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John Kerry has visited the place in the Mekong Delta where he was ambushed during the Vietnam War.

The outgoing secretary of state and former Navy lieutenant met a 70-year-old former member of the Viet Cong, who remembers the 1969 attack.

John Kerry and his former enemy, Vo Ban Tam, warmly shook hands.

The secretary of state, who is in Vietnam as part of his last trip before leaving office, won a medal for bravery for his actions but became an anti-war campaigner after returning home.

John Kerry told Vo Ban Tam he was glad they were both alive.

Vo Ban Tam, now a shrimp farmer, said he knew a man whom John Kerry shot and killed and remembered the plan of attack when they first spotted the US patrol boat.

Image source Flickr

The Viet Cong unit had a rocket launcher and was shooting at the US fighters to try to steer them into its range.

However, John Kerry took a bold move by leaping ashore to pursue his assailants, and shot dead the rocket launcher’s operator.

John Kerry, then aged 26, was credited with saving his crew and was awarded the US military’s Silver Star for bravery.

Vo Ban Tam named the dead fighter as Ba Thanh and said he was 24 years old.

“He was a good soldier,” he told John Kerry, speaking through an interpreter.

John Kerry never knew the name or age of the man he shot.

When he unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, John Kerry faced critics who claimed he shot a teenager.

One of John Kerry’s aides told the Washington Post that the former military man had been searching Google Maps for the site of the ambush. On January 12, he was said to have woken, jetlagged, in the middle of the night in his Hanoi hotel and called one of his old crew members to rack his brains.

John Kerry said returning to the scene was weird and a little surreal.

The secretary of state is visiting Vietnam as the first stop on his last foreign trip before stepping aside when the Trump administration takes power on January 20.

It is John Kerry’s fourth visit to Vietnam as Washington’s top diplomat.

Working under President Barack Obama, John Kerry is known for taking a specific interest in improving relations between the US and Vietnam.

He was awarded other honors for his service in Vietnam, including three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action, but he became a prominent anti-war activist after returning to the US in 1969.

According to AFP, John Kerry told reporters on January 14: “It impressed on me the notion that you really need to analyze and understand what lies underneath the slogans.”

John F. Kennedy’s presidential library has released the final 45 hours of his private recordings, representing the last months of JFK’s life.

The recordings include discussions on the growing conflict in Vietnam and plans for the 1964 election.

JFK recorded many of his White House meetings secretly, keeping their existence away from top aides.

The library has declassified and released portions of the tapes since 1993.

John F. Kennedy's presidential library has released the final 45 hours of his private recordings, representing the last months of JFK's life

John F. Kennedy's presidential library has released the final 45 hours of his private recordings, representing the last months of JFK's life

Among the conversations recorded is JFK discussing his ill-fated trip to Dallas, Texas in November 1963, and what would become the day of his funeral.

“Monday?” he asks during a discussion about scheduling. “Well that’s a tough day.”

“It’s a hell of a day, Mr. President,” a staffer replies.

“Although on the one hand releasing the final recordings is a bittersweet milestone, on the other, we hope that the public will appreciate having the opportunity to hear these important discussions first hand,” Maura Porter, the library’s archivist, said in a statement.

Maura Porter told the Associated Press news agency that Kennedy may have been saving the tapes for a potential memoir.

Another possible reason for making the tapes was JFK’s concern that US military leaders had given a different public account of a discussion over the botched Bay of Pigs invasion.

In a meeting between John F. Kennedy and advisers about developments in South Vietnam, the president seems both frustrated and amused that his military and diplomatic advisors have given him contradictory reports on the state of the country.

General Victor Krulak reported “the Viet Cong war will be won” with the US military and social programmes in place in the country at that time.

Meanwhile, state department advisor Joseph Mendenhall told the president that many in the South Vietnamese government considered the war against the Viet Cong “secondary” to concerns about the regime in Saigon, and that student groups were considering moving to Viet Cong’s side.

“You both went to the same country?” JFK asks.

By November 1963 Kennedy’s mind was already focusing on the 1964 presidential election that he would not live to campaign in. As the incumbent, he worried about how to bring young voters to the Democratic Party.

“The younger people, party label – what is it that’s going to make them go for us,” JFK asks. “What is it we have to sell them? We hope we have to sell them prosperity but for the average guy, the prosperity is nil… And the people who really are well off, hate our guts.”

There is also discussion about the impact of filming the Democratic convention in colour, even when most TV viewers would still see it in black and white.

“I don’t know if maybe they’d come over the NBC one in colour,” he says. “Probably a million watching it in colour and it would have an effect… Be quite an effect on the convention. The colour is so damn good. If you do it right.”

John F. Kennedy made over 260 hours of recordings of both meetings and telephone conversations during almost three years in office.

Of the final hours of recordings released on Tuesday, Maura Porter said officials excised about five to 10 minutes of family-related discussions and about 30 minutes because of national security concerns.