Today in History: April 29

Operation Frequent Wind commenced on this date in 1975.

It was the operation to evacuate American civilians and some Vietnamese from Saigon as that city fell to the North Vietnamese Army. It marked the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

At the conclusion of two days of scrambling, some 7000 people were evacuated from Saigon by helicopter; over 50,000 were removed by fixed-wing aircraft. Almost 700 helicopter missions were flown; with no nation known as “South Vietnam” to return to, the South Vietnamese copters, some carrying U.S. insignia, were flown one-way—to U.S. ships in the South China Sea—where they were then pushed off the ships into the water to make room for more helicopters to land (photo at top). Some U.S. helicopters were ditched into the sea as well.

The surreal photos of the copters being tossed overboard, along with the photos of the hurried emergency rooftop evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, provided the final images of America’s almost two-decade-long Vietnam experience. Almost 60,000 U.S. servicemen and women died there. The total dead from the entirety of the conflict is estimated to range between 1.5 million and 4 million (military and civilians across several nations).

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Peter Mark Roget’s Thesaurus was published on this date in 1852.

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Sir Alfred Hitchcock died on this date in 1980.

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“Love is indescribable and unconditional. I could tell you a thousand things that it is not, but not one that it is. Either you have it or you haven’t; there’s no proof of it.”—Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington

Duke Ellington was born on this date in 1899. “Satin Doll,” introduced by Ellington:

Maya Deren was born on this date in 1917. Her film, “Meshes of the Afternoon” with a soundtrack added by a YouTuber:

Celeste Holm was born on this date in 1917. Rod McKuen would be 83. Dale Earnhardt would be 65.

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Toots Thielemans is 94. Willie Nelson is 83 today. Zubin Mehta is 80. Klaus Voormann is 78. Jerry Seinfeld is 62. Kate Mulgrew is 61. Daniel Day-Lewis is 59. Eve Plumb is 58. Carnie Wilson is 48. Andre Agassi is 46. Uma Thurman is 46 today.

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