Vietnam Center & Archive News and Updates
This week the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) transferred a number of naval artifacts from the SS Pioneer Commander to the Vietnam Archive. The Pioneer Commander, laid down in 1962 as the SS American Commander, participated in the evacuation of South Vietnam in March 1975 from Danang and Cam Ranh Bay. That month the Pioneer Commander and other Military Sealift Command ships evacuated over 30,000 Americans and South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians. In 1981, the Pioneer Commander was transferred to MARAD to become part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Beaumont, TX.
The Vietnam Center and Archive’s relationship with MARAD began in 2005 when staff members from the Archive traveled to Suisun Bay in California to remove canvas bunk bottoms and other artifacts off of two ships, the USNS General John Pope and the USNS General Edwin D. Patrick, as part of our Vietnam Graffiti Project.
Artifacts transferred from the Pioneer Commander include an azimuth circle, binnacle, engine order telegraphs, the builder’s plate, navigation lights, a gyro repeater, and a 14 foot-long name plate. In the coming months these items will be processed and images of the artifacts will be made available on the Virtual Vietnam Archive as part of the SS Pioneer Commander (AK-2016) Collection.
We especially want to thank the Maritime Administration for their assistance with this project.
A unique item from the Farley E. Peebles collection is now available online – an aerial photograph and a base layout plan of the Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam. The layout shows all the buildings, runways, roads, and borders of the base, and the locations of gates, towers, posts, and K-9 posts have been marked.
The aerial photo and the base layout were attached together when they were donated to the archive, but have been separated for preservation purposes. Both items are now available for viewing online as images, and the layout plan is also available as a PDF. This is just one example of the many unique items that are added to the Virtual Vietnam Archive every day.
The US Air Force turns 63 today, and the Vietnam Center and Archive staff would like to wish the Air Force a very happy birthday. We have put together this small exhibit of Air Force related items from the collections of the Vietnam Archive for everyone to enjoy.
September 1 is the beginning of the Vietnam Archive’s fiscal year and we have raised our photocopying fees and rights and reproduction prices. To see a copy of our new prices click here.
The cost of providing these services has gone up over the years and, while we try to keep our prices to a minimum, we have raised our fees to cover these increased costs. Any order received on September 1, 2010 forward will be subject to the new prices.
The Vietnam Center and Archive received a collection of artifacts and photographs from world-renowned anthropologist Gerald Hickey. Items donated include textiles, smoking pipes, swords and wood carvings from Montagnard tribes Dr. Hickey worked with in Vietnam from 1950s-1970s. Please click here for the official press release.
Photo caption: Y Bham Enoul, Rhade leader and founder of FULRO (United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races). FULRO was an organization in Vietnam and Cambodia that was established to fight for Montagnard autonomy within those nations. This photo is just one of many donated by Dr. Hickey.
Today is the Army’s 235th birthday! The Vietnam Center and Archive staff want to wish the Army and all its people a very happy day. We have put together a small exhibit commemorating this occasion. Please click here to view the display.
Today is the 35th anniversary of Saigon’s fall to the North Vietnamese army. On April 30th, 1975, the last Americans involved in the Vietnam War left Saigon in a dramatic helicopter airlift; images from this evacuation are still recognizable around the world today. To commemorate this anniversary, the Vietnam Archive has created an online exhibit detailing the events leading up to the final tumultuous days of South Vietnam.