'Operation Babylift' orphans, soldiers who helped them flee Vietnam reunite after 40 years

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Vietnamese orphans airlifted to the United States in the frantic final days of the Vietnam War have been reunited with some of the soldiers who helped evacuate them.

Twenty evacuees and their adopted families took part in the reunion Saturday at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Holmdel. It marked the 40th anniversary of Operation Babylift.

Operation Babylift was authorized by President Gerald Ford in April 1975. It evacuated 2,547 children to families in the United States and allied countries as Viet Cong troops descended on Saigon.

Participants at Saturday's event dedicated a plaque inscribed with the names of 138 children, volunteers and soldiers who perished when their C-5A Galaxy crashed while headed to Clark Air Base in the Philippines.