During the course of the Vietnamese conflict, hundreds of American soldiers were incarcerated in Vietnamese prisons. Of these only, 591 people were realeased during the Operaion Homecoming however more than 2000 Americans still remained unaccounted for. As the Vietnamese held many of their prisoners at facilities in well defende urban areas, a military solution to the POW problem was not possible for the U.S. forces. On November 21, 1970, a unit of U.S. Army Special Forces troops raided the Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay, the raiders killed more than thirty Vietnamese troops, but no prisoners were freed; the Americans had been moved some time earlier.
The American people felt that the U.S. government had abandoned their soldiers in a foreign country with very little effort to help bring them back to safety. Americans lobbied for the right treatment and return of the American troops who were either prisoners of warfare or missing in action.
“It’s kind of hard to hang in there, day after day, in my case, 2110 days, you’ve just got to have absolute belief that some day your country’s going to come get you. When I went to Vietnam, I was prepared to be killed, to be wounded, even to be captured. But I was not prepared to be abandoned by the country that sent me there” – former American POW.
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Created in 1985, Rambo: First Blood Part II , the sequel to First Blood (1982) follows Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone) on a mission where he will infiltrate Vietnam to search for American POWs that are still rumoured to be held by the Vietnamese.
Although quite clearly an unrealistic action film, the notion that the American government may have left men behind was difficult for U.S citizens to understand, which is one of the reasons why characters such as Rambo were created, they needed someone to look up to and that would be a standout hero that would rescue troops from behind enemy lines.