Skip to comments.Green Beret who vanished in Vietnam War still alive?
Posted on 04/30/2013 2:41:40 PM PDT by AtlasStalled
"Unclaimed," a new documentary premiering at Toronto's Hot Docs film festival on Tuesday night, tells the story of Special Forces Green Beret Master Sgt. John Hartley Robertson, who was shot down over Laos in 1968 and was long presumed dead.
The documentary actually follows fellow Vietnam vet Tom Faunce, who heard about Robertson's whereabouts while on a humanitarian mission and wants to find him. Faunce does track down someone claiming to be Robertson in a remote village in south-central Vietnam.
* * *
Whether or not the man is indeed Robertson remains unproved. But, as the Toronto Star puts it, the film "makes a compelling case."
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Hmmmm, maybe Master Sgt. John Robertson found a hot babe and decided to stay.
Oh, come on! Not possible. Is it?
McCain is going to be angry. Can he have him executed?
“Hmmmm, maybe Master Sgt. John Robertson found a hot babe and decided to stay.”
Me love you long time?
I knew a girl who lost most of her French vocabulary after her family moved to Toronto.
The fact they didn’t do DNA testing makes me suspicious.
Oh, come on! Not possible. Is it?
I spoke pidgin Japanese as a kid, but forgot nearly all of it after we moved back stateside in the late sixties. Then again, it wasn't my native tongue.
I can see losing ones ability to fluently speak their native tongue after forty years of disuse, but forgetting it altogether? Dunno about that.
I thought all soldiers were fingerprinted. That’s what they indicate on the old cop shows.
Liberals are going to be mad. They missed spitting on one.
Kerry mysteriously vanished from Vietnam and he is still alive.
Correct. I was fingerprinted in 1967 when I enlisted. I don't know about the years before that, but by '67 we were all fingerprinted.
num 10, clean
I knew a fellow who went back to Quebec to visit his family.
They were listening to a hockey game, and he says,
“That Rondell guy is all over the ice today.”
His family was not happy with him.
***Note for those who don’t speak French. Rondell means “Puck”.
Actually it is...it’s hard to believe I know.
One reason I think that is because there are many in Vietnam who speak English and he'd have always been able to communicate with some in his own language.
I have seen that happen and it does not take long. Back in the 1980s there was this guy who was like 19 or 20 years old who had a Cambodian girlfriend and practically lived with her family as he came from a not so good family. This American spoke English with a Cambodian accent!
Oh, come on! Not possible. Is it?
When I was a kid in the 50s/60s, the only language I spoke was German. By the time I got out of high school, I could still understand some German and speak very little.
Robertson, you say?
I could not fine the name John Hartley Robinson on the Vietnam wall search engine.
I don’t know about totally losing the ability to speak English, but your language skills do degrade if you don’t use them.
Wasn’t it, “Me rove you rong time.”
Interesting. Others in this thread have made similar comments, but I think all said they were removed from their native environment as children. Robertson was 28 when he disappeared. Don't know whether that makes a difference or not...???
All I have to do is see Si and I start laughing. :-)
I call BS. It has been 12 years since I took German in High School and yet I still remember some of it. That was only 6 months of light lessons. A native language would be so etched into your brain that you would remember most if not all of it.
Hmmm... I’ve known “shut-ins” whose isolation prevents them from talking to other people much and who have actually complained of such... They can’t remember certain words and when talking often seem to cast around for the right word longer than most people their age. I’ve always attributed it to the sort of normal memory degradation people go through plus, perhaps, a little onset dementia... But maybe you guys are onto something here. Wow, you’d think certain things would never leave you, but I guess not! I better join a Bridge club and start going every day — immediately!
After a couple years in Quebec, I came home speaking English like a French-Canadian immigrant. You don't lose English; it just gets rusty from disuse.
And now, some 4 decades later, to a Quebecker, I'd sound like an American immigrant speaking really obsolete seventies slang.
I have more trust in this than I do a film maker.
And by '97 or so, we were all swabbed for DNA...
If he spent the last forty years far outside the major metropolitan areas, and never had reason to speak or hear English, then yes, he could have lost the facility to actually speak it.
As far as actually forgetting his native tongue entirely, I think that's a stretch.
As to losing ones accent, that's also hard to do, unless a person is immersed in an area where they're the only one around who has that accent. I can remember when I was a kid, that non-native Hispanic folks didn't have as strong of a Spanish accent as they do today. In my observation, that's because there weren't as many native Spanish speakers around to reinforce their native accent.
Today, I know grown Hispanic adults who were raised in this country, who have distinct Spanish accents. You never used to hear that decades ago.
Hello friend, you are a breath of sanity, thanks!
U numma won GI
You would think. But here in my northeast US city I saw an American develop a Cambodian accent when speaking English and not because he spoke Khmer at the home of his girlfriend. He knew basic words in Khmer but I spoke much more khmer than he did and had many Cambodian friends. My English accent, however, was not influenced in that way. I think the reason for that was that I had a family (mom, dad and brother) to go home to everyday while he never knew his dad and had little (if any) to do with his mom.
But still, it's hard to believe that an America living in USA could develop such an accent. But he did.
Like the Cambodian immigrants he would not pronounce the "s" at the end of plural nouns - things like that which would be impossible to fake.
He would have likely thought in English. He would have had to have been there since the age of 5 years old or younger to forget his English and even at 5 years old there would still be a little left. Much of it depends on his age when he went there.
Yes, it is possible. There have been many other cases - women captured by the Indians, etc.
Not so. I know people who came here as adolescents and young adults who have lost their native languages.
Sounds like your friend was immersed 24/7 in a Little Cambodia neighborhood for a good number of years. That’s the only possible way he could have lost his American accent while still living in this country.
I’ve known British people who’ve lived in the U.S. for decades, yet still have their native accent. Those folks were all immersed in a place where they never heard their native accent, yet they never lost their own.
Here’s one for you. My wife was born in the hollers of south-west Virginia and lived in West Palm Beach, Florida from about the age of five. A lot of Southerners will tell that Florida ain’t exactly “the South”. She moved out to California when she was 21, and we married when she was 23.
To this day, you can hear the hillbilly in her accent, though she hasn’t lived there since she was a small child.
Come to find out he was returning home (to Vietnam) after spending a couple of weeks visiting family in Texas (where he was originally from). He told me he was a Vietnam Vet who stayed behind and pulled out his wallet to show me why he stayed behind. He showed me photos of his Vietnamese wife and their children.
After all those years he still spoke with a Texan accent.
That's the strange part about it. He was only 19 or 20 at the time so he really didn't have enough time behind him to develop such an accent but I know it wasn't fake. He did spend 24/7 with the Cambodians and perhaps that and the fact that he was relatively young may have played a part in it. I always thought it was rather odd to see that happening. I think his environment and age had a lot to do with it.
I had an aunt Mary who was born and grew up here in Maine but married a WW2 Vet and moved to Chattanooga sometime in the late 1940s. Verbally she was a hillbilly by the time I was born and got to know her, even though she totally denied it. She'd poke fun of the way her kids talked and said she was glad she didn't pick up the southern talk. It was funny to hear her say that because she spoke the same as they did.
Maybe California is somewhat neutral with accents and there are so many people there from other parts of the country that there is no real dominant accent for the region which helped your wife to maintain her accent?
It's true that there are people from all over the country in California, but believe it or not, we natives really do have a unique accent. I found that out when I lived in England. When I first arrived there, I couldn't believe that every Brit I talked to, knew immediately that I was from California.
It was quite a reality adjustment for me, as I'd always felt that we Californians had sort of a bland, nothingburger accent. Thing was, I just couldn't hear it because I'm from there.
The point in my previous post about my wife's accent, is that she hadn't lived in the area that set her accent since she was a small child. West Palm Beach, Florida (where she grew up) is populated by people from all over the country, so the typical Southern accents are kind of washed out.
Nowadays, my wife's natural accent isn't as pronounced as when I first met her, but I think that has a lot to do with her spending the last fifteen years on the phone with our urbane clientele. When she gets on the phone with a real Southerner, you should hear her voice change. It's really interesting to listen to.
He started by telling me that (depending on the annexing of townships any given year) that Phoenix often times is larger in area than the city of Los Angeles. He told me that he measured it once by driving from one corner of Phoenix to the furthest away corner of Phoenix and it was something like 90 miles from point to point.
Because of the huge area he wondered why Phoenix did not have different accents like New York City does.
Then he asked me. "Did you ever notice how they speak like they're from Brooklyn in New Orleans?"
My eyebrows raised. "yes, I did. Why is that?"
He explained that there was once some kind of plague and many people died and they ended up importing a lot of Catholics from New York City to replenish the Catholic church in new Orleans and that's how the accent got there.
Not sure how true that is, but that was his explanation.
Very unlikely any adult American of the time, assuming they were educated and raised with American English and primary education in that language as their “milk tongue” would forget how to speak the language.
After reading about Georg Gartner, a German POW who escaped a prison camp in New Mexico to avoid being returned to the Soviet occupied part of Germany, I don’t doubt he could essentially forget English while immersed in another language. Gartner didn’t know English at first and didn’t speak until he felt he could without an accent, and after 40 years when he did “surrender” he had a hard time communicating in German again.
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