Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A young boy sits on a suitcase while his family is processed into the camp. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / The Vista Press

Belongings, still packed, sit next to a cot after a family's arrival at the camp. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Press)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / The Vista Press

Marine Corps field tents at Camp Pendleton's resettlement camp. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / The Vista Press

A woman outside a tent at the camp. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Press)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / The Vista Press

A young couple in the camp. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Press)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti

Camp residents are entertained by Rio Hondo College theater students using mime. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

Refugees wait their turn outside a trailer to sell gold at the camp. Some evacuees fled their country with gold, figuring their paper money would be worthless. (Don Bartletti / The Vista Press)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / The Vista Press

Kids use cardboard to slide down a slope. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

Refugees gather during a visit by Rio Hondo College theater students. Because of the language barrier, mime was used in the entertainment. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

A Red Cross volunteer from La Jolla prepares to immunize a refugee. (Cpl M. A. Tobiasz / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cpl M. A. Tobiasz / U.S. Marine Corps

A Marine spends his coffee break playing with a child. (Cpl J. A. Sweet / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cpl J. A. Sweet / U.S. Marine Corps

Children gather on a Sunday morning to watch cartoons. (Cpl C. M. Parish, Jr. / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cpl C. M. Parish, Jr. / U.S. Marine Corps

Kid and adults are entertained by students from Rio Hondo College in Whittier. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times

Refugees utilize new wash racks. (Cpl M. A. Tobiasz / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Cpl M. A. Tobiasz / U.S. Marine Corps

A volunteer teacher spends time with new arrivals; these kids were taught English through children's songs and nursery rhymes. (U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: U.S. Marine Corps

Marines clean out Quonset huts after a group of Vietnamese refugees had been processed out of the camp. (Maj G. L. Gill / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Maj G. L. Gill / U.S. Marine Corps

A refugee who had been a public health specialist in Saigon aids the U.S. medical staff by filling prescriptions. (Maj G. L. Gill / U.S. Marine Corps)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Maj G. L. Gill / U.S. Marine Corps

Lisa Ha Nishihara visits the grave of Tran Thi Nam at Eternal Hills Memorial Park in Oceanside. Nishihara was 5 when her 109-year-old great-grandmother died at the camp. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Grass grows tall amid decaying bleachers. Forty years ago this meadow was the site of the refugee camp. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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Vietnamese evacuees in 1975: starting from scratch

It was late April 1975 when refugee camps sprang up across the U.S. to shelter 100,000-plus Vietnamese who fled after the fall of Saigon. At Camp Pendleton, with just 36 hours’ notice, enlisted crews swept the grounds, put down plywood floors, set up hundreds of tents and thousands of cots and stocked pantries for evacuees who were unfamiliar with America’s culture and language, and even the taste of fried chicken.

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