By the end of April 1975 the US two years as not directly involved in the Vietnam War. Which began in March, spring offensive North Vietnamese forces proved to be successful, and it was clear, that South Vietnam remained there a few days. In connection with the approach of North Vietnamese divisions to Saigon in the middle of the day 29 April began a planned operation for the evacuation of remaining in the country, US citizens (mostly diplomatic staff). We named this operation «fitful wind».
The operation was carried out by the Marine Corps, Cycled helicopters and CH-46 CH-53 to transport evacuated Ferry 7th US Navy off the coast of South Vietnam. In addition to US citizens, evacuated and Vietnamese refugees, who wanted to leave the country in fear of the Communists came to power,. Soon, but, It becomes clear, that the evacuation of all refugees is not possible in Saigon — on the ships there was no room for so many people.
The operation ended in the morning 30 April, few hours before, as Saigon came under the control of the North Vietnamese Army. «Air bridge» I meet with no opposition from the North Vietnamese. According to non-combat reasons, one helicopter was lost (Two crew members were killed). In total, the 7th Fleet ships were evacuated 1737 US citizens and 5595 citizens of other countries (mainly Vietnamese).
Despite the success of the operation «fitful wind», in the US it has been apprehended and is still remembered with bitterness, as the sad result of an unpopular war. A symbol of US defeat in Vietnam are considered television footage, where helicopters landing ships refugee after unloading face in water, to make room for other helicopters.