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[Image 1: Department
of Defense Photo
(USMC) A150960 Marine Corps Historical Collection. Landing Zone
38 received some of the first CH-53s on 29 April. ]

[Image
2: A view from
the Alamo of
the same landing
zone, taken
while Tan Son
Nhut Air Base
burned in the
background.]

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force the following types of information: the arrival of the security force, the number of evacuees extracted, the number remaining, and the status of the evacuation helicopters. Fortunately for all concerned, contact with the ABCCC remained satisfactory throughout the operation, with two nets always functioning.38


Despite the additional communication workload, Cricket and the landing zone controllers still performed their functions and deftly controlled air operations over South Vietnam. The ABCCC would pick up control of inbound aircraft as soon as they reached landfall, and then at checkpoint Keyhole, hand them off to the Alamo and Annex controllers. They in turn would direct the flight leaders to the first available zone. If no sites were available, the helicopters would orbit near Keyhole, though instances of holding were rare during daylight hours. With nightfall approaching and the security force consolidating its position, that changed. As the pilots and controllers adjusted to the darkness and the shrinking number of landing zones, holding became routine, normally lasting no longer than five minutes.









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