Forty years later in a village in Vietnam

Canadian doc ‘Unclaimed’, premiering this week at Hot Docs, finds a lost American soldier with almost no memory of his past

Did they know? Jorgensen’s film claims the case is cloaked in an elaborate cover-up by the U.S., which allegedly knew he had resurfaced in Vietnam

APA/Getty Images

John Hartley Robertson was a ghost of history, an American soldier who vanished in a war that was not supposed to exist. And for 44 years, neither did he. Robertson was shot down over Laos on May 20, 1968, as part of a mission by a special forces unit waging a secret war beyond the borders of Vietnam. The U.S. military listed him as MIA, then in 1976, presumed dead. But a Canadian filmmaker and a Vietnam vet tracked down a man living in a remote Vietnamese village who claims to be Robertson, though he has virtually no memory of his former life, has lost his ability to speak English—and is now married to a Vietnamese woman who rescued him, gave him the identity of her husband, a slain South Vietnamese soldier, and bore him four children.

With Unclaimed, an astonishing documentary that premieres this week at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival, Emmy-winning Alberta director Michael Jorgensen follows a bizarre trail into a modern-day heart of darkness, guided by Michigan’s Tom Faunce, a traumatized Vietnam War vet obsessed with leaving no man behind, even decades after the war. It climaxes—spoiler alert—as the self-proclaimed MIA is flown to Edmonton for a rendezvous with the sole survivor of Robertson’s four siblings, Alabama’s Jean Robertson-Holley. (He was unable to enter the U.S.) She instantly confirms he’s her brother in a cathartic, tearful reunion.

“We had a small, private screening,” says Hot Docs director Chris McDonald, “and I don’t remember ever seeing an audience react like that emotionally. Afterwards, everyone was wobbly and teary—and curious. If this individual is a legitimate MIA left behind, as the family and filmmakers believe, it’s hard to overestimate what the impact might be.”

The documentary raises as many questions as it answers: it suggests Robertson’s case is cloaked in an elaborate cover-up by the U.S. military. Jorgensen says the U.S. government first became aware of the man claiming to be Robertson as early as 1991, and tried to verify his identity in 2006. But Robertson’s siblings were not informed. Then last year, before the reunion, the filmmaker says he was summoned to a meeting with an official from the U.S. military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), who told him Robertson’s sister and brother (then deceased) had offered up their DNA for testing. Jean, however, insists no one from the agency ever contacted the family.

And as the plot has thickened, this family of apolitical, devout Baptists have become unlikely whistleblowers. In a tragic twist, two weeks after embracing the man she has no doubt is “Johnny,” and proclaiming “a miracle,” Jean, along with her husband, was seriously injured in a car crash. Her daughter Gail Metcalf, who now represents the family, told Maclean’s they still haven’t heard from the government. “I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” said the retired kindergarten teacher and born-again Christian. “I love my government. I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m not looking for money or attention. But I don’t like being lied about.”

Metcalf plans to attend the April 30 premiere of Unclaimed at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival. And among the 205 titles at the festival’s 20th-anniversary edition, it’s one that festival organizers expect to make serious waves. Already it has drawn fire from the Pentagon. Contacted by Maclean’s, a Pentagon spokesperson said the JPRA never contacted Robertson’s siblings or claimed to have their DNA. He says a JPRA official met with Jorgensen only at the filmmaker’s request.

Jorgensen’s film began as a portrait of Faunce, the Vietnam war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who found Jesus and vowed to devote his life to humanitarian work. Tipped off by an ex-soldier who knew Robertson, Faunce led the filmmaker to the story. Together they made two trips to Vietnam, with a team that included interpreter Hugh Tran, an Edmonton police officer whose family had fled Saigon in 1981.

The man they discover in a remote village seems so transformed by his ordeal, and four decades of living another life, he no longer looks like an American. His gracious, humble bearing seems more like that of a Vietnamese peasant. He tells his story, via an interpreter, of being captured immediately after jumping from a helicopter that crashed during a firefight on a Laos mountaintop. “They locked me up, high in the forest, in a cage,” he says. “I was in and out of consciousness from torture and starvation. The North Vietnamese soldier hit me on the head with a stick, shouting, ‘American!’ Then he would hit me even harder; I thought I would die. I never said anything, though they beat and tortured me.”

He says he escaped after four years, hid in the woods and was found in a field by a woman who nursed him back to health and would become his wife. She registered him as a French-Vietnamese resident named Dan Tan Ngoc, borrowing her late husband’s surname and birthdate. Robertson’s special-ops unit was so clandestine, its soldiers wore no ID or dog tags, so his old identity evaporated. As for losing his ability to speak English, that’s called “second-language syndrome,” according to Martin Mrazik, a psychologist at the University of Alberta interviewed in the film. “It doesn’t surprise me,” he says. “The only way he could make sense of the world around him was by talking in Vietnamese.”

During the five days the family spent with their emotionally fragile visitor, his comprehension of English began to come back. And there were dramatic flashes of recognition. On meeting Jean’s husband, Henry Holley, Johnny remembered his brother-in-law “worked in the drug store;” no one on the team knew Holley had spent 15 years as a pharmacist. In Vietnam, when shown photos of Robertson’s two American daughters, he wept. (According to the filmmaker, the eldest daughter agreed to help confirm his identity after seeing video of him, but a week later, following talks with Gen. Ed Reeder of the U.S. special forces, she changed her mind.)

Faunce’s team built a compelling case. They even persuaded their man to have a molar extracted and sent to a U.S. forensics lab, which conducted enamel isotope tests to prove it belonged to someone who grew up in America. Also, Ed Mahoney, a former U.S. soldier trained by Robertson, joined the crew in Vietnam and recognized him immediately. “It was instantaneous,” he told Maclean’s. Mahoney, 72, was the original catalyst behind the quest. Calling Robertson a “father figure,” he says he spent 21 years searching for him, scouring everything from military records to the Library of Congress.

But you wonder why Robertson’s family doesn’t just erase all doubt with a DNA test. “It would be like me asking to prove your sibling belonged to you,” says Metcalf. “We don’t need it.” She concedes that she’d be willing to take a DNA test but has never been asked. “The government has never talked to us. I know the naysayers are going to say it’s a scam, and my answer is: why doesn’t he ask for anything?” In fact, the man she calls Johnny was happy to go back to being Ngoc with his Vietnamese family, and seeks no compensation. As for Jorgensen, he doesn’t believe he simply found what he’d hoped to find. “From a dramatic standpoint,” he says, “if that wasn’t him, boy, that would be a very interesting story. So there’s this guy in Vietnam who looks exactly like him, who walks and talks like him? Who is he?”

Metcalf’s family, like that of any MIA, receives annual updates from the military. She says they’ve included 32 bogus claims by men who said they were Robertson—“people in Vietnam trying to making money off this man”—but she says Ngoc’s claim was not among those reports, which she finds “kind of odd.” In 2004, photos of Ngoc first surfaced, and in 2006, U.S. officials subjected him to a marathon interrogation in Vietnam, she says. “He had a lot of a paranoia about anyone trying to help him,” she adds, stressing that his siblings should have been informed and invited to come along.

The filmmaker also recounts a cloak-and-dagger scene of his arranged meeting with the JPRA official at the Seattle airport in August 2012. By uncanny coincidence, after landing, Jorgensen talked to Jean for the first time by phone. “She was over the moon that John could be alive,” he recalls, “and she said, ‘I have never heard from the U.S. military.’ ” After hanging up, he says, “there’s a tap on my shoulder and the guy from the JPRA is standing there.” When the official told him that Robertson’s sister and brother had provided their DNA, Jorgensen was shocked because he’d just talked to Jean, and her brother had died the previous month. But he didn’t tip his hand. As for the Pentagon denials, Jorgensen says he has a recording of a phone call to the JPRA official that will prove the military is lying. He adds that a source “very high up” in one of three military agencies that handle MIAs told him: “We all know there are guys there. It’s not like the Vietnamese won’t let them go. We don’t want them to come back.”

Curiously, Jorgensen is leaving others to follow up the film’s loose ends. Emblematic of how documentaries have come to adopt the style of dramatic fiction, Unclaimed dwells on the emotional narrative. “If I was doing an investigative report,” says the director, “I could shake a lot of bushes, but I was afraid of coming across as conspiratorial. I just don’t think that’s very sticky.” Yet even if the answers are missing, the questions are not about to go away.




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Forty years later in a village in Vietnam

  1. Maybe he found the happiness that eludes so many people in this world of “things”.

  2. A nice thought Eric…of course somewhere a politician will stand up and contemptuously say “pfft conspiracy theorists” and all pre-programmed Americans will think “oh! Of course!” and carry on blindly.

  3. The National League of Families (they’re the ones who came up with the POW/MIA flag design and it was authorized by congress) have issued a statement:

    “Sadly, as noted in the official report, claims made … the film’s producer are false as substantiated by DNA testing and FBI fingerprint analysis.”

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/national-league-of-powmia-families/information-regarding-john-hartley-robertson-reporting-and-unclaimed/10151569836768850

    Lots of MIA groups (that actually believe there are still MIAs in nam) are calling BS on this film. Many have dealt with not only a lot of scammers and “bone sellers” but have actually dealt with the man claiming to be JHR and have found his claims lacking.

    • This is false. A DNA test was taken with his sisters hair follicles which proved he was related to his American born sister. The point of the documentary that you have obviously missed was that the government has been trying it’s hardest to prevent this from getting out – thus why you see nothing but false information. The people involved in this film have experienced hacked emails, bank accounts, and have had their phones tapped during this whole process.

      • ” A DNA test was taken with his sisters hair follicles which proved he was related to his American born sister.”

        Do you have a source on this? All articles I’ve read about the movie, it keeps saying the sister and the niece have not done a DNA test.

        “The people involved in this film have experienced hacked emails, bank
        accounts, and have had their phones tapped during this whole process.”

        Do you have a source on this?

        • Here’s the link to the official government report on this con man. DNA and fingerprints proved he wasn’t John Robertson. This documentary premiers in less than two weeks and these people are laughing at all the gullible people and the press who are so easily falling for their lies.

          http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/pwmia/S134_4/2.pdf

      • According to SoF the military acquired reference samples (mtDNA) from his brother (now dead) and one of his sisters (not clear if it’s the dead one or the one in the film). The man in the movie’s DNA was compared to these reference samples and no match was found. This is according to the DPMO. If you have another source to back your claim “A DNA test was taken with his sisters hair follicles which proved he was related to his American born sister.” you should post it. Looks, at this point, you’re entirely incorrect.

        http://www.sofmag.com/dpmo-statement-robertsonunclaimed

    • You really need to rethink posting that statement. The National League of Families is not the spokesbody for the Department of Defense, nor the final arbiter of MIA/POWs. The Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) in conjunction with Joint Personnel Accouting Agency, AF DNA Lab, and the US Army (to whom this alleged individual is responsible for) are the arbiters in this case.

      • Right. But I did not say the group is the official organization representing MIA issues. I merely note they have standing enough that their original flag was given the official nod by congress. Surely congress would not have adopted the flag of a wild-eyed crank organization.

        See my second paragraph for my point in posting the link.

  4. Baloney …
    he doesn’t have any resemblance with the picture of his … and speak VN and NO english? comme on, once you passed 14 you cannot forget your mother tongue , I know !!!!

    • He has broken English and has speaks broken Vietnamese. The American embassy said they’ve never heard such horrible Vietnamese from a 70 year old man.

      You will forget your mother tongue if you never speak it for 30 years.

    • My uncle was born and raised in Latvia. Then he came to the US and learned English.He married my aunt who didn’t speak a word of Latvian. He moved with his family to an area of the US with contact with other Latvians. Eventually, he forgot how to speak the language. It does happen.

  5. Not only the US government lied to their people, their officials also concealed their criminal act to thier people if the story is true. Huge compensation should be rewarded to this man and his family for his unselfish service to his country!

  6. When and if he is ready, let him take a DNA test and all speculation will be over. If he doesn’t, well, he sounds like a happy man to me

  7. Seriously people, do you really think that all MIA’s were accounted for, they were not. I know when my brother in-laws crew were accounted for, four years after having been missing, all we managed to get back were bone fragments, no dog tags and a picture of a skeleton outlined showing where on a body these parts would have come from. I do not for one second think we did not leave behind men that needed rescued. There were so many different wars within wars going on in Laos and Cambodia where we were not even supposed to be involved at all, the soldiers in these missions died in secrecy and America never really questioned much of anything. There were 1400 MIA/POW’s and only a small percentage were accounted for. This story makes perfect sense to me.

  8. The finger prints on file for Sgt Robertson at the FBI do not match Dang Tan Ngoc claiming to be to be the MIA.

    See PDF 2 page 7 and PDF 6 among other files at the Library of Congress concerning Sgt Robertson http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/pwmia/S134_4

    • Macsvg were not fingerprinted back then so what fingerprints are they comparing them to?

      • Do you have a source on this?

      • Every service member was fingerprinted back then. That’s not to say his are available but you come up with some goofy stuff. Why haven’t you produced the proof you were asked for? Like proof that anyone has taken a DNA test. I feel strongly there are POWs/MIAs not accounted for. Some were on special missions and knew they would never be accounted for if they die. They accepted it so what is the big deal. I had a brother missing for many months there. The only way we knew he was alive was when he walked in the door at our house. This entire story is suspect at best and just some loony yahoo trying to score big at a loony convention.

  9. I smell a CA LOC
    translation,,,MUDFISH lol

  10. GOOD FOR HIM!!! It sounds like he is happy where he is, living in a country we wrecked. Enjoy the quiet and serenity. GOD bless.

    • lots of people are now saying Vietnam is a beautiful country, and there are a lot of ex pats moving over there, living in the cities or in the country. And they are beginning to have a really good tourist area. So it may have been war torn and agent oranged for a long time, but it appears to be coming back.

      • I just came back from Vietnam as a tourist. It is a beautiful country. The people are very friendly to Americans & most think of the War as the past.

    • We did not wreck that country. The vietkong were sadistic animals who cared nothing for the rules of war. What about his American wife & children? no sympathy for the children growing up without their dad or the wife missing her husband? I am happy he survived, I am happy for him that he built a new life after such trauma. But he did have family here that sure were missing him, Parents, siblings, wife and most of all children. a sad state of affairs. I wish him peace.

      • Apparently you have little sense of history. You might want to visit the Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Min City & see what Agent Orange did to the Viet Namese people & our own soldiers. There are other museums also. We did not belong there. We invaded that country and President Eisenhower warned us not to get involved. Presidents Kennedy & Johnson didn’t listen.

  11. One person says the gentleman looks nothing like an American – he looks just like a Vietnamese. Another one says he looks just like his picture. Who’s right? I feel, too, that surely fingerprints would prove if he is the right man or not.. It’s always sad to hear of the atrocities prisoners have faced by the enemy but I keep wondering if this man escaped after four years and hid in the jungle until his present wife found him he would have enough memory to want to come home – if he wanted to come home to his first family.

    • He was a POW under the Viet-Kong. The VK were known to place protectors over POWs. If you see the film it will answer your questions.

      • QUIT referencing the film. That is the source of contention-DUHH!! Using it to make a point is just dumb. Do you believe the film that swears it has proof obama is a practacing muslim? Or the movie/people who swear the world is ending on XX date?

  12. Why are there no before and afters with this article?

  13. so sad our government would not even let him come to the US to see his family…no man left behind..bullshit…the government does what is best for the government…not what is best for the people.

    • The filmmakers were able to get him a visa to Canada and he met up with his sister. There is footage of him telling his sister a story about the first time she went on a date with her husband (who was with them). His sister knew when she saw him that he was in fact John.

      • Do you not possibly think the gubment is unsure of who he is and therefore will not give a visa to someone not known? If he were TRULY Robertson he would not need a Visa dummy. HE WOULD BE A CITIZEN!! That again shoots down your story that he is in fact Robertson with DNA proof. I happen to be from Birmingham and I think I know his family. This entire story make such little sense. Why would a United States Citizen need a Visa to come home? Please explain that to all of us.

        • You’re a fool. Obviously he’d need a visa to come into the US because he is no longer recognized as a US citizen since this country has refused to acknowledge his existence! The fact that he needs a visa doesn’t mean that he’s not actually Robertson. Go back to school and learn some logic, deduction, and reasoning.

  14. Obviously the guy does not care the less to be identified ..nor he is asking for compansation ..that is why I am sure he is THE ROBERTSON ..if he is a hoax he would have asked for the moon ..Leave the guy alone in his new frame of mind in VIETNAM ..even AMERICA REFUSED HIS ENTRY…without any DNA ..it is very clear from his face that he is not vietnamese .. .. GOD BLESS THIS~ WOMAN WHO TOOK CARE OF OUR BOY ..WHEN HIS OWN COUNTRY IS REFUSING HIS ENTRY ..AND TWISTING THE ARMS OF HIS FAMILY NOT TO GIVE THE DNA ..INSTEAD OF PUTTING HIM ON THE TOP OF THE EMPIRE STATE AND WORSHIP HIM

    • Come on human. You logic for him not wanting compEnsation is exactly what he would be demanding. The gubment would have no way to keep him from getting it. I swear your entire logic is frightening.

    • Agree, God Bless her. He is indeed a hero. Four years with the VK he deserves peace in his soul. There are more there, some who chose to stay and some who did not but found a way to build a new life through the kindness of another human being.

  15. This is just the beginning…..if you want to find hundreds of MIA’s from Nam, just visit downtown Phuket, Thailand…..they come down on their motorbikes at night and frequent the topless open bars on the back streets of the city…..I know, I was there.!!!! Seeing IS believing….they don’t and won’t come back to their country that they feel turned their back on them after the war,rather they decided to make a new life for themselves. Go and see for yourself…….

    • The country didn’t turn its back on them, Certain groups of people did. The protestors who spat on them when arriving back. I know, I saw it. I was at some rallys watching these little commies do this to our own men and women. They took the brunt for what the gubment did. Easy scapegoats for the lunatic fringe. They still exist today just not as big.

      • The country also turned their back on them. They deny that the secret missions existed. The men coming back were indeed treated poorly. There were many young Americans not in favor of the war and their disdain for the brave young men who followed rules was acceptable in a free country, just insensitive and unenlightened, though they thought of themselves as the enlightened ones.
        May peace be with him. He could not come back. The government was denying his existence. God Bless that young woman for giving Robertson a new life. How sad for his American children and wife that he was so close and yet so far.

  16. i WONDER WHY THE PENTAGON DOES NOT WANT OUR MIA BOYS BACK ..WE HAVE A SAYING ..WHICH SAY ..THEY FEAST ON THEIR MEAT ..AND THROW THEIR BONES AWAY WHEN THEY ARE FINISH

  17. I had a friend who lived in that part of Thailand that borders Laos and Cambodia. The United States was involved in some rather shady business – and some frankly was genuine and good. Men were taken over the border into both Cambodia and Laos and tortured. But also American soldiers were fighting war that spilled over into these regions. This man was abandoned largely because the US DOD doesn’t want to admit he was part of special ops units that went into Laos and Cambodia and frankly did some pretty heinous stuff. These were not nice neat little wars as they were in Europe. This is jungle and forest and rivers with every kind of poisonous thing you can think of. My hats off to the men that made it through that. But our government sent men over there to do things that haunt some of them to this day. I believe strongly this men was among them. I think that he was doing things on behalf of the country that then and now would be considered illegal. Some of these ex-military are still alive. Some could be called to the Hague to face war crimes because of what happened there – so the Pentagon has good reason to disavow any knowledge of contact with anyone. If they did anything good by contacting these families – the families will subsequently be told to shut up. They are whenever high ranking officials are involved – it’s called “national security”.

    • WHy don’t you people tell how OUR soldiers were TORTURED and KILLED? Holy Cow!! You nuts are unbelievable. Do you think for one minute that covert activities don’t exist now? Well they do. From every side of the world people are spying and sabotaging against each other. I chhose to concentrate on how our troops were treated by the enemy instead of feeling sorry for what they got. Shame on you LOONS for not doing the same. Why do you people choose to live in such a horrible place? Maybe you should move to one of those non threatening countries that all of you adore. Maybe Thailand or Vietnam. Damn, what a bunch of hypocrites and Loons!!

      • The torture of our troops is an entire other chapter. Why is it that everything must be “simple dimple dimple”? Why must there be “good guys” and “bad guys” like in the Westerns? The US weren’t the good guys and the Vietnamese the “bad guys”. Likewise the same is true in most conflicts we fight or have fought. US soldiers aren’t demons and our enemies aren’t angels. People like YOU love the American Western where “we” ride in to save the day. If there’s a nut here I dare say it isn’t me. The US has engaged in covert action since before the American Revolutionary War – when the colonies acted both for and against the British. My own family moved back and forth across the border to and from Canada so many times it’s hard to count which side of the Wars they were from – American Revolution, War of 1812 and so on. I’ve noted in your postings that you tend to run on a bit – somewhat aimlessly. The government has pointedly abandoned people in various places and this has been written about by numerous authors. That’s the nature of covert operations. You sound a little like a guy here in Texas called Ross Perot – also a bit of a nut case. Now in his ’80s he’s taken up with the religious freaks.

    • War is War. Heinous things were done by both sides. My father fought in the jungles of the South Pacific during World War II. I listened to him have nightmares my entire childhood. In those days there was no PSTD just you are back, get going. Although he escaped physical war injuries he lived with health issues from that time besides the emotional scars.

    • You’re not serious with this right? Someone said that they compared this mans fingerprints to other finger prints and so therefore case closed??? OK.

  18. POW*MIA

    YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
    (just forsaken)

  19. He’s in a much better place and has not missed a thing. Especially now that we have
    an illegal African Muslim in the oval office.

    M Hudson Vietnam Veteran. I often thought about returning and saw there was nothing for me here. A Corrupt government of corruption since LBJ. As a true Southerner all I ever wished for we 13 territories who were given our Sovereignty have it restored after the
    evil Administration IN Washington D.C. under Americas’s first Marxist Dictator Lincoln who was a Mentor of Karl Marx. Go to t he National Archives and get educated. We still suffer the same corruption that comes from the North.

    God Bless Alabama and the Heart of Dixie. “Free us from this illegal occupation. As a reminder, the South Never Surrendered. Jeff Davis never signed anything. The only surrender that ever took place was Lee surrendering his army to General Grant another
    drunken low life of that era.

    Enough said.

    • Good grief. still fighting that war? tell ya what….return all the money the federal government has spent on those UNITED STATES then maybe you will get somewhere with that. Ya take the money ya play by the rules.

    • If you believe President Obama is an “illegal African Muslim”, just come here to Honolulu & I will show you different facts. As for the rest of your diatribe, YIKES!

  20. I grew up near Fort Carson, Colorado. I graduated from high school in 1970. Everybody knows someone that “almost” went native during the war. One of my ex’s friends spent 3 years in the hills of Laos. And his supervisors would occasionally contact him to say, “Don’t go native on us.” He lived, ate and slept with a Laotian family. He didn’t want to come back.

    • what does “go native” mean?

  21. “‘As for the Pentagon denials, Jorgensen says he has a recording of a
    phone call to the JPRA official that will prove the military is lying.
    He adds that a source “very high up” in one of three military agencies
    that handle MIAs told him: “We all know there are guys there. It’s not
    like the Vietnamese won’t let them go. We don’t want them to come back.”’ What this screams Is, We do not want to spend any money on those individuals. If feels the same way as what happens to veterans under VA Care. Deny them. Make them wait. If they die we will not have to pend a dime on them. America are you proud of the way the promise is fulfilled to honor those who went in harms way for our country?

    • They didnt fingerprint macvsog guys, nor were allowed to wear tags or use usg weapons. Isotope test proved he was born in the southwest of usa and proper dna will have to be gotten from exhumed body of his father which usg should pay for and no one has asked or made money , but it has cost me multiple thousands on our visits with him and there is so much more, the film will reveal some of it , heck i havent seen it yet and i’m in it

      • “They didnt fingerprint macvsog guys”

        Claim. Source?

        “Isotope test proved he was born in the southwest of usa”

        Do you have a copy of the actual analysis? The claim is the man came from France originally. Is the test sensitive enough to distinguish? Did the test distinguish such? Were the testers even asked to eliminate the possibility of French origin? If the question posted to the researchers was “could this be from an American” that is a *very* different question than “could this be ONLY from an American?”

        ” proper dna will have to be gotten from exhumed body of his father”

        Certainly it could come from his living sister (or the sister’s daughter). mtDNA would be shared by all. JHR has at least one child (female). That child gets half the DNA from her father. Certainly a paternity test using the daughter is also possible. It’s done all the time (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/magazine/22Paternity-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).

        I don’t understand why the DNA has to come from his father and not other living candidates as outlined. Could you elaborate on your belief about this restriction?

        Also would not the DPMO, years ago, have collected reference samples from MIA families? Yes. They have been collecting such samples since 1992. Think about it. They have to test a lot of remains. It would make sense to have reference samples on file, instead of having to go to the family each time they think they’ve found bones.

        More on reference samples:

        http://www.jpac.pacom.mil/index.php?page=frs&size=100&ind=2

        Any member of JHR’s family in this tree could have, since 1992, provided a reference sample.

  22. The gov’t doesnt want to know him because they owe him 44 years of back pay.

  23. Whether anyone is alive today and at one time held in captivity has always been a debatable issue. Why would the SEnate Select Committee on powsand mias not want to have been briefed by the staff investigators they hired and then in April of 19992 the investigators prepared the brief on estimates of Americans they thought could be alive in Laos, cambodia and Vietnam. They were told to turn over their information and clean their computers so the briefing never occured. Someone surely knows what happened yet the :Truth is too powerful to admit. Plausaible deniability I guess. Pray for our missing so that the issue will be finalized.

  24. DESERTERS WON’T GET BACK PAY. ONE VERSION SAYS THAT HE WAS A GREEN BERET AND RELEASED AFTER ONE YEAR. THIS ONE SAYS THAT HE ESCAPED AFTER FOUR. TOO MANY QUESTIONS /DISCREPANCIES AND NOT ENOUGH ANSWERS/CLARIFICATIONS. MOVIE SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS FICTION. ANY SPECIAL OPS FORCES I HAVE KNOWN FROM MY 25 YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE ARE/HAVE BEEN TOO DEDICATED TO HAVE DONE THIS. “WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY”.. NAM IS STILL A NIGHTMARE FOR FOR ME.

  25. Total BS!! This is just another scam . . .! This guy has surfaced before and has been fingerprinted and interviewed. Nothing like free PR for the jerk who tossed this fiction movie together. Get a life, better yet get the facts!!!

  26. Green Beret who has exposed other fakes on the JHR hoax:

    “I have been working today on exposing some con artists trying to benefit themselves off the legacy of POW/MIAs and their families. The same scam I helped expose several years ago, You will hear and read news stories that a US POW was discovered in Vietnam with a Vietnamese wife and kids. This is not true at all, so do not get your hopes up.”

    https://www.facebook.com/donbendell/posts/10151445377613095

  27. You can ask Ms. THU UYEN of Vietnam TV to look into this case. From many years she has a TV program that deals which similar problems, reuniting many families separated by the war. Her team of competent investigators could trace the path followed by JHR from the time he was shot down, interviewing the guerillas who captured him etc…Recently, Ms. Thu Uyen’s program reunited two flyers, one American (now a retired general) and one Vietnamese who had a dogfight during the war.

  28. Sorry, unless you want to retreat into massive government conspiracy, it looks like the guy in the movie is a big fake.

    “I mean this guy was a frequent flier at our office,” the colonel said,
    his voice rising. “It totally blows my mind that he’s gotten this far.
    He forgot how to speak English and his kids’ names? Who falls for that?”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/john-hartley-robertson-fraud-unclaimed-2013-5

  29. Soldier of Fortune (which traded for a long time on MIAs still being in nam) clears up where the DNA reference sample came from:

    “The mitochondrial DNA sequences from the hair samples obtained were compared to family reference samples taken from Robertson’s brother and one of his sisters.”

    http://www.sofmag.com/dpmo-statement-robertsonunclaimed

    • Interestingly the siblings that DNA was supposedly taken from are both dead. The niece said she’d give DNA. And that stupid Colonel who can’t understand how a guy can forget his native tongue? Give me a break.

      • The sole surviving sister (1 of four siblings) is 80 years old. It’s not that incredible her other siblings have passed away.

        You may, of course, forget your native language. That’s well documented. But has it ever been documented a parent forgets the name of his children?

  30. Sure makes the book “An Enormous Crime” by former US REP Bill Hendon, (R-NC) and Elizabeth A. Stewart, whose father was a downed pilot, more believable. If you haven’t read that, it will make you sick. Look it up, and you’ll see why MSG Robertson’s tale isn’t so far fetched.

  31. So this filmmaker Michael Jorgensen must either be the most
    inept documentarian ever (Really who does not even having the sense to
    research and discover that their subject was found to be a fraud years
    ago.). Or Jorgensen is a thief and a liar. A thief for taking a bunch of
    Canadian, Alberta and arts funding to support this film hoax and a liar
    for trying to pass it off. Funny thing about it is if you look up
    Michael Jorgensen you will discover his film company name is Myth
    Merchant Films; guess he has been pushing myth’s for a while now, ha.

  32. The tooth evidence presented in the film is actually worthless. The enamel preserves isotopes present in the water and diet where the person grew up. However, the
    test assumes the person grew up in one geographic/geological area during
    the formation of the tooth. You verify this assumption by testing two
    teeth, one that formed earlier in the person’s life and one that formed
    later. If they match, then that is good evidence the person grew up in the given area.

    Note, however, the researcher was only given one tooth. There’s no way to
    eliminate the possibility the tooth formed in multiple and diverse regions, skewing the test results. The analysis does not, then, measure the isotopes contributed by one region but by two or more. The man in the film, identified by the DPMO as a Frenchman with long time residency in Vietnam, could easily have been the child of a traveling trader, diplomat, soldier, etc. The molar could have formed in multiple regions.

  33. Sorry, Mr. Theatre Critic.Family’s recent DNA test confirms Ngoc is a fraud. You were wrong.

    http://www.gofundme.com/JohnHRobertson-DNAfund

    Boom! Perhaps you should have listened to Green Berets and real journalists on the ground? Hmmmm?

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