Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program to Present Program about Operation Babylift, the Vietnam War’s Historic Orphan Rescue

March 11, 2009
News Release

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program will present “Operation Babylift: Saving Children from the Vietnam War,” a panel discussion and book signing commemorating the extraordinary humanitarian effort that evacuated more than 2,500 Vietnamese orphans during the final weeks of the Vietnam War. This free event will take place Monday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ring Auditorium of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Franklin Odo, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, will provide opening remarks, and Ban Tran, Vietnamese American Heritage Project committee member, will moderate the panel. Panelists will include Lana Mae Noone, Operation Babylift activist, adoptive mother and author of “Global Mom: Notes from a Pioneer Adoptive Family”; Jennifer Nguyen Noone, the final Operation Babylift baby adopted by a waiting family; Ross Meador, the then field director of Friends of Children of Vietnam who placed the first 57 orphans on board the initial evacuation flight; LeAnn Thieman, adoptive mother, speaker and author of “This Must Be My Brother”; and Philip R. Wise, a retired U.S. Air Force Sergeant who survived the tragic crash of the inaugural Operation Babylift airlift flight. A display of Operation Babylift items will be on stage during the event, including the Vietnam Babylift quilt created from remnants of clothing worn by the orphans, photos and other personal artifacts from panel members.

The Hirshhorn and Sculpture Garden is located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W.; the nearest Metrorail stops are Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza. For more information, please visit

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