The fall of Saigon in April 1975 marked not only the end of the Vietnam War, but also the start of large-scale Vietnamese immigration to the United States. (An estimated 125,000 Vietnamese refugees were evacuated to the U.S.)
The same year, dozens of Vietnamese names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. Here are the ones I’ve spotted so far…
Viet was the top boy-name debut of 1975, and the next three boy names on the list (Hung, Nam, and Huy) ranked within the top 10.
Many other Vietnamese names — including Bao, Chinh, Dao, Giang, Huong, Khanh, Lam, Nguyet, Phuc, Quyen, Suong, Thanh, and Vuong — debuted throughout the rest of the ’70s and into the early ’80s.
One of the Vietnamese babies born at Fort Chaffee in 1975 was Dat Nguyen, who went on to become the first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL. Even though he was born in America in 1975, his name, Dat, wasn’t popular enough to appear in the U.S. data (that is, it wasn’t wasn’t given to at least five baby boys within a single calendar year) until 1979.
Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions. (“Hayle,” for instance — would you say it like Hale, or like Hailey? Or “Rise” — is it rize, or ree-sah?)