Kiwi soldier revisits Vietnam, where he lost his legs

  • 20/11/2016
Kiwi soldier revisits Vietnam, where he lost his legs

By Rewa Harriman

Ruka Hudson has confronted his past and returned to Vietnam, the place where he lost his legs.

The 73 year-old Vietnam veteran and his family have retraced his footsteps to where he stood on a land mine 46 years ago.

In 1970, Mr Hudson was a strapping 26-year-old when he was deployed to Vietnam as a member of the Victor 5 company. He was a lead scout and eager for an adventure.

Mr Hudson was only into his 10th week on the ground when he and his platoon was called into help another platoon who'd been in contact with the Viet Cong. Mr Hudson was in pursuit of the enemy when stepped on a lane mine, changing his life forever.

"I stood on the mine and I just had a karakia saying if I'm going to die, first let me go home and see my parents… then I could smell the stench of burning flesh."

Three of Mr Hudson's children and two of his grandchildren joined him on his journey back to Vietnam. They say it's an opportunity they were never going to miss.

Mr Hudson holds no animosity towards the Vietnamese people or any regrets about what happened to him nearly 50 years ago - in fact, he says there are no accidents in war.

The trip has brought the already tight-knit family even closer and created new memories of Vietnam for the Hudsons to cherish.

Watch the video for the full story from The Hui.