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This page is intended to guide you to primary resources about the Vietnam War and Arkansas. For help navigating these collections or to find other Arkansas-related primary resources, please contact the Archivist, Shelley Blanton.
The Arkansas Vietnam War Project
This project from the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies contains materials related to the experiences of Arkansans during the Vietnam War, both at home and on the field of battle.
CARAT (Catalog of Arkansas Resources & Archival Treasures)
The Arkansas History Commission has a large number of both primary and secondary resources available for genealogical and historical research, and its collections are always growing. Below are the History Commission’s various types of resources available for use in our research room. Keep in mind that the Arkansas History Commission’s aim is to preserve records of Arkansas history and provide access to those records to members of the public wishing to do genealogical or historical research. The History Commission cannot do research for its patrons.
Fort Smith Historical Society
This is the official site of the Fort Smith Historical Society. Organized in 1977, the Society seeks to preserve written and oral history of the Fort Smith area. The Journal, the Society's award-winning publication, is completely indexed and published in April and September.
Library faculty and staff from the UA Fayetteville, Mullins Libraries' Reference and Special Collections departments created the Index Arkansas database. Currently, the database has entries covering the 1880s to the present. Index Arkansas indexes articles and other information published in: county history journals, selected statewide magazines, and selected book titles.
Fort Smith Historical Society Journal
Digitized issues of The Journal from v.1, 1977 on. The Journal is produced and owned by the Fort Smith Historical Society. UA Fort Smith and Boreham Library host the online version as a free service to the community.
Pebley Center Collections
The Olive, Kathleen and Rosa Belle A. Pebley Historical And Cultural Center Collection was established in 2003 and focuses primarily on the early history of Fort Smith and the immediate surrounding counties. The collection, located in Room 137 of the Boreham Library, is non-circulating and may be used by the public as well as the University community.
- SE Asia Relocation Collection Box 1 & 2
- Dissertation of Perla M. Guerrero is Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies and the first core faculty member in the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland.
- Dept. of the Army action report on the Indochinese Refugee Program
- SE Asia Relocation Collection Artwork and Photographs
- SE Asia Relocation Collection Mounted Displays
- Vietnamese Interviews and Notes
- Escape to America file
- Fall of Siagon (VHS)
- Task Force Resettlement Operation (Cuban refugees)
Southeast Asian Relocation Collection
Pebley Historical and Cultural Center, Boreham Library. University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Oral History Transcription, History of Westark College
Lewis, David. Oral History Transcription, History of Westark College. April 26, 2002. Pebley Historical and Cultural Center. University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Fort Chaffee and Refugees
Relevant to Vietnamese, Laotian, and Hmong refugees housed at Fort Chaffee.
Escape to America: Evacuees from Indochina arrive in Fort Smith-1975–1979.
Wiggins, Melanie Spears. “Escape to America: Evacuees from Indochina Arrive in Fort Smith, 1975–1979.” Journal of the Fort Smith Historical Society 31 (April 2007): 14–29.
Impacting Arkansas: Vietnamese and Cuban Refugees and Latina/o Immigrants, 1975–2005
Guerrero, Perla M. “Impacting Arkansas: Vietnamese and Cuban Refugees and Latina/o Immigrants, 1975–2005.” PhD diss., University of Southern California, 2010.
Ethnicity and Arkansas.
An examination of some the minorities in Arkansas, focusing on native Americans, Japanese-Americans and the internment camps during World War II, and the Vietnamese refugees housed at Fort Chaffee in the 1980s.
Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act (1975)
Public Law 94-23 was passed in 1975 in response to the Fall of Saigon and withdrawal of American forces. This law funded the program to bring thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodia refugees to the United States.
Permanent Residency for Refugees from Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia (1977)
Public Law 95-145. An Act to authorize the creation of a record of admission for permanent residence in the cases of certain refugees from Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia, and to amend the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 to extend the period during which refugee assistance may be provided, and for other purposes.
Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act (1978, amended)
Public Law 95-549. Amends the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 to extend through September 30, 1979, 100 percent Federal funding of the Indochina refugee assistance program (IRAP), and to repeal the requirement of a four-year phase out of such program.
After action report: Operations New Life/New Arrivals, US Army support to the Indochinese refugee program, 1 April 1975 – 1 June 1976.
This Department of the Army after action report deals with the U.S. Army involvement in and support of the Indochinese refugee program. Covering the period from 1 April 1975 to 1 June 1976, it focuses on the role of the Army Staff in crisis management and other aspects of Operations New Life and New Arrivals as well as a brief account of Army support of Operation Babylift. Included in this report are sections dealing with the preparation, operation and termination of the refugee reception centers at Orote Point, Guam; Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; and Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
Task Force Resettlement Operation, After Action Report, Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, 7 May 1980-19 February 1982
A report of the refugee reception center at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, telling how the army with an active troop strength of 1,470 from Fort Sill handled a Cuban refugee population of 3,988. It describes problems that arose and shows how these problems were resolved.
Refugee Resettlement at Fort Chaffee Archival Collections
These are archival collections with materials relating to refugee resettlement at Fort Chaffee.
Helping Hand (Fort Chaffee, Ark.)
Housed at the University of Arkansas Libraries. This was a weekly newspaper published from May - December 1975 by the 50th Public Information Detachment at Fort Chaffee for the refugees housed there.
Headquarters Task Force New Arrivals after action report (interim)
Housed at the US Army Heritage & Education Center. v. 2. Phase I -- Preparation and establishment phase to Part I --v. 3. Phase II - Establishment of a throughout phase to Part I -- v. 4. Phase III - Sustaining phase to Part I -- v. 5. Phase IV - Termination and restoration phase to Part I.
Fort Chaffee: Operation "New Arrivals" records, 1975 April-Dec.
Housed at the US Army Heritage & Education Center. Contains the following types of materials: clippings, newspapers, briefings, photos.
General description of the collection: The Fort Chaffee Operation New Arrivals records include documents regarding the Public Affairs Office (PAO) effort to provide information on refugee resettlement under the Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1975 at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. Briefings, press releases, newspaper clippings and issues of the camp newspaper entitled "Dat Lanh" are found in the collection. Also present are PAO records pertaining to the resettlement operation at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
Fort Chaffee Photographs of Vietnamese and Cambodian Refugees
Housed at the University of California - Irvine Special Collections. *Some photos available online* This collection is comprised of black and white photographs and negatives taken of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees living at Fort Chaffee, a military base in Arkansas. The photographs document the daily life of the refugees, including the arrival of refugees by plane and bus, a visit from President Gerald Ford, refugee education and social activities.
The Vietnam refugee project papers, 1975-1987.
Housed at the US Army Heritage & Education Center. General description of the collection: The Vietnam Refugee Project Papers include official papers of the Vietnam Refugee Program known as "Operation New Arrivals" during 1975 at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas and Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. These papers include refugee problems, incoming/outgoing messages, situation reports, historian background notes, after action reports, summaries and congressional reports.
Philip G. Johnson papers, 1975-1978.
Housed at the US Army Heritage & Education Center. Contains: correspondence (1975-1978); Johnson's daily activity journal (1975); memorandums regarding religious activities and the Indochinese refugee program out Fort Chaffee, Ark. (1975); speech by Donald G. MacDonald, Senior Civil Coordinator at Fort Chaffee (1975); publications entitled INFORMATION ABOUT THE INDOCHINA REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM prepared and compiled by the regional office, U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, Region II for the Indochina Resettlement Conference (1975) and VIETNAMESE REFUGEE ORIENTATION HANDBOOK prepared by the Dept. of State, Interagency Task Force for Indochina 1975); and the Fort Chaffee newsletters TÂN DÂN and HELPING HAND.
American Refugee Committee Organizational records, 1978-2010
Housed at the Minnesota Historical Society Library.
Domestic and international program records, organizational files, correspondence, subject files, publications, printed material, and newspaper clippings from the American Refugee Committee (ARC), a humanitarian relief non-governmental organization, with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ARC conducts activities across the world in many regions including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, the Balkans, and many others. Included in the domestic files are records related to the committee's response to Hurricane Katrina. ARC was founded in 1978 by Neal Ball initially to handle the resettlement of refugees, mainly Cambodians, following the Vietnam War.