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Humerus reunion: Doc returns Vietnamese vet's arm

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 1, 2013 at 1:31 am •  Published: July 1, 2013

Hung, 73, said he was shot in October 1966 during an ambush about 75 kilometers (46 miles) from An Khe, his hometown in central Vietnam. After floating down a stream to escape a firefight and then sheltering in a rice warehouse for three days, he was evacuated by a U.S. helicopter to Axelrad's no-frills military hospital.

After the amputation, Hung spent eight months recovering and another six assisting American military doctors, he said. He spent the rest of the war offering private medical services in the village, and later served in local government for a decade before retiring on his rice farm.

It took a little luck for Axelrad to reunite Hung with his amputated arm. He had traveled to Vietnam last summer — partly for vacation, but also to try to find the man.

He said he wasn't sure Hung was still alive, or where to begin looking for him. Axelrad visited Hung's hometown but didn't ask for him there because he assumed he would be living in northern Vietnam.

But by chance, Axelrad met Vietnamese journalist Tran Quynh Hoa at a Hanoi hotel, and she later wrote an article in a widely read Vietnamese newspaper about his quest. Hung said his brother-in-law in Ho Chi Minh City read the article and contacted the newspaper's editors.

Hoa arranged the reunion, which was planned for Monday morning in An Khe, near the coastal city of Qui Nhon.