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Hanoi Taxi

On January 27, 1973, Unites States agreed to a ceasefire with North Vietnam allowing withdrawal of American military forces from South Vietnam. The agreement also included the release of about 600 American prisoners of war.

On Feb. 12, 1973, three C-141 flew to Hanoi, North Vietnam, and one C-9A aircraft was sent to Saigon, South Vietnam to pick up released prisoners of war. The first flight of 40 U.S. prisoners of war left Hanoi in a C-141A, later known as the "Hanoi Taxi". From February 12 to April 4, there were 54 C-141 missions flying out of Hanoi, bringing the former POWs home, the total number of returned was 591.

The return of the nearly 600 POWs increased the polarization of public and media. A majority of the POWs returned in Operation Homecoming were bomber pilots shot down while carrying out the campaign waged against civilian targets located in Vietnam and Laos. Many viewed the freed POWs as heroes, while others were questioning if treating these men as heroes served to distort and obscure the truth about the war. Some felt these men deserved to be treated as war criminals or left in the North Vietnamese prison camps.

Many worried that Homecoming hid the fact that people were still fighting and dying on the battlefields of Vietnam and caused the public to forget about the over 50,000 American lives the war had already cost. Veterans of the war had similar thoughts concerning Operation Homecoming with many stating that the ceasefire and returning of prisoners brought zero sense of an ending or closure.

Operation Homecoming has been largely forgotten by the American public.
Ex-POW U.S. Army SGG Bobby Louis Johnson (Captured 25 Aug 68), talks with a Viet Cong official after his released by the Viet Cong to the American Military. He is one of the twenty eight American POWs released by Viet Cong on February 12, 1973
1972
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305 Media in collectionpage 4 of 4

Ex-POW, U.S. Navy LCMDR Richard D. Mullins (Captured 6 Jan 67), shakes hands with 13th Air Force Commander LGEN William G. Moore Jr. prior to boarding the C-141 Starlifter for the flight to the United States. CMRD Mullins was released in Hanoi by North Vietnam on 4 Mar 73

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: HOMECOMING Base: Clark Air Base State: Luzon Country: Philippines (PHL) Scene Camera Operator: CPT Frank J. Adinolfi Releas... more

An unidentified Navy ex-POW gets a hug from one of the many well wishers who came to the flight line to say goodbye as he leaves for United States

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: HOMECOMING Base: Clark Air Base State: Luzon Country: Philippines (PHL) Scene Camera Operator: SSGT Deal Toney Release Stat... more

Ex-POW and U.S. Air Force LCOL Donald G. Waltman (Captured 19 Sep 66) shakes the hand of Mrs. B. H. Russell, a Red Cross volunteer. She was one of the many well wishers who came say goodbye as LCOL Waltman leaves for United States. LCOL Waltman was released in Hanoi by North Vietnam on 4 Mar 73

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: HOMECOMING Base: Clark Air Base State: Luzon Country: Philippines (PHL) Scene Camera Operator: SSGT Deal Toney Release Stat... more

Artwork: "So. Pacific Psycho-Neurotic Returnee", crayon, 9" X 12". Artist: Marion Greenwood. Catalog Number: D.13.17.45. US Army Art Collection

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Country: Unknown Scene Camera Operator: Unknown Release Status: Released to Public Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files

A US Navy (USN) PETTY Officer Third Class (PO3) Aviation Structural Mechanic (AM) hold his child for the first time after returning from a six-month deployment aboard the USN Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) [not shown] in support of the global war on terrorism (GWOT)

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Subject Operation/Series: homecoming Base: Naval Station, Norfolk State: Virginia (VA) Country: United States Of America (USA) Scene Major Command Sho... more