This US soldier ‘found alive’ in Vietnam 44 years after being left behind

The Journal – by Robert Johnson

A NEW DOCUMENTARY called Unclaimed claims to introduce the world to former Army Sergeant John Robertson, lost over Vietnam in 1968 and left behind for over four decades.

The Toronto Star reports Edmonton filmmaker Michael Jorgenson found Robertson, 76, living in a rural Vietnam village stooped with age, unable to speak English, remember his birthday, or names of the children he left behind in the U.S.  

It’s a story difficult to understand considering the US military places such a priority on bringing every service member home, whenever possible.

Jorgenson told the Toronto Star that he was also skeptical when Vietnam vet Tom Faunce came to him and explained a man he’d found in Vietnam was a former “Army brother” listed as killed in action and forgotten. He says he became convinced only after going to Vietnam and meeting Robertson himself.

What he found was revealed to filmgoers in an invitation only screening of “Unclaimed” at a Toronto theatre earlier this month.

From The Toronto Star:

There is physical proof of Robertson’s birthplace, collected in dramatic fashion onscreen; a tearful meeting in Vietnam with a soldier who was trained by Robertson in 1960 and said he knew him on sight; and a heart-wrenching reunion with his only surviving sister — 80-year-old Jean Robertson-Holly — in Edmonton in December 2012 that left the audience at the Toronto screening wiping away tears.

Jorgenson encountered so much resistance from the US military making his film that he says he’s convinced one “high-placed government source” was telling the truth when he said, “It’s not that the Vietnamese won’t let him (Robertson) go; it’s that our government doesn’t want him.”

Wringing out the details and talking to Robertson’s American family seems to have been a gut-wrenching affair. The children whose names he couldn’t recall declined DNA testing at the last minute with no explanation.

None of that mattered to Roberston who says he fulfilled his wish of coming to America and seeing his kids one more time before he dies.

Robertson’s now back in Vietnam, with no desire to leave and Unclaimed opens in the USA on 12 May, at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington, DC.

– Robert Johnson

10 thoughts on “This US soldier ‘found alive’ in Vietnam 44 years after being left behind

  1. I have to wonder why the U.S. doesn’t want him back?. This gov’t should at least acknowledge that they may have made a mistake and let him decide where he wants to live. It’s embarrassing as having him listed as KIA. Could it be that they now owe him 44 years of back pay that they don’t want him back?. Joking, but but just one possibility.

    1. Our gov’t doesn’t acknowledge, or admit to their mistakes, and taking him back would mean exactly that. They want people to forget Vietnam, and all who were left there.

      1. Correct me if I am wrong but the U.S. refused monies for war reparation to Viet Nam and lost the right to the prisoners of war. Later they could have fought for the return but didn’t Mc Cain did all he could to prevent finding them. Look it up.

  2. I’m planning on seeing the film either in Washington or Toronto. I found the trailer:

    1. Hi ya Phil. I was going to watch this film before but now that I have watched that trailer of it I more than ever want to watch it. Thanks for the trailer Phil

  3. Here, believe this instead of his own sister identifying him. Here, go watch American Idol and keep your thoughts to yourself. Believe what you want to believe.

  4. This is getting more interesting by the minute. I seem to recall that we left around 300 live American POWs when we pulled in 1975. The faster America collapses and starts over from scratch the better. No jewish oligarchs allowed.

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