After a U.S. veteran recently revealed he had found a notebook belonging to martyr Cao Van Tuat almost 50 years ago, the latter’s family is hoping to find his remains.
Peter Matthews, 77, who fought in the Vietnam War and now lives in New Jersey, the U.S., announced on his social media account in late January he had “found a north Vietnamese notebook, 93 pages, November 1967, during the battle of Dak To on hill 724 while with the 1st Cav” and “would like to find relatives and return it.”
It has been identified as belonging to Tuat from the central province of Ha Tinh.
Cao Thi Nong, 78, Tuat’s sister, said the family received his death certificate in 1972, and finding his remains had been her parent’s greatest wish.
“Our parents passed away more than 15 years ago and their wish was unfulfilled.”
Tuat, born in 1942, was the second child of a family in Cao Thang village, Ky Xuan Commune. He enlisted in the army in 1963, fought in the central region where he was martyred in 1967, and was buried as an unnamed soldier in a cemetery in Hoai Nhon Town, Binh Dinh Province.
A medal certification granted to Cao Van Tuat for his achievement is placed next to his soldier’s book at his nephew’s home in Ha Tinh Province, February 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
Matthews even set up a website hoping to make contact with the notebook’s owner and return to Vietnam and find him or at least hand it over to his relatives.
On January 30 Tran Nhat Tan, chairman of the Fatherland Front Committee of Ha Tinh Province, contacted Mathews.
He sent the information the American provided to authorities for verification.
In the notebook, Tuat had information about his hometown as well as the names of his parents and siblings.
Most of the content is about Tuat but there are also writings of other soldiers.
Peter Matthews holds Cao Van Tuat’s notebook at his house in the U.S., February 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Huyen
Ha Huy My, 63, Tuat’s nephew, said the family had lacked the means to search thoroughly for Tuat’s remains.
The family is grateful to Mathews for keeping his uncle’s notebook for all these years, he said.
He said he is looking forward to meeting the veteran soon to ask him more about how he had found the notebook and possibly get some clue about how to find Tuat’s remains.
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