SAN FRANCISCO — APR 5: President Gerald R. Ford on a bus with one of the first children evacuated from Vietnam during Operation Babylift, San Francisco Airport, April 5, 1975. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/GettyImages). Operation Babylift was the mass evacuation of children ordered by President Ford from South Vietnam to the United States and other countries at the request of the Vietnamese government and non governmental organizations who ran orphanages and relief agencies toward the end of the Vietnam War. The operation ran from April 3 through 26, 1975. By the final flight out of South Vietnam, over 3,300 infants and children had been evacuated. Along with Operation New Life, over 110,000 refugees were evacuated from South Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War. Thousands of children were airlifted from Vietnam and adopted by families around the world. There was one tragedy associated with the airlift, an Air Force C-5A with orphans crashed killing 138 people, including 78 children.