Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive News and Updates

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bac Thi Pham Eaton Interview

Bac Thi Pham Eaton and Sam Eaton Christmas 1970

Bac Thi Pham Eaton was born on June 18, 1953 in Bai Cham, An Long, Vietnam. Her family suffered heavy losses and was politically divided during the Vietnam (American) war. As a young woman working in a sick bay for the U.S Navy, she met and learned English from her husband, Sam Eaton. In 1975 Bac and Sam, along with their two small children fled to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles, CA. Bac became a U.S. citizen in 1980. In 1981 the Eatons moved their family to Krum, Texas, where Bac grew and sold produce while caring for their growing family. Bac and Sam eventually went into the diamond business. The Eatons now split their time between Denton, TX and Lien Houng, Vietnam. In Lien Houng Bac enjoys her fish farm and raising fruit trees, and spending time with and employing family members whom she had been separated from for nearly twenty years. Sam and Bac both suffer effects from exposure to agent orange. Bac’s interview is now available online.

Bac & Sam Eaton. 7F-116 Gamewardens Reunion, 2006

Friday, March 2, 2012

VNCA Oral History Interviews on C-SPAN 3

As part of their American History TV Oral Histories series, C-SPAN3 will be airing a number of interviews conducted and filmed at the Pleiku-Ia Drang Veterans 40th Anniversary Commemoration held in Washington, DC, in November 2005.  The first interview in the series to be aired will be Part One of the interview with Lt. General Hal Moore, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment during the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965, and co-author of We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.

The interview will air on C-SPAN3 at 8am (ET) on Saturday, March 3rd, and again at 3pm (ET) on Sunday, March 4th, as well as at 4am (ET) on Monday, March 5th.  Part Two of the General Hal More interview will air the following weekend at 9am (ET) on Saturday, March 10th.  More interviews from the Commemoration will air over the next few months.  For a complete schedule see  The interviews will also be available on the C-Span American History TV website after they air.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview With Khuc Minh Tho

The interview of Mrs. Khuc Minh Tho, President and cofounder of the Families of Vietnamese Political Prisoners Association (FVPPA) is now available online. To listen to the interview click here. Mrs. Khuc’s is the second oral history interview conducted for the Vietnam Archive’s Vietnamese American Heritage Project.
12-15-2009 Khuc Minh Tho (far left), Ann Mallett (center)

12-15-2009 Khuc Minh Tho (far left), Ann Mallett (center)

   Mrs. Khuc  and the FVPPA have helped over 10,000 former Vietnamese political prisoners along with their families emigrate from Vietnam through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Orderly Departure Program, and has assisted these refugees in the resettlement process. Mrs. Khuc has been an advocate for political prisoners and the advancement of human rights for over 30 years.
Childhood family photo

Childhood family photo. Khuc Minh Tho is the girl in white in the front row next to the baby. Khuc's mother died shortly after this photo was taken. Khuc's youngest brother died in an accident on a boy scout trip. Khuc's father was killed in the Vietnam War. Khuc's two older brothers were sentenced to reeducation.

 After her life was tragically affected by the war in Vietnam, Khuc, a woman of great heart and determination, dedicated herself to helping others begin a new life, as she did, in the United States.  It took over a decade for her to win the release and resettlement of Vietnamese reeducation camp prisoners.  An achievement that  is a testament to her inner strength and courage.  As a child she had  been called a boy because of her strong will, but it was her determination to not give up, no matter the obstacles before her, no matter how long it took, that enabled her to win the long battle in aiding and freeing Vietnamese political prisoners and their families.

Nguyen Dinh Phuc, Khuc's first husband

Nguyen Dinh Phuc, Khuc's first husband. He was killed in the Vietnam War.

Born in 1939 in Sadec, a small village near Saigon, Khuc witnessed numerous traumatic events and lost many loved ones to the violence of the Vietnam War, including, her father, stepmother, and her husband, Nguyen Dinh Phuc. At only twenty-three years old and five months pregnant with her third child, Khuc became a young widow dedicated to helping and comforting other widows and family members of fallen South Vietnamese soldiers by assisting them in obtaining funding for their funerals, which neither the families or the government could afford.

Khuc Minh Tho, age 16

Khuc Minh Tho, age 16

Separated from her children during the fall of Saigon in 1975, Khuc anxiously awaited news of her family. She soon learned that her second husband, Nguyen Van Be, a colonel in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, along with two of her brothers, had been sentenced to reeducation. Khuc’s husband would spend thirteen years in the reeducation centers and they would never be reunited.

In 1975, with her second husband still incarcerated, Khuc immigrated to the U.S. In 1977, in order to win the release of her husband and all Vietnamese political prisoners, Khuc, along with a group of women (spouses, children, relatives, and friends of Vietnamese prisoners) founded the FVPPA in Arlington, Virginia. To learn more about the FVPPA click here. 
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aviation Month

November is Aviation Month!  To celebrate this occasion we have created a new exhibit that explores the duties and lives of the Dustoff crews.  This exhibit is available online and is accessable from this blog post or the home page.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dr. Kelly Crager’s article in SAA newsletter

The head of the Vietnam Center and Archive’s Oral History Project, Dr. Kelly Crager, has an article in the August 2009 newsletter of the Society of American Archivists Oral History Section newsletter, Dialogue. Featured articles in this month’s newsletter focus on oral history projects in Texas. Dr. Crager’s article highlights the Vietnam Center and Archive’s Oral History Project.

Posted by at 10:04 am
Labels: oral history
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ambassador Siv Interview

Photo taken by Victoria Lovelady, Public Relations Coordinator

The oral hisotry interview of Ambassador Sichan Siv is now available online. To listen to this remarkable interview click here or search the Vietnam Center and Archive’s Virtual Vietnam Archive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Interview With Ambassador Sichan Siv

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Lovelady, Senior Editor

On the morning of March 12, 2009 Ambassador Sichan Siv sat down to an interview with Head Oral Historian Kelly Crager and Vietnamese American Heritage Archivist Ann Mallett. Ambassador Siv, graciously agreed to be the first person to be interviewed for the Vietnam Archive’s Vietnamese American Heritage Oral History Project, and to be the keynote speaker during the banquet on the evening of March 14th at the 2009 Vietnam Center Conference: Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand and the Vietnam War. Crager and Mallett conducted the interview in order to record Ambassador Siv’s phenomenal story in his own words and to hear in his voice the expression, emotion, and feeling of his words that is not fully conveyed by the written word alone.
The questions Crager asked Ambassador Siv document the Ambassador’s incredible life journey of faith, hope, love, and perseverance over great adversity and loss. Throughout his life Ambassador Siv has always helped others no matter how desperate his own circumstances were. As a young man in Cambodia he worked for CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) to help refugees during the Vietnam War. After surviving the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge and losing his entire family (his mother, brother and sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law, and their children were all killed by the Khmer Rouge) he escaped to Thailand where he helped his fellow prison inmates and fellow refugees living in a Thai refugee camp by teaching English (before being placed in a refugee camp he was imprisoned for illegal entry into Thailand because he no longer had any ID or documentation). Once the Ambassador immigrated to the U.S. in 1976 he continued his humanitarian efforts and worked to help refugees from his position as Deputy Assistant to the President for Public Liaison and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Ambassador walked into the room for the interview carrying his distinctive red and black jacketed memoir, “Golden Bones: An Extraordinary Journey From Hell in Cambodia to a New Life in America,” just published eight months prior (July 1, 2008). Immediately upon seeing Ambassador Siv one is stuck by how distinguished looking he is and the air he gives of being laid back, relaxed, and comfortable in any situation. He is tall, athletic, and looks younger than his actual age, one would not guess that he had just celebrated his 61st birthday less than two weeks prior to the interview. Siv walks with an agility and grace that belies that his legs were severely wounded by pungi sticks when he fell into a booby trap while fleeing Cambodia, and that he had been malnourished and starved for nearly a year in a Khmer Rouge slave labor camp. His eyes, smile, and jokes reveal a genuine kind and caring spirit. The Ambassador is an eloquent and gifted speaker, extremely intelligent and observant, and speaks many languages.
Crager began the interview of Ambassador Siv by asking the Ambassador about his beginnings, his childhood in Cambodia, and ended with accounts of his experiences as a U.S. Ambassadaor to the UN. Ambassador Siv was born on March 1, 1948 (year of the Boar 2490) in Phochentong (his father’s village) under a full moon. (Sichan means “beautiful moon.”)

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Lovelady, Senior Editor

Left to Right (Ambassador Sichan Siv, Ann Mallett, and Martha Pattillo Siv)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Student Spotlight: Natalie Swindle

Natalie Swindle has worked as a graduate assistant for the Oral History Project of the Vietnam Archive since August of 2007. She came to the archive after graduating from Angelo State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. Natalie is the interview transcription editor for the OHP, and she also conducts oral history interviews with Lubbock area veterans. Originally from Kerrville, Texas, Natalie is working on a Masters of Education in Counselor Education on the community counseling track. Her long term career plan is to become a counselor for veterans.
Posted by at 11:26 am
Labels: oral history,student spotlight
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Forward Air Controllers Reunion

From 1-5 October 2008, I attended the biennial reunion of the Forward Air Controllers (FACs) of Vietnam. Held in Colorado Springs, CO, this year’s reunion centered around the dedication of a memorial to the FACs at Memorial Park, a place well known to Air Force veterans.
Forward air controllers served as the eyes of the U.S. military in Vietnam, usually piloting slow-moving, propeller-driven airplanes to observe enemy movements in the jungle, and often receiving deadly fire at low altitudes. The FACs are an amazing group of men noted for their bravery in combat, and for their maverick attitude in general. It was a real pleasure to spend several days with them, listening to their stories and getting to know them.

I was especially honored to meet Col. Bud Day, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, who also led the “Misty” FACs (those flying F-100 jets) before being shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. Colonel Day spent the remainder of the war as a POW in various prison camps, and was awarded the Medal of Honor after returning home in 1973. Colonel Day is the most heavily decorated living veteran in the United States.

Posted by at 1:17 pm
Labels: oral history,veterans' associations
Monday, September 15, 2008

Oral History Interview of Interest

We have recently posted to our Oral History web page an interview conducted with Mr. Michael Little. Little served in the Central Highlands with the 504th MP Battalion from August of 1967 until August of 1968. While in country, Little underwent a life changing experience when he developed a very close relationship with a group of Bahnar Montagnard children from a village near Pleiku. Following his departure from Vietnam in August of 1968, Little attempted to stay in contact with the children through friends in the 504th, but lost contact after the last of his buddies returned to the US. However, in 1994, after years of separation, Little was able to reconnect with his Montagnard family when the Vietnamese government opened the Central Highlands to foreign visitors. In this interview, Little recounts his experiences in Vietnam with particular focus on his continuing relationship with his Bahnar family. In addition to helping his “adopted” family, Little continues to aid the Montagnard people through his role as a board member of the Friends of Vinh Son Orphanage. Little’s story is one of a remarkable bond that could not be broken by time, distance, or the fortunes of war.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Little)

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Posted by at 3:51 pm
Labels: oral history
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