Thursday, December 14, 2017

USS Kirk to evacuate 30,000 refugees and one met veteran

Vietnam veteran, refugee connect 42 years after famed rescue mission

Monroe Journal
John Ward
December 13, 2017
Amory surgeon Dr. Hoat Hoang shakes hands with Vietnam War veteran David Burlison Sr. of Quincy after the two meet for the first time. Burlison was a sailor who served on a mission to rescue 30,000 refugees after the fall of Saigon, and Hoang was one of the ones saved.


AMORY – As small of a world as it is, two Monroe Countians reconnected recently more than 40 years after they ironically had the same memorable life experience half a world away. Vietnam veteran David Burlison, Sr. of Quincy was on a U.S. Navy mission on the USS Kirk to evacuate 30,000 refugees after the fall of Saigon. One of those refugees was a 6-year-old boy who grew up to be a practicing surgeon in Amory – Dr. Hoat Hoang.
“There had been stories of South Vietnam losing ground to its neighboring communist country for years,” Hoang said. “It wasn’t until the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon had fallen into the hands of the North Vietnamese that all hope was lost. Upon hearing the news, my father quickly gathered my mother and three siblings, along with our immediate family members and fled our homeland that very day. My father was in his 30s at the time, and I was the second of four children ranging from 8 years old to a young infant. My father knew that he could not live under the new communist regime, and though fleeing his home country was heart wrenching, there weren’t any other options.”
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