US veteran to return Vietnam War notebook to late owner's family

By Duc Hung   March 1, 2023 | 02:28 am PT
US veteran to return Vietnam War notebook to late owner's family
U.S. veteran Peter Mathews showcases pages of a Vietnam War diary that he has held onto for 56 years. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Huyen
A U.S. veteran who has kept a Vietnam War notebook for over 50 years would return it this weekend to the family of its owner, a Vietnamese martyr in the central province of Ha Tinh.

U.S. veteran Peter Mathews is expected to come to Ha Tinh’s Ky Anh District on Saturday to return the notebook owned by Vietnamese martyr Cao Xuan Tuat, a representative of Ky Anh District said.

After Tuat's family receive the notebook, authorities would discuss about plans regarding the publication of the pages, the representative said.

The notebook is full of drawings and writings in Vietnamese that Mathews thought were songs, poetry and stories. He said he did not report the notebook to higher ups because he thought it was a simple diary, not military information.

Ha Huy My, 63, Tuat's nephew, said he and the family feel emotional, knowing his uncle's notebook would be returned.

"We would store it in the best condition possible," he said.

Mathews, 77, who lives in New Jersey, posted on social media in January that he was holding onto a 93-page notebook that belonged to a Vietnamese soldier in the Vietnam War. He picked up the notebook during a battle in Dak To in Kon Tum Province in Vietnam's Central Highlands in 1967.

After the news spread, the chairman of the Ha Tinh Fatherland Front Committee Tran Nhat Tan eventually contacted Mathews regarding the notebook. Authorities then performed verification processes and determined that the owner of the notebook was Cao Van Tuat, the content written by Tuat and his comrades.

Tuat, born in 1942, enlisted in the army in 1963 and died in 1967.

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