Operation Babylift: The Inside Story

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April 5, 2013

This list of frequently asked questions about the massive humanitarian airlift coined “Operation Babylift” has been cross-posted with the permission of its author, Lana Noone. Lana Noone it the unofficial spokeswoman and heart of the Operation Babylift (OBL) community which is comprised of the adoptive families, adopted children, and now, grand children and great-grand children, of those whose lives were changed by this amazing effort which took place during a few weeks in April of 1975. This information was taken from Lana’s website,

Byron and Lana Noone with adopted daughter

Byron and Lana Noone with adopted daughter


What was the Vietnam Babylift of 1975?

The Vietnam Babylift was a humanitarian effort that took place in April, 1975, when over 2,600 babies, toddlers and children under the age of 10 were evacuated from Vietnam to the United States, Canada, and several European countries.


Why was it controversial?

Several of the seven adoption agencies participating in Babylift did not have valid documentation regarding the adoptees’ orphan status and the paperwork was often inconsistent or incorrect.


What was the Babylift lawsuit?

The class action lawsuit that was filed in California against President Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger and others attempted to halt the adoption process. The children entered the U.S. via a parolee visa signed by President Ford and their adoptive parents had 90 days in which to complete the paperwork for their individual visas. The lawsuit attempted to halt this process.


Why did the first military Babylift airplane crash?

The first “official” Babylift airplane, a C-5A cargo plane, crashed when the rear cargo doors blew out 12 miles outside of Saigon. Due to the heroic efforts of the pilots, there were survivors of this tragedy.


Where can I go to learn more about Babylift?

There are several websites including the the Operation Babylift website,  Vietnam archives at Texas Tech University, the New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center and the Circle of Sisters/Circle of Friends archives at the University of Colorado that provide additional information about Babylift


What are the names of the Orphanages involved in Babylift?

There are several Orphanages that were involved in Babylift.

The following is a partial list, and additional Orphanages will be added in the future.

1) An Lac Orphanage

Please visit Betty Tisdale’s website via our “links” page for complete details.

Betty evacuated 200 children from An Lac during Babylift and is thesubject of a film, titled ‘The Children of An Lac”, which relates her heroic efforts.



2) Hoi Duc Anh Orphanage

185 Cong Quynh Street, Saigon

Hoi Duc Anh Orphanage was administered by Madame Le Thanh Kieu (now deceased) with volunteer assistance from American soldiers stationed at

the Phu Lam Army Communications Base.

Senator Edward Kennedy was one of the dignitaries who visited Hoi Duc Anh in the years prior to Babylift.

For additional information, please visit the Phu Lam website via our “links” page and scroll down to “Hoi Duc Anh”.


3) Friends of Children of Vietnam (FCVN) Center


Located near Tan Son Nhut Airport


4) Santa Maria Orphanage


5) Sacred Heart Orphanage


6) HOLT International Children’s Services Orphanage


7) Pere Olivier Orphanage


8) The following locations are not orphanages. However they served as temporary facilities for the children while they were in transit:

Clark Air Force Base, The Philippines


The Presidio, San Francisco, CA


Continental Care Center

Six hundred of the Babylift orphans were cared for at the Continental Care Center, Denver, CO while in transit. A Babylift commemorative plaque has been installed at this location.




Special Note:

While the following individual does not represent an orphanage, any list of Babylift locales would be incomplete without recognizing Sally Vinyard and the care she provided for many Babylift adoptees in transit via Tan Son Nhut Airport.

Sally is the central figure of Babylift, as she processed many children being evacuated from Vietnam in April, 1975. She served several tours of duty in Vietnam during the War, all in a civilian capacity and, I’m certain that, without her knowledge of “where everything was”, her compassion, heroism and integrity, Babylift would not have been accomplished.

I hope that every Babylift adoptee and family member who reads these words will understand the debt of gratitude we owe to Sally Vinyard. She is the highest example of American citizenship at it’s finest, and a true American hero.

Finally, Sally Vinyard personally located pillow cases and sheets to be used as body bags for those who died in the C5A crash on April 4, 1975.

Thirty-four of the deceased were her friends and colleagues.

She was evacuated from Vietnam on April 29. 1975, three days after the final Babylift flight.



How do I contact this website for additional information, other questions?

Please email your questions to:

I will personally answer all questions to the best of my ability.

Thank you very much,

Lana Noone

Reposted on April 5, 2013 on





  1. Kipling DOAN

    How can I get more information about the orphanage in Denver, CO.

    Would they have the documentation of my and my siblings’ adoption?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated in this search.

    Thank you kindly

    • I believe the orphanage in Denver is run by Catholic Charities. If it is the correct facility they should have records. The Catholic institutions have traditionally kept very good records.

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