1st Lt. Toan 524th FS (Thien Loi) flying the A-37

Toan Duc Nguyen


On 29th April 1975 a Northrop F-5 two seater aircraft was flown from Tan Son Nhut air base by VNAF personnel escaping the North Vietnamese who were over-running the area. On board were three VNAF Majors and a Captain. One of those was Major Toan Duc Nguyen. To accommodate them all excess cockpit material was removed including the parachutes. The Northrop ejection seats were lowered. The occupants arranged themselves in each of the two cockpits with one seated and another hunched over him. Initial attempts to take off were aborted when it was thought that the drag parachute had developed, in fact the speed brakes had been left deployed. The parachute was released.  The speed brake chute problem was then realised. Finally the aircraft took off with the enemy in very close proximity to the airfield, that was under mortar, rocket  and small arms fire. It is believed that the hydraulic system was damaged making the brakes inoperable. The aircraft was flown into Thai airspace and a landing was attempted on highway 3. The aircraft landed but without brakes  or drag chute, it  was unable to stop before crashing into a tree killing all four on board.










This one was taken when he first started his flying career as an A-1 pilot (2nd Lt.)



Very few photos of Toan Nuc Nguyen exist due to the fact that they were left in Saigon during the North Vietnamese take over. Those that do survive show him during his early Air Force career. Like many other South Vietnamese at the time the family, Toan's wife and 3 years old child, Thang,  left South Vietnam to escape the North Vietnamese forces.


At some point in his career during the conflict  Toan ejected from a VNAF Northrop F-5A.

If anyone one can provide details of this ejection please contact mbenshar@aol.com

Thang Nguyen would like to hear from anyone who remembers Toan and can fill in details of his life and VNAF days. He can be reached at tdn6892@yahoo.com or via this web site.

 All photos copyright and via the Nguyen family