Welcome to History Hub
Dear Ms. Ahearn,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files in the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Record Group 330) that contains several photographs relating to your inquiry. We entered the following search terms within this series of records “rescues Vietnamese," "Vietnamese refugees at sea,” and "South China Sea rescues.” The search results may be viewed here, here, and here. Please note that the photographs in this series have been digitized and can be viewed using the Catalog.
Further, a large body of photographs relating to Navy rescues of Vietnamese refugees at sea lies within the vast Navy central file segment for the 1958-1981 time period in the General records of the Department of the Navy (Record Group 428). We would suggest looking into the series titled Vis-Aid Index to the General Photographic Files of the Department of the Navy (Series GX) with corresponding negatives in the series titled General Black-and-White Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1958-1981 (Series N), General Color Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1958-1981 (Series K), and General Color Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1958-1981 (Series KN). Series GX has an extended sequence of subject categories. Among the relevant categories for this inquiry would be "Rescues" and "Vietnam-South China Sea."
Another series of records that contain photographs of rescue at sea is titled Master File Photographs of U.S. and Foreign Personalities, World Events, and American Economic, Social and Cultural Life, ca. 1953-ca.1994 in the Records of the U.S. Information Agency (Record Group 306).
Please note that some of the photographs in these series have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog. For access to the non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also searched the National Archives Catalog for any motion pictures relating to “rescue” and “Vietnamese,” “Vietnamese refugees at sea,” and “South China Sea” and “rescue.” The search results may be viewed here, here, and here. These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Motion Picture (RDSM). Please contact RDSM via email at email@example.com.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDSS and RDSM. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!