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[Image 1: Department
of Defense Photo (USMC) 7717775. Capt Robert D. Amos,Jr,,
commander of Detachment Tango (HqBn, 3d MarDiv), AESF, offers
assistance to a Vietnamese Navy dependent as she boards the
SS Green Forest.]

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been at sea for several days, survival had become their sole concern. Water,
sustenance, and survival were less pressing matters for the South Vietnamese
citizens evacuated by helicopter, but they represented only 10 percent of
the 26-30 April refugee flotilla, later called "boat people." To them the
ships of Task Force 76 represented a haven of hope and safety, and above all
else a ticket to freedom. For those Vietnamese who had been evacuated earlier
in April and by 30 April were already in Guam or the Philippines the means
of exodus may have been different, but the results would be the same; most
South Vietnamese evacuees' final Stop would be a processing center stateside
awaiting sponsorship by an American family or organization.

Many of the "boat people" as well as all of the refugees in the 29-30 April air evacuation ended their initial journey from South Vietnam on an American naval vessel. In order to place these refugees with those forces best prepared to handle them, the Navy transferred the majority of them to MSC ships. Purposely kept empty just prior to the beginning of Frequent Wind, these ships stood ready to receive the maximum number of evacuees. In fact, a post operation summary of MSC shipping revealed that just prior to the start of the major evacuation of Saigon, eight of the 12 MSC ships were empty while waiting with Task Force 76 ships in international waters off the coast of South Vietnam. The only other empty ship, the Green Forest, awaited its human cargo while at anchor off Con Son Island. On the evening of 30 April, the deluge began. Thousands of desperate South Vietnamese engulfed the MSC ships. To the Amphibious Evacuation Security Force Marines guarding these ships, the waves of approaching refugees meant the waiting was over. Their job had begun.

On 30 April, Major Quinlan, the Amphibious Evacuation Security Force commander, would report the following distribution offerees: Detachment Foxtrot and Captain Richard R. Page on the USNS Greenville Victory; Detachment India and Captain Cyril V. Moyher on Pioneer Commander, Detachment November and Captain Michael T. Mallick on the SS American Challenger, Detachment Papa and Captain Richard M. Jessie, Jr, on the SS Green Port; Detachment Sierra and Captain Edward R. Palmquist.Jr., on the USNS Sergeant Andrew Miller, Detachment Tango

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