March 16, 1996
Web posted at: 1:35 p.m. EST
Soldier, missing for 26 years, says he's sorry he disappeared
FORT GORDON, Georgia (CNN) -- Master Sgt. Mateo Sabog said he's sorry he disappeared 26 years ago, but he offered no explanation of why he lost contact with the U.S. Army and his family in 1970 when his tour of duty ended in Vietnam.
At 73-years-old, Sabog recently re-appeared in a north Georgia town.
The Army released a short interview it taped with Sabog Friday at the Eisenhower Medical Center, where he has been since the military reclaimed him a week ago.
"I disappeared, I guess," Sabog told the military interviewer. "It wasn't a nice thing to do, and I hope it will be all right again."
Sabog checked out of his Army unit in Vietnam in February, 1970 with orders to report to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He never appeared at Fort Bragg and was listed as a deserter four years later. In 1979, Sabog was declared missing, but presumed dead. His name was etched into the wall of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington three years ago.
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