33. Myth: As South Vietnam collapsed the elite of its society fled to the United States
During the fall of South Vietnam and the collapse of Saigon, which occurred with stunning speed, refugees fled to the American ships and airbases outside of the country. Most of these refuges were the elite of South Vietnamese society, those who had supported the Americans and the fight against communism until the bitter end. Better educated and with valuable skills, they were given priority during the frantic evacuation of Saigon and during later evacuations spearheaded by the United States, to bring out refugees who had initially fled to Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other locales to escape communist persecution and imprisonment. These were the refugees who became known as the boat people, with many eventually rescued by the Americans.