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Naval History and Heritage Command

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

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  • Boats-Ships--Amphibious Warfare Ships
  • Places--Foreign
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  • People-Places-Things--Vietnamese
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  • Evacuation
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Page 12 operation passage to freedom 
Caption: North Vietnamese refugees boarding USS Litchfield County (LST 901) at Haiphong for passage south, 1954. In total, Passage to Freedom included 74 ships and 39 transports; and carried 293,000 refugees, 17,800 Vietnamese troops, 8,135 vehicles, and 68,757 tons of cargo. (Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

Passage to Freedom

After the 1954 Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into two zones at the 17th parallel, the U.S. Navy relocated refugees, military forces, and equipment from North to South Vietnam in a humanitarian operation known as Passage to Freedom (August 1954–May 1955). Sailors built shelters and latrines, rationed food and water, controlled the spread of disease, improved sanitation, and provided medical care at ports of embarkation and on transport ships. The nearly 311,000 people who moved south formed the core of non-Communist resistance in Vietnam.