Naval War College Museum and Varnum Memorial Armory Special Lecture, The Lucky Few: The Story of the USS Kirkwith Commander Hugh J. Doyle, USN (Ret.)

2 March 2020

CONTACT: Jessica Fowler, Naval War College Museum, Director of Education and Public Outreach/401-841-7276/


NEWPORT, RI— The Naval War College Museum and Varnum Memorial Armory will hold a special program in honor of 2020 Vietnam War Veterans Day. The event will be hosted at the Varnum Memorial Armory, 6 Main St, East Greenwich, RI 02818. A showing of the documentary, “The Lucky Few: The Story of the USS Kirk” will begin at 15:00 and will be followed by a question and answer session with CDR Hugh J. Doyle, USN (Ret.), former Chief Engineer of the USS Kirk during the fall of Saigon. All Vietnam Veterans will be recognized during the program and Varnum Memorial Armory Museum will be open prior to the event from 13:00 to 15:00. Museum lectures and programs are free and open to the public, and no reservations are required.

Sunday, March 29, 15:00-17:00

“The Lucky Few: The Story of the USS Kirk” with CDR Hugh J. Doyle, USN (Ret.)

As the Vietnam War reached its tragic climax in the last days of April 1975, a task force of United States (US) Navy ships cruised off South Vietnam’s coast. Their mission was to support the evacuation of American embassy personnel and military advisers from Saigon as well as to secure the safety of the South Vietnamese whose lives were endangered by the North Vietnamese victory. The Lucky

Few recounts the selfless acts of heroism of the 275 Officers and Sailors of the US Navy ship USS Kirk (DE-1087). The crew of the Kirk, trained as warriors, was suddenly forced into an unexpected role in the evacuation of refugees from Saigon. Dubbed Operation Frequent Wind it was the final act of the Vietnam War.

Commander Hugh J. Doyle, USN (Retired) served as a Surface Warfare Officer for more than twenty years. As a young Lieutenant, and the Chief Engineer on USS Kirk (DE-1087) in 1975, he took part in Operation Eagle Pull (the evacuation of Cambodia), Operation Frequent Wind (the evacuation of Vietnam), and Operation New Life (the voyage of 32 vessels of the former South Vietnamese Navy, carrying more than 33,000 refugees from Vietnam to the Philippines). CDR Doyle served as Executive Officer (XO) of the USS Fanning (FF-1076) and was promoted to Commander while attached to the Fanning. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, the former Vice President and the current Historian of the USS Kirk Association; a steam engineering specialty “hard hat” tour guide for the museum battleship, USS Massachusetts; and a weekly volunteer at the Somerset, MA headquarters of the National Association of Destroyer Veterans – Tin Can Sailors. He now resides in Middletown, Rhode Island. He is the husband of the late Judy Doyle, the father of three, and the grandfather of four wonderful grandchildren.

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