He found it on a battlefield in 1968 and it reminded him of his service in Vietnam, of the time he was an Army Green Beret sergeant. As he was inspecting the fallen enemy soldiers, he picked up the helmet belonging to a North Vietnamese. It was after the Battle of Duc Lap in August, 1968, a battle that went on for three days.
It had a small drawing on it, more like an outline of a dove in feathered flight. which John used to show his visitors or anyone who entered his office. They didn’t find it as impressive as he did, but he understood that. He knew the dove means the same anywhere. That soldier died in the battle and his drawing was his final sign of peace.
Soon, the helmet will be returned to the family of Bui Duc Hung, the soldier who died in Vietnam. John gave the helmet to a local charity association he found, called the Development of Vietnam Endeavors, also known as – DOVE Fund.
The DOVE Fund was established by veterans and volunteers in 2000 and so far, they were able to raise over $2.3 million for medical clinics, schools and many other projects and activities in Vietnam.
A group of representatives will soon be traveling to Vietnam on their own expense, to visit the country during their three-week stay. Among the locations they will be visiting is a village in the Phu Tho province. There is where Bui Duc Hung’s descendants are currently living and where the group will deliver the soldier’s helmet.
The Fund was able to find the fallen soldier’s relatives with the help of a Vietnamese man, also a founding member of the group, who moved to America in 1974. Do Nguyen of Holland contacted a colonel in Vietnam who helped the group locate the soldier’s family, The Blade reports.
Hung’s wife and daughter both passed away, but fortunately for the group, other living relatives agreed to meet them and receive the helmet, saying they consider this gift a “gesture of peace.”
Traveling is not the best hobby for John, who will not be joining the group on their trip to Vietnam, but he is very happy to know the helmet will finally return to the boy’s family. He used to work for a biopharmaceutical company but retired a few years ago. He said that half of the things he knows so far, he learnt in 1968, during his service in Vietnam.
He served in Pleiku, Central Highlands, with the 5th Special Forces Group, the II Corps Mobile Strike Force. He also served as a medic, when of them was injured during the attacks.