Kim Phuc "Napalm Girl"
Kim Phuc was born in Trang Bang, a small village west of Saigon. Her mother owned a successful noodle shop and her family was one of the wealthiest in the village. Kim lived with her parents and five other siblings before the attack. Her extended family also lived in the same village.
As the Viet Cong started infiltrating the village, Kim's family was often approached for supplies, shelter, or aid. Her family, wanting as little to do with the war as possible, only helped when there was no other option. ARVN forces were also patrolling her village and guarded Route 1, a large transportation road.
On the day of the attack, Kim and her family had taken shelter in the local Cao Dai Temple with several other village families and government soldiers. The soldiers overhearing an order to attack the building on the radio rushed everyone outside and towards Route 1. The ARVN plane mistakenly took the civilians running as Viet Cong and sprayed napalm down on them.
Kim was severly burned on the back of her body as the napalm stuck to her skin and burned off her clothes. With the help of her brother, Kim ran down the rest of the road where a group of journalist and photographers were waiting. Some of the journalists, including Nick Ut, who took the famous photograph "The Terror of War", poured water all over her body to try and stop the injury from worsening. Ut drove Kim and her aunt, who was also injured, to the hospital in Saigon. The bombing killed Kim's two younger cousins.
Ut took Kim to to the hospital in Saigon where she was seperated from her family for three days. The hosptial staff had placed her in a room apart from the the rest of the hospital where children are sent to die. When her parents found her, Kim was taken to Barsky hosptial, a foreign run hospital, where she stayed for thirteen months.
The Fall of Saigon, significantly affected Kim's family. Her mother's shop was now taken by Communist officials and their lands were taken from them. Her mother continued to work in Trang Bang while the rest of the family relocated to the city. Their family lived in extreme poverty and could seldom afford medicine to treat Kim. She mostly relied on ice to soothe her burns, but ice was almost too costly for the family.
As Kim grew older, her status as a war victim became known to Communist officals who used her to futher their anti-American propaganda. Kim was pulled from school to partake in interview with both domestic and foreign press. These interview were highly scrutinized and Kim could not afford to make a mistake. When Kim was offered a chance to study at a university in Cuba, she readily accepted the offer and eventually escaped to Canada with her husband.
Ngoc Anh was born in May of 1968 to a Vietnamese mother and an American soldier. Her father, who she knew as Huet, stayed in Vietnam until 1973 helping to raise her and her older siblings. After his departure and with the war coming to a close, Anh's mother began to worry about her family's safety from the communitsts. Any association with the Americans could put her family at risk, especially Anh whose blonde hair was a definite confirmation about her lineage.
Her mother sold their possesions for money and took Anh and her eight other children southward towards the US military marine merchant ships that would take them to larger cargo ships. There were many other rufugees and while boarding the cargo ship many children and elders slipped between the space of the boats and fell into the sea. The cargo ships could hold a thousand people, but many South Vietnamese military deserters pushed their way aboard with their weapons. The ship did not have enough supplies for the refugees, many of whom were sick. There were no toilets, food, or water. There were no ways to dispose of dead bodies and so they sat there until the ship docked. The atmosphere was tense as the South Vietnamese deserteres terrorized the passengers.
Anh and her family landed in the coastal city of Vung Tao, where her mother left Anh with an adoption agencies. She was flown to American where a jewish couple and their three sons adopted her. At first Anh resisted her new family and home, but eventually acclimated to her new enviornment.
At age twenty-six, Ahn flew to Danang with her husband and was reunited with her birth mother and siblings.