Covenant Backed: The US Evacuation of Saigon to an Unknown Future in Kabul
Technical Report,25 Jun 2018,23 May 2019
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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Operation Frequent Wind was the final military-led US evacuation during the fall of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975. Over seventeen hours, 1,047 aircraft sorties flying to and from Saigon rescued 7,006 people ending the United States three decades of involvement in South Vietnam. Before the final globally televised evacuation moments, a combination of US State Department and civilian transport aircraft and ships over 45 days, extracted 130,000 South Vietnamese citizens, third-country nationals, and US State Department personnel. Understanding the military actions from Operation Frequent Wind is helpful for planners in coordinating successful future evacuations. A possible major evacuation could occur in the future if the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan collapsed. If such a collapse occurred, it is possible the US State Department and the US military would conduct an evacuation of Kabul with 20,000 US and NATO military members operating in the country as of 2017, not including extracting select Afghan citizens, third-country nationals, and US government personnel. The significance of understanding past evacuation successes and failures enables effective planning efforts to overall strengthen US national interests and its reputation in the global community. The aborted and accident-prone evacuation of Iran in Operation Eagle Claw damaged the United States reputation in the views of both domestic and world audiences. The US military supports the US State Department during evacuation operations. The US military not only plays a vital role in supplying material and personnel resources to enable or break an evacuation, but it is also a critical part in the US governments integration of evacuees into American society.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Civil Defense