HOF139: PHAM Duc

In the final days of the Vietnam war, 18-year-old Pham Van Duc was on a navy supply ship, sailing south as, one by one, the cities along the coast were occupied by the advancing North Vietnamese army. When President Duong Van Minh announced South Vietnam’s surrender, the ship that Pham occupied joined the South Vietnamese navy fleet heading for the Philippines. Pham wasn’t ready to give up the fight. As other refugees at the American base in Guam prepared for a new life in the U.S. or Canada, he was still focused on a going back to fight for his country. Instead, he arrived in London, Ontario, in late 1975. Living with other young veterans at a time when few services or amenities were available to welcome refugees, Pham felt lost and alone. It was thanks to the support of a Canadian World War II veteran who struck up a friendship with the young men, that Pham could determine what he had to do to begin a life in Canada.