Gerald Rudolph Ford
Years in Office: 1974–1977
Born: July 14, 1913
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Political Party: Republican
Vice President: Nelson A. Rockefeller
First Lady: Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Bloomer Warren
Children: Michael, John, Steven, Susan
Nickname: Mr. Nice Guy
Fast Fact: His daughter Susan held her senior prom in the White House.
Important Events During Presidency
- Assumes presidency after Richard Nixon becomes the first chief executive ever to resign from office (1974).
- Agrees to limited clemency for Vietnam draft evaders and deserters (1974).
- Grants complete pardon to Nixon; becomes first sitting president to testify before a Congressional committee when called to explain his action (1974).
- Federal campaign-finance law passes which limits contributions (1974).
- Final Americans evacuated from South Vietnam as Saigon is captured by North Vietnamese and war ends.
- U.S.–Soviet spacecraft link-up (1975).
- Two separate assassination attempts on President Ford's life fail (1975).
- Supreme Court upholds death penalty (1976).
- United States celebrates bicentennial (1976).
News Flash From Past: The War is Over
Saigon, Vietnam, April 30, 1975 — The Vietnam War ended today when General Duong Van Minh surrendered the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon to a combined force of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers.
The cease-fire agreement of January 1973, which had guaranteed the United States, in President Nixon's words, "Peace with honor", lasted less than a year. By 1974, the war had restarted. A March 1975 strategic retreat ordered by South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu quickly turned into a rout.
Sensing on April 18th that the end of the war was near, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ordered all U.S. citizens in South Vietnam to leave immediately.
Operation Frequent Wind, which ended today when the grounds of the U.S. embassy were captured, has been the largest helicopter evacuation in history. Nearly seven thousand people, including fourteen hundred Americans, have been airlifted to U.S. ships waiting offshore.
Gerald Ford was sworn in as president on August 9, 1974, just minutes after Richard Nixon's resignation took effect. "Our long national nightmare is over," Ford said after the ceremony.
For further information about President Gerald R. Ford, look in Compton's online encyclopedia (Keyword: Encyclopedia). Some of the information here courtesy: Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times (1994: Scholastic, Inc.).