Episode 2436 – Vietnam Vet Peter Mathews seeks closure with NVA soldier’s diary

NVA soldier's diary

NVA soldier Cao Xuan Tat’s diary

Episode 2436 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about how Vietnam Vet Peter Mathews is seeking closure with an NVA soldier’s dairy. The story was titled, US veteran searches for owner of lost Vietnam War diary. It appeared in the Vietnam Express; the most read Vietnamese newspaper and was submitted by Thanh Danh and Duc Hung.

Back in Episode 1776 of this podcast, Vietnam Veteran John Shoemaker related a story about how he picked up an ID card and other personal effects from the body of a dead NVA soldier killed in a battle that took two of his men. He kept those papers for fifty years hidden away in his attic. Upon rediscovery of the papers, he embarked on a mission to return those papers to the family of the fallen opponent. Listen to Episode 1776 and discover how he accomplished that mission.

The featured story of this episode tells about another Vietnam Veteran who is having a similar desire for closure with enemy documents. The veteran in the story is Peter Mathews of New Jersey. In November of 1971 he was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division operating in the Central Highlands north of Pleiku.

His unit along with elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 4th Infantry Division took part in the savage Battle of Dak To. After a four-day fight that took many lives on both sides, Peter found the notebook on the battlefield, while he was searching items and equipment left behind by Vietnamese soldiers.

The notebook was full of drawings and writings in Vietnamese that Mathews thought were songs, poetry and stories. He said he did not report the notebook to higher ups because he thought it was a simple diary, not military information.

Peter said “My dream is if we can find him or his family, to take a trip out there and present it… I plan to put closure to it. At my age, now I feel it’s time.”

Listen to episode 2436 and discover more about how Vietnam Vet Peter Mathews is seeking closure with an NVA soldier’s dairy.

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