Babies Named After “This Girl Tron”

Tron, Vietnamese girl, wooden leg, LIFE magazine, 1968Viet, Hoang, Phuong, and other Vietnamese baby names flooded onto the U.S. baby name charts in 1975, thanks to an influx of refugees.

But the female name Tron arrived conspicuously early, in 1969:

  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 7 baby girls named Tron
  • 1968: unlisted

Then it fell off the list again, making it a one-hit wonder.*

Where did Tron come from?

A 12-year-old Vietnamese amputee named Nguyen Thi Tron, who was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine in November of 1968. The cover showed Tron watching her new wooden leg being made at a government rehabilitation center in Saigon.

She and two friends, Nhien and Hai, had wandered into a “free-fire zone” to collect firewood and wild vegetables when an American helicopter happened to fly by and open fire. Nhien took shelter under an oxcart, but Hai got shot in the abdomen (she later recovered) and Tron in the leg.

I’m not sure what became of Tron. Her own view of the future was bleak (“I have only one leg. I can do nothing.”) but she did aspire to become a seamstress one day.

Regardless, her name lives on via the baby name charts. In fact, “Tron” is likely the first name to debut on the U.S. charts in connection with the Vietnam War.

*It was a one-hit wonder as a female name only. As a male name, Tron has appeared in the SSA data dozens of times.

Source: Moser, Dan. “The Edge of Peace.” LIFE 8 Nov. 1968: 26-36.
Image: © LIFE

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