Connecting footage to history – the story of Mike Benge

As the Vietnam project draws to a close we’d like to share an extraordinary story found in the stock footage for the collection. When we were processing the materials for the collection, we came across a very beaten-up box of rusty and moldy cans that were not listed anywhere in the original production database. They were all USAID (US Agency for International Development) films with little information attached. Once transferred, we found they were films on the activities of aid workers in the late 1960s in Vietnam. One was on Mike Benge, an aid worker in a recently liberated village called Ban Me Thuot. We learned that the village was later overrun and, while attempting to rescue others, Benge was captured and spent five years as a prisoner of war, part of it in a cage and a black box. Karen Colbron, the project manager, says “I was able to track him down and point him to the film on Open Vault. He was thrilled to see it again and shared more of his story with me. This is what I love about being an archivist: the power of the moving image to capture our history and allow us to share such unique and memorable stories.” http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/vietnam-8987ff-mike-benge-montagnards-ban-me-https://blog.openvault.wgbh.org/wp-login.phpthuot-south-vietnam

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