Story of U.S vet now helping VN find lost graves … ?mobi=true

I don't know if this article is of interest to any of you, but I thought I would pass it along.

As former soldier in Vietnam, thank you very  much for posting the url  for this informative and interesting article, which I will pass on to friends.

A similar project, "Wandering Souls", to assist the Vietnamese authorities locate war graves is run by Australian ex-servicemen and is reported on a 2012 youtube video at:
This project is generally set in the former Phuoc Tuy Province, now renamed Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, where most Australian troops were posted.

I have received this return email from an Australian ex-army friend:
Sadly for the Vietnamese, the Government has decided it cannot continue to look for the MIAs. So it has fallen to the Veterans Associations and private groups. I guess one can’t be too critical. But if something solid comes up there will be an official response.

From my experience with Operation Aussie Home, the chances of finding remains is pretty slim. The soil is so acidic, the bones are quickly eaten away. The two we found in the Gang Toi Mountains of Dong Nai were almost gone. Just a few big bones and smaller bones that had been protected by the boots.

I went with some 33 Regt people to a battlefield grave east of Xuan Loc. It had been bulldozed and turned into an intensive piggery. Not out of spite or anything. Just that no one knew it had been used as a grave site all those years ago. Their records are almost non-existent because they have been lost or the original burials were so poorly recorded.

Bob Hall’s database, in relation to the Wandering Souls project, is a collection of contact reports with the number of Vietnamese dead in the contact. The idea is the Vietnamese now have to extrapolate that perhaps one of those killed was buried at the contact site. Basically, the Vietnamese Veterans are waiting for families to come forward looking for their relative’s remains and they will use the database as part of the research.

The Government likes the idea of former enemies coming forward trying to help with the recovery. It’s a good piece of propaganda. And in this case in the story, I guess the US veteran’s turned out to be a valuable witness. But what they probably ended up with was a jumble of bones and without a huge effort little chance of putting the sets together. Maybe they will.

The fascinating flame outs, detours, bypasses, dead ends, and unintended consequences which together form history. Thanks, Ralphnhatrang, and thanks to your Australian friend.

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