2020 Scholarships

Northland Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation Scholarship

Dr Frank Budd Scholarship

Dear NVVA members and scholarship committee, 

Thank you so much for awarding me both the 2021 NVVA and Frank Budd M.D. Memorial scholarships. I will use this money to help pay for my schooling at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities next fall. I will be attending as a Biology major, with plans to attend Medical school and become a pediatrician. 

Writing these essays got me thinking about other aspects of the Vietnam War that are not exactly "mainstream" or taught in schools. Speaking with the veterans who were at the event made me truly understand how important it is to keep this history alive.

Once again, I would like to thank you all, not only for these scholarships, but also for all of your service. The service you did in Vietnam and the service you are doing for veterans in Duluth and the rest of the Northland is truly incredible.

Thanks so much for all you do, 

-Amara Carey


Trinity LaLonde

Operation Babylift Operation Babylift took place in 1975 during the close of the Vietnam war. The goal of this mission was to evacuate South Vietnamese orphans into the west as the war between North and South Vietnam intensified. The plan was first put into action by President Gerald Ford. He ordered the evacuation of young orphans from Saigon and transported them via plane to the United States. Around 3,000 young Vietnamese children were evacuated over the course of a month. Not all of the children however, were orphans. Some of these children were put onto the planes by their parents who feared for their safety if the North Vietnamese found them. Especially if the child was biracial or an offspring of an American and a Vietnamese. The first plane that was sent to the U.S., tragically crashed before it was able to land, killing about half of the children and adults onboard. From then on, a security team was to ride on each plane to ensure nothing went wrong and that there were no saboteurs onboard. The remaining planes then arrived safely to the United States with no further incidents. However, there is a long standing controversy regarding Operation Babylift. People question if this act was truly necessary or ethical considering the children were taken away from their homeland before any events actually occurred. Was it done hastily and out of fear or was it a kind and necessary act to give the children of Vietnam a better life? To get more perspective on this matter, I asked my grandfather, a Vietnam veteran about his thoughts on Operation Babylift. His opinion on this operation was that the United States “had a lot invested over there and a lot of people died”. He said the United States “felt a lot of loyalty to them” as they had fought together for a while, and Operation Babylift was a “humanitarian” act. He also stated that if some of those children were “African Americans, they would be killed”. This opinion supports the idea that Operation Babylift was a humanitarian act in which the United States and other countries worked to provide loving homes and a stable environment for the Vietnamese children to grow up in. Looking at this operation as a whole, I think it is safe to say that the intentions were honorable and the end result saved thousands of lives. Although there have been a few flaws pointed out over the years regarding how the operation was conducted, and a few complications along the way, I believe Operation Babylift was a success. The bravery and sacrifice of the countless American troops that served both during the war and that assisted in Operation Babylift will not be forgotten. The importance of this mission is reflected in the thousands of children who grew up to lead safe and successful lives around the world. Because of the love of a parent, and the willingness to lend a helping hand, the orphans from South Vietnam were saved.