Minn. Veteran Returns To Vietnam For Lost Love

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — Sitting at his office desk, Jim Reischl looked fondly at two faces in the faded photographs. And what he saw in the background was a tiny apartment somewhere in Saigon.

Pointing to the photo, Reischl said, “That was the apartment right there. It was the third floor.”

From 1969 to 1970, Reischl, like a generation of Americans, was sent to Vietnam. But it’s not the hell of war that still haunts him. It’s that attractive young lady in the photograph — Lihn Hua.

“The possibility is there that she’s there somewhere. I just wish I had more information to go on,” said Reischl.

He and Lihn Hua shared an apartment not far from his airbase. When his tour of duty was over, both the war and young woman were left behind.

“I did send a letter to her address but never got anything returned, so I don’t know if it got there or got lost. I don’t know,” he said.

Reischl’s mystery had lingered far too long. In addition, when Jim left Saigon in 1970, Lihn Hua told him she was pregnant. That was a thought he couldn’t bury, so for the past 10 years Vietnam began calling him back.

He got a visa and studied maps of what is now Ho Chi Minh City. If he could find the apartment, it might, just might, give Reischl a clue as to Lihn Hua’s whereabouts.

Jim packed his bags for a 20-hour flight to turn the clock back some 41 years. With the help of his translator and two foreign journalists, they narrowed the search, asking questions of neighborhood elders.

Sitting in the living room of an elderly Vietnamese woman, Reischl told her, “I’ve got memories. And I’ve got more memories now.”

But Ho Chi Minh City has grown three times its former size. Streets crawl with scooters and 10 million people. It was more than a long shot.

Reischl learned his old apartment’s address was changed years ago.  But suddenly, after two days of searching, the woman led him through an alley and to the back stairway of his old apartment.

Sadly, without Lihn Hua’s family name, his search for her wasn’t as lucky.

“If something would have come of it that would have been great, but I didn’t want my expectations to be up too high,” Reischl said.

Back home, a new album filled with photos from his recent trip will only strengthen his quest. For now, Vietnam will keep calling him for a face he can’t forget.

More from Bill Hudson
  • Anne Zahalka

    I’d like the address and time of the Hyatt sale today, please.

  • rex

    Many servicemen have the same story. Unfortunately, girls switch boyfriends as fast as the old boyfriend leaves. Name of the game.

    • Wonder Woman

      Didn’t say why it took him until now, or 10 years back anyway, to start the process. Even then that would have been 31 years later…so the son/daughter would have been almost 31 too. Not sure how that all may have played out anyway.
      Guess we always hope for the best…good luck

    • igotanitch

      $50 me love u long time, $100 me me love u forever!

  • Papa Dan

    He wants his woman – not the first nor last time a dude has reflected on his past and wants and haunts and memories.
    We get older we have gone closer to the full circle. There’s a reason we remember the early times better than the more current. The circle of life is being fullfilled.
    Any chance there Steve you have some racial issues? Your comment begs the question. Nothing meant by my question other than wondering

    • Sandra

      Im Prinzip eine tolle Aktion, finde ich.Ich mf6chte aber auch zu Bedenken geben, dass in Guantanamo Menschenunrechtme4dfig, ohne Anklage, ohne Gerichtsverfahren gefangen glweetenharden und gefoltert wurden, vielleicht sogar noch werden. Sie wurdenihrer Heimat entrissen, haben psychische Sche4den davongetragen undwurden in andere Le4nder abgeschoben. Das sind massiveMenschenrechtsverletzungen, die wir nicht zu beffcrchten haben. Ichfinde, dass die Anspielung Containamo dieses echte Leiden derGefangenen zu stark relativiert und wfcrde den Begriff daher nichtbenutzen.

  • Bill Janklow's Ghosr

    So he knew her for less than a year and was so “IN LOVE” with her that he left her with child and he maybe sent her one letter. And then puff for 40+ years. What a great love story WCCO! If this guy spent ANY time fighting in jungle he would have not seen too much of her GI lover. What a crock! I feel sorry for this guy! This is what his life has become? Searching for a woman he had 40+ years ago, then blew off. WCCO should have ran this “Love” story for Val day.

  • DougT

    Umm – the commies took over and she is most likely not with us anymore. If she had a relationship with a US solder then they really would have to “re-educate” her and life in a forced labor is not easy existence.

    Such are the wonders and glory of the progressive state. :)

  • Stefan N

    I think he spell the girl name wrong, It’s Linh not Lihn..

  • yomammy

    Dude is so hard up for a woman, that he has to stock an asian from decades ago! Great story! Maybe tomorrow story will be someone lamenting a lost teddy bear.

    • Kawal

      only after he gets playing time for the Celtics. All of you Celtics fans iessmd four great years of Purdue Boilermaker basketball with E’Twaun and JaJuan. It was a shame that Robbie Hummel tore his ACL twice and couldn’t be in the draft with them this year.

  • love

    oh how cute he dipped his little wally into the abyss

  • Ace

    He should get a decent haircut before he goes looking for a girlfriend

  • Wildbill

    Nothing like a LBFM, right Johnny?

  • Bill Clintons Cigar

    OMG! Your so funny! This guy was with this babe for less than a year! If you were there you would know that he shared her with 100 other GI’s. Who knows who the father was of the kid. They all tired to get stateside. “The circle of life” give me a break you moron! And racial issues? You moron have you been to Maplewood Mall or Lake Phalen? THEY ARE SOLID HMONG! Now go put your head back in the sand. Any chance Papa Dan you are ignorant? Your comment begs the quesiton……..

  • US Dude

    Try a local massage parlor, the happy ending will be much cheaper.

    • Omini

      Danke! Klasse, dadf Ihr Euch da sofort rhmintedgekleamt habt.Bei Gefahr im Verzug (eher: Gefahr im Vollzug), kann man nicht warten bis irgendwer bei irgendeinem Landesverband den passenden Experten aus dem Bett geklingelt hat, und der dann nach einem ausffchrlichen Frfchstfcck erstmal nach der Nummer eines Rechtsanwalts sucht.Ich bin gespannt, wie’s weitergeht!

  • Susan

    left her there with a baby. what a hero!!!!

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    Minn. Veteran Returns To Vietnam For Lost Love « CBS Minnesota

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