THE EXODUS: Last Chopper Out of Saigon

"Gentlemen, start your engines." The laconic command, copied from the Indianapolis 500 auto race, echoed from the public-address system of the U.S.S. Hancock. Moments later, the commander of Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Lieut. Colonel Herbert Fix, lifted his CH-53 Sea Stallion off the deck of the aging carrier. When the other seven choppers in his squadron had left the deck, they fluttered off in a tight formation through blustery winds and dark, ominous rain clouds that hovered over the South China Sea. Operation "Frequent Wind," the emergency evacuation of the last Americans in Saigon, was under way.

The rescue operation...

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