As Saigon fell in 1975, ABC News correspondent Kevin Delany worked to rescue 101 Vietnamese colleagues and their family members.
“He was always a gentleman and what he did to save our Saigon staff was heroic and amazing,” said ABC News VP Bob Murphy. “It set a standard for professional responsibility and human care that we have tried to follow ever since.”
Kevin Francis Xavior Delany, who passed away Jan. 15 in Bethesda from complications of Alzheimer’s, got his start started in journalism as a copy boy for the New York Daily News while attending the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. After a sting in the Navy, he became a reporter and later a television columnist.
He joined CBS News in the mid-1950s as a reporter/assignment editor and, later, as CBS News Correspondent in Hong Kong. During the Kennedy Administration, he took a leave of absence to work for the Peace Corps, eventually becoming Director of the East Asia and Pacific Region.
Delany, who was 87 when he died, worked at both the State Department and on Capitol Hill before returning to TV News, joining ABC News in 1971 as bureau chief in Saigon. He stayed until 1973 when he returned to Washington to head up ABC News’s coverage of Watergate. Delany returned to Saigon where, in late April 1975, the North Vietnamese entered the city. He knew he’d have to act on behalf of his Vietnamese colleagues.
“No one could predict what would happen after a North Vietnamese takeover, but everyone assumed that anyone who had worked with Americans would be dealt with harshly,” Delany wrote in 2006 in an alumni publication for Williams College. “The decision was made that ABC wished to assist all Vietnamese who had worked so earnestly and in many cases at great risk during the war years.”