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    18th Military Police Vietnam Veteran reunites with helmet

    18th MP Vietnam Veteran reunites with helmet

    Courtesy Photo | Paul Mott, a native of Maine who served in the 18th Military Police Brigade in...... read more read more

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany--“Well, my first thought was, I had just had that thing redone,” said Paul Mott, a Vietnam War veteran and Millinocket, Maine, native. “I [had] it for only a couple of months, and it was gone, disappeared.”

    Back in 1969, Mott served in the newly activated 18th Military Police Brigade. He was 20, a specialist and an MP.
    He took his M1 helmet to a local shop in Vung Tau, Vietnam, to have it repainted and to inscribe his name onto the back.
    Despite the $25 he paid for maintenance, the unexpected happened to Mott’s gear.

    “I stopped at the mess hall to have chow, and they had a table by the door where you put your headgear,” Mott said. “[I] set it down, went in and ate…When I went back to get it, it was gone.”

    Mott never recovered his helmet, while he was in the Army. 50 years would pass before he saw it again.
    Mott didn’t tell many stories about Vietnam, said Brayden, Mott’s 14-year-old grandson. The only reoccurring story was the loss of his helmet.

    “That was one thing he told me a lot of, so I thought, ‘If he was telling me so much about it and kept bringing it up, he would probably want it back at some point,’” he said.

    Brayden was committed to find his grandfather’s helmet the helmet. He use his grandfather’s stories to help in the search.
    An Australian woman called me about 15 years ago, Mott said. She was the daughter of an Australian soldier who served in Vietnam.

    “Apparently, my friend, the Aussie, acquired that,” Mott said. “When he got done, [the helmet] must have, obviously, been close to the door on the table. He just kind of reached out, grabbed it and out the door he went.”

    She found me through Internet searches using my name on the helmet, Mott said.

    Mott talked with the Australian veteran about recovering the helmet, but he could not mail it. Instead, Mott would have to travel to Australia and pick it up.

    “I knew that was a little outside of my means,” Mott said. “So I just kind of let that slide by and forgot about it.” Mott said.
    But Brayden was determined to complete the mission his grandfather could not.

    Brayden told his mom that he wanted to retrieve the helmet. She made a deal: if he raised half of the expenses for the trip, about $1,500, she would provide the rest.

    I raised money by mowing lawns and raking leaves, Brayden said.

    Mott was unaware of the trip’s true objective. He stayed at home. During the 11-day expedition, using a 15-year-old address, Brayden and his mother found the veteran’s daughter. She gave them the helmet.

    Brayden and his mother kept the helmet a secret. They had Mott to cover his eyes with a blindfold made from a shirt. When he took off the blindfold, he saw the helmet.

    “It looks almost the same today as it did then 50 years ago,” Mott said.

    Brayden brought home a valuable lesson from his trip.

    “I learned never to give up because you never know how close you really are to the finish,” said Brayden.

    Mott shares a similar sentiment with his grandson. A sentiment similar to the unit he served with in Vietnam, the “Ever Vigilant” brigade.

    “You don’t give up. [You] keep making the forward progress.”



    Date Taken: 03.04.2019
    Date Posted: 03.04.2019 08:24
    Story ID: 312713
    Location: DE
    Hometown: MILLINOCKET, ME, US

    Web Views: 657
    Downloads: 2