Vietnam Vets Yearn for Women, Kids Left Behind

Jim Reischl says a child he never knew could be out there
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2015 11:35 AM CDT
Vietnam Vets Yearn for Women, Kids Left Behind
In this April 29, 1975 file photo, a helicopter lifts off from the US embassy in Saigon, Vietnam during last minute evacuation of authorized personnel and civilians.   (AP Photo/File)

Four decades after the Vietnam War, Jim Reischl still remembers how her long hair fell down her back that night in a bar in Saigon. He remembers the drink he bought her—a cup of tea—and her name, Linh Hoa. He also remembers some of the last words she spoke to him before he shipped out in 1970 at age 21: "She told me she was pregnant," he tells the Washington Post. Reischl, now 67, had been warned by his Air Force superiors that it could be a trap to get him to take the sex worker back to America with him, and he never found out if it was just a line, though he's returned to Vietnam four times searching for an answer. Now in his golden years, he's one of several vets hoping to reunite with the women—and perhaps the children—they left behind in Vietnam, sometimes after lengthy relationships, with help from volunteer website

The website connected Reischl with a translator so he could place ads in local papers. He tried to find the apartment he shared with Linh Hoa and even underwent hypnosis in an attempt to remember the mailing address he threw away when she didn't respond to his letter. So far, he has no leads and only a faded old photograph he snapped from a cab. But "I will never stop looking," Reischl says. "I want her to tell me whether it’s true or not. Is there a child involved here? That's what I want to find out." Some 100,000 children were born of American fathers in Vietnam during the war, and 21,000 had moved to the US as of 2013, the New York Times reported, but only around 5% found their fathers. Hundreds still remain in Vietnam today. "We're at an age now we want to find out answers," another veteran says. "It's been in the dark for so many years. It would be nice to know before we pass away." (Read more Vietnam veteran stories.)

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