April 26, 2013

Unclaimed: A Soldier Left Behind as MIA, Found 44 Years Later Alive

Unclaimed: A Soldier Left Behind as MIA, Found 44 Years Later Alive
 John Robertson was a soldier during the Vietnam War. He was shot down over Laos in a 1968 classified mission, declared MIA (Missing in Action) and then presumed dead. He was born in Alabama, married and had a family in the United States.

But for the past 44 years he has been living in a remote Vietnamese village with a Vietnamese wife and children.  Canadian filmaker Michael Jorgensen’s documentary Unclaimed,  introduces a slightly stooped, wiry 76-year-old man living in a remote village in south-central Vietnam who trembles with frustration or pounds his forehead when he is unable to remember his birthday or his American children’s names. He is only able to speak Vietnamese.

Unclaimed follows the dramatic quest of Vietnam vet Tom Faunce to prove that the man he was told about while on a 2008 humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia was indeed an Army “brother” who had been listed as killed in action and subsequently forgotten.  John is now back in Vietnam and has no desire to leave, having fulfilled his one wish: to see his American family once more before he dies.

Unclaimed will have its world premiere at Toronto’s 20th Hot Docs festival on April 30. It will be shown later at the G.I. Film Festival in Washington, D.C., in May.

Continue reading John's story and the making of Unclaimed at Left behind in Vietnam: John can’t understand why nobody came for him

I am definitely going to watch this as I'm very interested to see if DNA was used to prove John's identity.  It's a compelling and powerful story. And it raises many questions which I for one hope the film will address.

7 comments:

GenealogyHangout said...

OMG...he got left behind???

I can't wait to hear the whole story...hopefully we will see it in Australia. Thanks for sharing

GenealogyHangout said...

OMG...can't believe that he got left behind...

I hope to get to see the whole story in Australia...we had a lot of men fighting in Vietnam...so there is a connection to this story. How sad, thanks for sharing. Cheers!

CallieK said...

What a controversial story! One article I read says that his children refused to give DNA samples after meeting him but the film includes a reunion with his sister so there are some blood relatives to compare DNA with.

Brian Bouchard said...

There is a lot of discussion of this story. Many people believe this is not an American citizen at all and are going to great lengths to try to prove it. Do some searching on this story and you'll find a lot of controversy indeed.

Mariann Regan said...

How crushingly sad. He couldn't understand why no one came for him. His home county abandoned him, albeit unwittingly, but still. A fractured life.

Marco said...

I thought this story was found to be a hoax. Apparently, this man was a French citizen who has lived in Cambodia for a long time. I would research it a bit more to be sure that you're not being hoodwinked.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi Marco,

I'm not being hoodwinked. I stated that I had questions and that I look forward to viewing the documentary.

That will provide more insight into the situation.