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330 orphans arrive in Los Angeles

330 orphans arrive in Los Angeles

April 12, 1975: South Vietnamese and Cambodian orphans are carried from an evacuation plane at Los Angeles International Airport, held in white cardboard boxes that served as bassinets for the trip from the Philippines.

As the Vietnam War ended, staff writers Kathy Burke and Kay Cooperman reported on this evacuation flight in the April 13, 1975, Los Angeles Times:

A World Airways jumbo jet carrying 330 Vietnamese and Cambodian orphans, including one infant who died en route from Clark Air Base in the Philippines, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday morning.

Thirty-nine children aboard the plane were taken to local hospitals with a variety of ailments, including dehydration, pneumonia, measles and one case of chicken pox.

Their conditions ranged from fair to serious …

The orphans, accompanied on the plane by 154 adults, included eight doctors and 20 nurses, had been flown to Clark by about a dozen military transport flights during the last week from Saigon and Phnom Penh, according to World Airways pilot Ken Healy.

An Air Force spokesman said the Cambodian children, reportedly numbered about 50, were the first orphans flown out of that country.

The red-and-white 747 was met by a team of doctors and nurses from the county’s Medical Alert Center, which coordinated the local agencies meeting the nonstop mercy flight.

Eight Navy doctors assisted in determining which children needed immediate hospitalization.

Mayor Tom Bradley and his wife Ethel, and Supervisor James Hayes, whose district includes the airport, greeted the first children off the plane.

The sick orphans, most of them infants, were brought down the stairway in some of the 160 white cardboard boxes which served as bassinets aboard the plane…

At the end of the Vietnam War, more than 110,000 refugees — including about 3,300 children — were evacuated from Southeast Asia.

This photo by staff photographer Cal Montney was published in the April 13, 1975, Los Angeles Times.

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