Senior Master Sergeant (Ret.) Robert Clark helped raise money and obtain supplies for the China Beach Orphanage during his time as an air traffic assistant with the 366th Fighter Group at Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam, between 1971-1972. After raising funds for the orphanage, Clark realized it was still in need of help. He eventually succeeded in contracting the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Corporation to request donated medical supplies for the orphanage. “About a month later, a civilian airliner came in,” Clark said. I got a call from a very irate colonel who accused us of smuggling drugs into Vietnam. Eventually the word spread that this delivery wasn’t for the troops – it had been delivered for the orphanages.
Da Nang Air Base was overrun by the North Vietnamese in 1975. “[I miss] the orphanage at China Beach – we did a lot of work, and then to know that everyone was killed – we did the best we could while we were there,” Clark said, tears nearly brimming his eyes. “A lot of the little kids did escape though.” Thanks to the compassion and dedication of Clark and other service members, the lives of many orphan Vietnamese children were saved.