The Lucky Few is an hour long documentary about the story of the USS Kirk and its crew in their incredible mission to rescue Vietnamese refugees during Operation Frequent Wind in the final days of the Viet Nam War.
As the War was coming to an end on April 29th to 30th, 1975, Operation Frequent Wind airlifted about 7100 “at risk” Vietnamese (to death from the Communist Viet Cong) and American civilians out of Sai Gon, the capital of South Viet Nam. Some lifts were scheduled. Others were not. The relative American small warship USS Kirk, a destroyer escort, and its crew suddenly found themselves in the midst of a flock of unscheduled airlifts, to which it admirably accommodated even though it was neither meant nor ready to do any such thing.
Following that ordeal, it led a convoy of 32 Vietnamese Navy ships packed to the max with about 31,000 refugees to safety in the Philippines over the course of a week. That’s one ship of about 250 crew doing this work in carrying out one of the most significant humanitarian missions in U.S. military history. The crew worked tirelessly and professionally, showing as much heart and dedication as any group of people you’ll ever find. They treated the Vietnamese people with respect and dignity at a time when they needed most in leaving their country at the end of a long and brutal war.
The Lucky Few: The Story of the USS Kirk, embedded at bottom, details the amazing story of the ship and crew during Operation Frequent Wind. through reflections by people on both sides of the mission years 34 later, accompanied by many photos during the mission. If you don’t have an hour to watch it now, please come back later when you do. If you aren’t sure you want to watch it, see if the trailer below will move you more than the description I have written.
The full movie below was created (not by me) from video capture during a showing of the movie, so it isn’t a digitization of the movie itself. If I ever find one, I will replace the embedded movie below.
There is a Vietnamese introduction till 2:22, but the rest is in English, so please don’t think the film is in Vietnamese. Then there is an introduction by Vice Admiral Adam M. Robinson Jr. until 4:45 before the film begins. The initial minutes of video capture are not great as the camera angle and ability to grab the entire movie screen onto the video screen isn’t great. However, it gets better in minutes and the video capture is very watchable… aside from a few moments of people for whom the traumatic emotions and memories got to be too much for them.
But an amazing documentary, all around. I hope you will find the time to watch this film and appreciate everything about it, the people in it and the events it captured.