leaving the country. The Southeast Asian countries agreed to admit the boat people temporarily, and the rest of the world, especially the developed countries, agreed to assume most of the costs of caring for the boat people and to resettle them in their countries.

From refugee camps in Southeast Asia, the great majority of boat people were resettled in developed countries, some in the United States and most of the remainder in Canada, Australia, France, West Germany, and the United Kingdom. One ship of refugees was rescued and resettled in Israel after neighboring Asian countries refused the refugees entry. Several tens of thousands were repatriated to Vietnam, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Programs and facilities to carry out resettlement included the Orderly Departure Program, the Philippine Refugee Processing Center, and the Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Wake Island

Wake Island (also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, 1,501 miles (2,416 kilometers) east of Guam, 2,298 miles (3,698 kilometers) west of Honolulu, 1,991 miles (3,204 kilometers) southeast of Tokyo, and 898 miles (1,445 kilometers) north of Majuro. The island is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States that is also claimed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Wake Island is one of the most isolated islands in the world and the nearest inhabited island is Utirik Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 592 miles (953 kilometers) to the southeast.

Wake Island, one of 14 U.S. insular areas, is administered by the United States Air Force under an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The center of activity on the atoll is at Wake Island Airfield, which is primarily used as a mid-Pacific refueling stop for military aircraft and an emergency landing area. The 9,800-foot (3,000 m) runway is the longest strategic runway in the Pacific islands. South of the runway is the Wake Island Launch Center, a missile launch site of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site operated by the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Missile Defense Agency. The Base Operations Support contractor at Wake is Chugach Federal Solutions, Inc. About 94 people live on the island, and access to it is restricted. Population fluctuates depending on operations being conducted by Missile Defense Agency activities.

On December 11, 1941, Wake Island was the site of the Empire of Japan's first unsuccessful attack on American forces in the Battle of Wake Island when U.S. Marines, with some US Navy personnel and civilians on the island repelled an attempted Japanese invasion, sinking two enemy destroyers and a transport. The island fell to overwhelming Japanese forces 12 days later in a second attack, this one with extensive support from Japanese carrier-based aircraft returning from the attack on Pearl Harbor's naval and air bases in Hawaii further east, sixteen days previously. Wake Island remained occupied by Japanese forces until the end of the war in September 1945.The submerged and emergent lands at the atoll are a unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.

Wake island, together with eight other insular areas, comprises the United States Minor Outlying Islands, a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. They are collectively represented by the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code UM; Wake Island itself is represented by the ISO 3166-2 code UM-79.

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