Lost Children of Vietnam

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Lost Children of Vietnam | Official Trailer

Aired: 2018-02-06 12:00:00 0:30 Rating: NR

Join Ann Curry for the dramatic reunions between people separated after the Vietnam War.


About This Episode

Join Ann Curry for dramatic reunions between people separated in the aftermath of the Vietnam war. Tina, born in Vietnam, searches for her American father, while Nam hopes to find the ‘Texas Cowboy’ who inspired him as a young boy to come to America.

The war in Vietnam raged for nearly two decades but the aftermath was just as devastating. When the US pulled out, millions of people’s lives were again turned upside down. Not least two small children, oblivious of the upheaval they were about to face.


Tina Nguyen

Tina was born in Saigon, one of at least 100,000 children fathered by US military personnel. Her mother Anh was Vietnamese, while her father - Henry Lamb - worked at an airbase. He was building a life with Anh when Tina was born in 1970s. But everything changed when US troops withdrew in 1973 and Henry was forced to return to the States. He was keen to take his Vietnamese family with him, but Anh could not bear to leave her parents behind. She stayed in Saigon with Tina.

Their life was tough, especially once the Communist regime took power in 1975. Tina recalls being victimised by other children because of her mixed race origins. Her mother forced her to sunbathe constantly, in an attempt to darken her skin color and make her look more Vietnamese. Despite Tina’s pleas, Anh refused to reach out to Henry – even after they finally emigrated to America in 1987 – because she didn’t feel she could intrude on his life. Four decades on, Tina has only one damaged photograph of Henry and lots of unanswered questions. Now with a family of her own, she is determined to find out what became of him.

Tina was born in Saigon, one of at least 100,000 children fathered by US military personnel. Her mother Anh was Vietnamese, while her father - Henry Lamb - worked at an airbase. He was building a life with Anh when Tina was born in 1970s. But everything changed when US troops withdrew in 1973 and Henry was forced to return to the States. He was keen to take his Vietnamese family with him, but Anh could not bear to leave her parents behind. She stayed in Saigon with Tina.

Tina's Photos


Nam Nguyen

Born in 1967 near Hanoi, Nam grew up witnessing the devastation of the war. His parents were desperate to give at least one of their children the chance of a better life, so in 1979 they made the painful decision to smuggle their resilient 12 year-old son out of Vietnam on a small fishing boat. After a violent storm, in which Nam feared he would drown, the refugees washed up on the remote Indonesian island of Pulau Buton. It was here that Nam met the man who would change his life, Gary Ferguson.

The charismatic former serviceman was using his own resources to help refugees in Asia. He spent three weeks with Nam and the refugees before persuading some of them to set sail for Singapore and a new life. But, en route, Gary was arrested by the Singapore Navy and the refugees were turned away. Although Nam didn’t speak English at the time, Gary inspired the impressionable 12-year-old. Nam wanted to be like Gary and come to America.

Eventually Nam achieved his dream and now lives in Sacramento with his wife and four sons. But he never forgot the inspirational aid worker who gave him to courage to follow his dreams and is now desperate to meet Gary again to say thank you.

Nam's Photos


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