US soldier returns arm to Vietnamese soldier fifty years after he took it as a souvenir

It’s just one of these stories you can’t pass up

An American army doctor who served in the Vietnam War has returned an arm he amputated to its owner, a Vietnamese soldier, 47 years after taking it.

Dr Sam Axelrad, who flew to Vietnam to meet the amputee, took the arm bones home to Houston from Vietnam in 1966 after his colleagues boiled the flesh and reconstructed the bones to give him as a souvenir.

The owner of the arm, Mr Hung, 73, said American troops shot him in the arm in October 1966 during an ambush near An Khe, the town where he now lives.

via The Telegraph

via The Telegraph

After floating down a stream to escape a firefight and then sheltering in a rice warehouse for three days, the Viet Cong fighter was evacuated by a US helicopter to a no-frills military hospital in Phu Cat, in central Binh Dinh province.

“When I was captured by the American forces, I was like a fish on a chopping-board,” he said. “They could have either killed or spared me.”

Mr Hung was stunned that someone had kept his bones for so long, but happy that when the time comes, they will be buried with him.



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  • Blokeintakapuna

    Something about an ARMy Doc giving a 2nd hand souvenir… or at least the bones of it…

  • Donovan Jackson

    Bucking fizarre.

  • johnbronkhorst

    War produces the strangest things and circumstances. But this picture shows how irrelevant even war can become, with time!

  • GregM

    The old chap looks fairly ‘armless.

    • motorizer

      You do have to hand it to him.. ….

  • Sidey

    I wonder what went through the minds of his colleagues – “I’m bored, let’s boil the flesh off the arm of this guy, just for a laugh.” The medical equivalent of cutting ears off dead soldiers in the battle field?

    Bet it made an interesting discussion piece at family gatherings!

  • opusx

    That’s just messed up!!!

  • Elitist Tory

    Kinda sums up the whole cockup in Vietnam doesn’t it?
    The US troops were fighting a war against communists, the objective being to kill them; they should have shot the bugger in the head – like they were supposed to – not the bloody arm.
    The only good communist is a dead one, in my opinion.

    • Sidey

      Or he was conscripted to defend his country. Much like any of us would do if another country invaded us. Just because he fought on that side, doesn’t automatically make him a fervent commie. Of course, he might be…

  • Betty Swallocks

    I hope the bugger who took Wussell’s brain doesn’t read this and start getting ideas