HOF015: Luan Van Phung

In the final days before the fall of Saigon, Nguyen Van Phung Luan and her air force pilot husband scrambled to find a way that they and their two young sons could flee the country.

Their many efforts included a night spent hiding in the Tan Son Nhat airport, a target of the North Vietnamese forces, a thwarted attempt to board a helicopter from the rooftop of their home, and a motorcycle chase through the chaotic streets as they tailed a bus convoy carrying some of the last remaining U.S. embassy personnel to the Saigon harbour. There, they joined the throng and clambered aboard a U.S. navy barge, which would take them to a nearby aircraft carrier.

Nguyen recounts the harsh conditions on the deck of the ship that was ill-equipped to provide for the thousands of refugees on board, and the harrowing moment when she watched her youngest son nearly die of thirst.