Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Never Forgotten--Update From 1999

Flashback to 1999: TOP returned the clothing personal effect belonging to killed-in-action soldier, Marine Captain Willard Dale Marshall's surviving family. The item had been given to TOP by Captain Marshall's former Vietnamese interpreter, Mr. Le Sinh, who was with him at the time of death. The original 1999 story with photograph may be found at:

Recent Update: We thank Steve Lovejoy, who relayed about a recent visit with Mr. Le Sinh. Mr. Sinh, provided additional information to his TOP 1999 account surrounding the death of Captain Marshall and their special friendship.

Mr. Sinh elaborated to say that a friendship bond formed after Captain Marshall saved Sinh's life: During one conflict, Captain Marshall knocked him down, as shots were fired--one of which creased the top of Sinh's head. Mr. Sinh still bears the scar, which he revealed. According to Le Sinh, Marshall had prevented him from being shot and that event drew him very close to the Marine Captain.

When Captain Marshall was fatally injured, Sinh held his friend in his arms as he died. Another detail, not previously mentioned, was that Mr. Sinh recounted Marshall opened his eyes wide and looked into his eyes and said "Sinh, help me." Mr. Sinh said tearfully that he cried because he could not save his good friend, who had once saved his life.

Also, Mr. Sinh asked the military if Captain Marshall’s poncho would be given to him, as a remembrance; they agreed. Le Sinh placed the poncho in a sand bag, kept it for many years and would eventually turn it over to TOP for its ultimately successful return to the Marshall family (along with the sandbag).

Mr. Sinh said that every night he dreamed of Marshall opening his eyes wide and looking at him and saying "Sinh, help me." Upon return of the poncho to Marshall's widow & son, it gave him peace and Sinh no longer dreamed of Marshall. As was the case in 1999, 11 years later in 2010, Mr. Sinh still continues to remember his good friend and think of him every day.

Poignantly, Mr. Sinh has a photocopy of a rubbing of Marshall's name from the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. He called Marshall his “brother.”