January 1, 1976 Amb. Kenneth Quinn
Ambassador Quinn was personally presented this recognition by General Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to the President, in a ceremony in the West Wing of the White House. He received this award for his exceptional role in arranging for thousands of refugees to escape from South Vietnam as the country collapsed during the war in April 1975. Ambassador Quinn was a part of the Presidential Mission sent to Saigon just four weeks before the North Vietnamese forces seized the capital on April 30th, 1975. Seeing no action by the Ambassador nor plan to evacuate refugees, Quinn put in place a secret, unauthorized plan to assist and rescue the most endangered individuals. Then returning to Washington, he personally requested and obtained the President’s approval to begin the evacuation, which eventually led to thousands of endangered persons escaping from the country.