War hero and father of the year Ben Roberts-Smith has a new mission

Australian soldier Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG has a new mission: In this special report for Sunday Night he travels to Vietnam with a group of veterans to revisit the haunting battlegrounds of Long Tan.

This is not a story about war, it is one of healing. It's also a mystery and solving it is of the greatest importance to the Vietnamese people.

This group of courageous Australians hold the key to doing just that - they have returned to Vietnam almost 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War to return treasured keepsakes and photographs to the families of fallen Viet Cong soldiers.

Diggers always kept notes, photos and trinkets to remember those who were killed beside them – even those of their enemies. Their efforts to return these last remaining items is now bringing hope and closure to many Vietnamese families.

Through Operation Wandering Souls, soldier Bob Meehan was able to help the Vietnamese as the curator of Australia's biggest private war museum.

Our troops kept accurate records of the exact location of every enemy soldier they buried. Many of the Viet Cong had identification papers so their names were also known.

So far, the burial sites of over 500 Vietnamese MIAs have been logged and the next part of this painstaking investigation was to track down their families.

"In Vietnamese culture, unless the dead are given a proper burial, their souls are said to wander for all eternity," Meehan said.

"The Wandering Souls of Vietnam include hundreds of Australian soldiers. Men who never returned. Remembered for their laughter, the spring in their step."

Watch the full story in the video above.


Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society

University of New South Wales & Australian Defence Force Academy


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