Fragile Delivery: Operation Babylift

The riveting story of what happened to survivors of a C-5A aircraft crash in Saigon, Vietnam.

Phil Wise on Writing Fragile Delivery
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In spring of 1975, the US government decided to save as many orphans as possible during the tumultuous fall of Saigon in the last days of the Vietnam War. On April 4, an aircraft lifted off the ground with hundreds of babies and young children crowded into its upper and lower decks, attended to by a crew of dedicated military men and women and a few civilian volunteers fleeing the chaos on the ground. Then a mysterious event occurred: A rear door blew open and the horror began 25,000 feet in the air. Fragile Delivery: Operation Babylift C-5A Crash sheds light on the doomed flight, the brave men and women involved in Operation Babylift, and one man's story of near-impossible survival in the horrifying shadow of death as the plane split violently apart in swampy rice paddies. It is the story of Flint, Michigan native Sgt. Phillip R. Wise and his decades-long quest to find the answers about the crash; bond with the children his mission saved and the few other adults who survived the flight; honor the fallen; and come to terms with why God let him live.

Sgt. Wise also tells an American story of race and class; of the nation's conflicted feelings about the Vietnam War and the men and women who fought it; and of love and redemption. The book takes the reader along a determined black child's path to accomplishment from the early 1950s through his decision to enlist in the United States Air Force in 1970, and beyond. Sgt. Wise weaves a tale with incredible detail and fact, sorrow and laughter that keeps the reader rooting for him all the way.

Fragile Delivery not only shows what happened to many of the frightened, vulnerable children after they were adopted; the book delivers a fascinating account of a critical moment in American history few of us understand or dare to remember. And it introduces us to Phil Wise, a man worth meeting; a real-life hero who lives life with the driven purpose of one who knows God spared him for a reason.

About Phillip R. Wise

Phillip R. Wise was born in Hanford, California and raised in Flint, Michigan. After graduating from Southwestern High School he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served as a Medical Technician in Vietnam and was aboard the ill fated first flight in Operation Babylift which was ordered by President Ford to evacuate the Ameri-asian orphans at the fall of Saigon. Phil was the only surviving crewmember that was in the cargo hold where hundreds died. After his retirement from the USAF, Phil graduated from Mott Community College and joined the US postal service. He appeared on the ABC News Magazine 20/20 and shared his Babylift story. Years later Phil began to reunite with the Operation Babylift kids who did make it out on subsequent flights.

He began to share his Operation Babylift story and became a sought after speaker at events including The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and the University of Michigan Flint. Phil decided to share his story with the world as he became the proud published author of Fragile Delivery: The Operation Babylift C-5A Galaxy Crash. Phil has a deep devotion to his family and still resides in Flint, Michigan with his wife, Tess and their dog Chloe.
Phillip Wise Photo