C5 Galaxy Crash


Flying the first mission of Operation Babylift, the evacuation of Vietnamese orphans, a C5-A had its controls damaged after the accidental loss of part of the rear doors shortly after take-off from Tan Son Nhut AB on April 4th, 1975. Attempting to make an emergency landing, the aircraft crashed, killing 155 of the 314 people on board. Security forces were then set up to supervise the following evacuations.

Capt. John T. Langford of 1936 Northwood Drive, and Capt. Keith D. Malone of 504 Walnut Ave. were two of the survivors on a list released in 1975 at Travis AFB, where the ill-fated C5 Galaxy was based. Phil Wise was one of the 2 survivors from the rear cargo area of the C-5A . At Tan Son Nhut he was asked to accompany the first Babylift flight to the US.When the cargo doors opened he saw a crew member who was hurt,went to help him and then remembers nothing else until 2 days later.

His survival is a true miracle and a testimony to faith and the human spirit.

Charles R. Work is a partner in the Regulation & Government Affairs Department, resident in McDermott, Will & Emery’s Washington, D.C. office and also was appointed by the United States District Court as guardian ad litem of the Vietnamese orphans who survived a plane crash in Saigon in 1975. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Legal Foundation.

There were approximately 40 orphan survivors of the C5 Galaxy crash.


Connect with others realated to the C5 Galaxy Crash

  • Bud Traynor has also started a new Facebook Group called ‘C-5A Galaxy BABYLIFT Crash’ that has managed to put together a range of info and survivors: www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_31158998509
  • Heather is a fellow survivor adoptee and welcomes contacts from other C5 survivors. She is based in Canada. Email: heather@freecouch.com
  • Maria Persson is also an adoptee who survived the crash during Operation babylift. She now lives in Sweden. Email: prssn_mr@yahoo.co.uk
  • Jerry is a non-adopted American who lost his father, a crew member killed on the C-5 that crashed 4 April1975, has written to AVI. He would like to meet some of the orphans that survived the crash. If you would like to make contact with him please email Jerry at: JJohnso4@ETHUS.JNJ.com
  • Read more about Safi’s story . Excerpt: “Tragically, this was to be an ill fated trip. Soon after take off from Tan Son Nhut Airport, the plane crashed in a rice field. Many of the babies and care workers were killed outright. I was lucky. I was placed on the upper deck in the troop compartment, and survived. ” Full article on Safi Thi-Kim Dub’s Story AVI page.
  • Also on the web is Kelly’s story (see Air Crash Investigation – Operation Babylift episode on youtube), An American adopted Vietnamese now living in Seattle who also survived the C5 Crash.

To list your contact here email adoptedvietnamese@hotmail.com


A message from Susan McDonald

In early April 2002 we had a Memorial Service at the C5A crash site, the accident that resulted in deaths of 78 orphans, some of their caregivers (including my friends, and some of the children I had cared for). Every April 4 for the past several years we have gone to a site where much of the plane came to a stop. (The debris field was 5 miles+, I believe.) Hai, our English speaking guide was with the tour for the first time, so went the night before the service to make sure it where the crash site was. Persons living at the nearby hamlet assured him it was the place. During the service, an old gentleman from the hamlet brought us a piece of the C5A plane, which looks like it may have been insulation–flat and stained on one side, aluminum insulation sort of material on the inside. This piece was somewhat smaller than a card table.

Those who survived and might want to find out more about survivors and the wreckage that was collected for memorial purposes can contact Susanmcdo@aol.com