Tuesday , May 28 2024

Ha Tinh martyr was owner of Vietnam War notebook kept by US veteran

Martyr Cao Van Tuat from the central province of Ha Tinh has been identified as the owner of a Vietnam War notebook that American veteran Peter Matthews has kept for decades.

The information of martyr Cao Van Tuat in the medal certification. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

The information of martyr Cao Van Tuat in a medal certification. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

A source of VnExpress from Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh said that based on information in the notebook, extracts, archives, lists of martyrs and information provided by witnesses and relatives, the authorities have determined Cao Xuan Tuat, who was named as the owner of the notebook kept by Mathews, was martyr Cao Van Tuat registered in Ky Xuan Commune, Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh.

“The archived martyr profile of the district matches information about Cao Xuan Tuat’s relatives recorded in the notebook,” the source said.

According to the source, the notebook belonged to martyr Tuat, but the content could have been written by many other people. In the past, soldiers often kept memories of family and friends in a notebook and handed it over to someone to keep. The agency will continue to contact Mathews and request the full content of the notebook for clarification.

Ky Anh District authorities have sent an official dispatch on the incident related to martyr Cao Van Tuat to all levels of the military for advice on the next move.

Cao Thi Nong, 78, the younger sister of Cao Van Tuat, who resides in Ky Xuan Commune, said that she realized her brother’s handwriting in many pages of the notebook. The difference from the middle name Van and Xuan came from the fact that her brother and many people liked to change their middle names in the past. Her brother is a romantic person, so he may have written his name in the diary as Cao Xuan Tuat. “Van” is a common middle name given to male children while “Xuan” means “springtime.”

Nguyen Tien Hue, a native of Ky Xuan Commune, who joined the army on the same day as Cao Van Tuat, said that he grew up with Tuat, so he understood his love for art. Sometimes in the army, Tuat often showed Hue pages written about poetry and music, so he still remembers his friend’s handwriting.

When looking at the notebook, Hue recognized some of his friend’s lines, confirming this is the writing of Tuat, and that Cao Van Tuat and Cao Xuan Tuat are the same person.

Tuat was born in 1942 as the second child of a family in Cao Thang Village, Ky Xuan Commune. He enlisted in the army in 1963, participated in battlefields from central Vietnam to the Central Highlands, died in 1967 and was buried in a cemetery in Hoai Nhon Town, Binh Dinh Province. It was not until 1972 that the family received a death notice from the unit. Over time, the file on martyr Tuat was lost, his relatives only kept his martyr’s book and medal certification.

In late January, Mathews, a 77-year-old American veteran living in New Jersey, announced on his social media account that he “found a north Vietnamese diary, 93 pages, November 1967 during the battle of DakTo on hill 724 while with the 1st Cav” and that he “would like to find relatives and return it.”

Peter Matthews and the Vietnam War diary. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Huyen

Peter Matthews and Cao Van Tuat’s notebook. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Huyen

In an interview with North Jersey reporter Megan Burrow, Mathews said he has kept the diary for 56 years, although he does not know who the owner is. He only knew that inside the notebook were the notes of a soldier named Cao Xuan Tuat, from Ky Anh District, Ha Tinh.

He set up a website with the desire to find contact as well as return to Vietnam and find the owner, or at least give it to his relatives.

“I want to find that soldier, go to his place and give him back the diary. I want closure for my past. At this age, I think it’s time to do that,” Mathews said in the interview.

On January 30, Tran Nhat Tan, Chairman of the Fatherland Front Committee of Ha Tinh, contacted Mathews via social network to discuss the matter.

Tan sent the data that the American veteran provided to the authorities for verification. Authorities later found that martyr Cao Van Tuat had information about his parents and siblings that matched the content in the notebook that Matthews is keeping.

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