April 4, 1975


1975: Operation BABYLIFT/AIR FORCE CROSS: A MAC C-5 crashed in an emergency landing near Saigon, while flying the first mission in this operation. It carried South Vietnamese children and their escorts from Tan Son Nhut AB in Saigon to Clark AB. Of the 314 passengers, 176 survived the crash. 1Lt Regina C. Aune, a flight nurse aboard the C-5, ignored broken leg and other injuries to help evacuate nearly 80 children from the plane’s wreckage. She received the 1975 Cheney Award for her efforts. The pilot and copilot, Captains Dennis W. Traynor III and Tilford W. Harp, also received the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism. Despite this tragedy, the operation succeeded as C-141s and commercial planes moved 1,794 orphans from South Vietnam and Thailand to the US West Coast through 9 May. #Airlift