In April 1975, Saigon was a dangerous place. American forces had left Vietnam two years prior, and the northern and southern governments were functioning as two independent countries following the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. But peace wouldn’t last. By the early months of 1975, northern communist forces had begun making their way violently southward to depose the American-backed South Vietnamese government and “unify” the country.
Knowing his family could face imprisonment or execution if they stayed, Chau Tan Nguyen, a 40-year old lieutenant colonel and C-130 pilot in the South Vietnamese Air Force, hatched a daring plan to save his family – his wife, Mai, their 3-year-old daughter Truc, 18-month-old son Trung, Mai’s parents, Hong and Dat, and Mai’s three younger brothers, Son, Dzung, and Tuan.
Uncommon Cargo is based on the true story of the Nguyen family’s harrowing race against time to escape South Vietnam and reach freedom. It would not be without heartache, tragedy, and despair, but it is also a story of love, strength of family, and raw determination.
Much has been written about the American war experience in Vietnam, but precious little chronicles the lives of the Vietnamese families who survived it. Uncommon Cargo is the incredible story of one that did.