I do not take pride or pleasure in writing the following article. For over a
month now (today is 19 November 2002), I have refrained from writing this article but now,
this must be said.
In late September, I learned from an individual in Great Britain that a British
publisher planned to release a book in October 2002 titled The Cage by an
individual named Tom Abraham. The gist of the story was that Abraham is a British
citizen who claimed to have been a lieutenant, platoon leader, in the 1st Cavalry Division
during the Vietnam War. Abraham claimed to have been captured by the "Viet
Cong," held for a few days, then he escaped. He made several other claims.
Abraham's claim to have been a prisoner of war is bogus. His name does not appear
on the official list of prisoners and missing; I will not go into details here but the
fact is that the official list is accurate and complete. If your name is not on the
list, you were never a prisoner. Abraham was not.
I, along with several other people, sent e-mail messages to Abraham's publisher and to
various UK newspapers protesting the coming release of the book. Most of us received
no replies and the few replies we received basically took his side.
During the week of 8 - 13 November 2002, I exchanged e-mail messages with two reporters
for a major London newspaper. They argued that because Abraham was
"captured" during Tet 68, and because he was captive for only a few days, he was
never listed as a prisoner and thus was not on the official list. I disabused them
of that nonsense and asked that they contact the Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office
(DPMO) -- they did and DPMO told them the same thing -- Abraham is a phony.
Meanwhile, Abraham continues to give interviews and to continue with his bogus claims.
I know that this web page will not stop him but perhaps a few people will stumble
on this article and learn the facts.
UPDATE: 14 December 2002: Tom Abraham's lies multiply.
Read the latest here.
UPDATE: Tom Abraham's official military records
are now posted on the Internet. Funny, nothing in his records about his having been
a prisoner of war. (16 December 2002)
UPDATE: 16 January 2003: A group of people who know Abraham and two other
interested individuals put together a point-by-point, line-by-line, rebuttal of The
Cage. Read the document here.
The Cage, A Review
This is a review of Abraham's book, The Cage, taken from the Amazon.com United
Kingdom web site.
Tom "Bud" Abraham was one of the very few Englishman to
serve in Vietnam. As an officer in the 1st Cavalry Division during 1967/8, he saw combat
in some of the fiercest encounters of the War. His gallantry earned him a chestful of
medals, including the Silver Star, one of the highest decorations awarded by the American
Army. During the Tet Offensive, Tom was captured by the Vietcong. The suffering he endured
during his interrogation and torture tested him to the limits. His daring escape into the
surrounding jungle was the beginning of a new ordeal. His struggle to survive, naked and
alone, would drag him down to the level of a primitive beast. After he returned to England
from Vietnam, Tom made a new life. He married, became a father, and started a successful
career. It seemed that he had forgotten the nightmare of the past. But more than 30 years
later, a trivial encounter with the police began a catastrophic chain of events. He lost
everything - his family, his home, his self-respect. It became all-too-obvious that the
psychological and emotional wounds he received in Vietnam were still festering. In trying
to rebuild his life, Tom had once more to confront those traumatic memories that he had
buried so deep. If he were to have any chance of a future, he would have to relive the
past. His terrifying journey is the story of this book.
Since the release of his book, Abraham has been featured in BBC television and radio
interviews, some of which have been carried on BBC America TV and radio. As a
result, several Vietnam veterans with whom I correspond from time to time have tracked
down men who served with Abraham. These are the recollections of those who served
He was a Cav platoon leader
Abraham was, in fact, a platoon leader with the 1st Cav, serving in the 5th of the 7th
Cavalry -- 5/7 Cav. Several individuals remember him as a competent platoon leader
who was liked by his men, sergeants, and other officers.
His platoon sergeant was KIA
First I must explain something. During the Vietnam War, everyone who served
in-country was eligible for one week of rest and recuperation leave -- R&R -- that was
taken outside of Vietnam. The US military chartered commercial aircraft that flew
out of Da Nang, Tan Son Nhut (Saigon), and Bien Hoa to various destinations -- Hawaii,
Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, Philippines, Malaysia. Most of us married
troops went to Hawaii to meet our wives -- the single guys tended to go to the other
locations to sample the local culture.
According to several individuals who served with him, while Abraham was on R&R out
of country, his platoon sergeant was killed in action. When Abraham returned to find
his platoon sergeant dead, he reportedly blamed himself for the loss and was not the same.
He was transferred to another unit and completed his tour of duty.
The bond between a platoon leader and his platoon sergeant cannot be understood by
anyone who has not been there. Anyone who has served in combat understands how the
death of his platoon sergeant must have affected Lieutenant Abraham.
The Phony Stories
Now, for the phony stories. I have not read Abraham's book and do not plan to.
The following items are taken from e-mail messages I have received from individuals
who have read his book or heard/seen his interviews.
Rescued two people from a helicopter
Abraham claims to have rescued two US Air Force personnel from a crashed helicopter.
According to his former company commander who was S-2 (intelligence officer) on the
battalion staff when Abraham claimed to have rescued 2 Air Force personnel from the VC - it
Captured by the "Viet Cong"
The centerpiece of Abraham's claims is that he was captured by the "Viet
Cong," held for several days, in a cage, at times he and the cage were put into a
body of water. He claims to have escaped and then spent another three to four days
wandering naked through the jungle until he came upon a patrol from the 1st Cav.
According to his former company commander and to several other people who remember him,
this incident is a total fabrication. No such thing happened -- nothing even close.
Abraham's name does not appear on the official list of prisoners of war or missing from
Vietnam. The official list is accurate and complete. He was never a
prisoner, never missing from his unit.
Awarded the Silver Star
According to the morning reports filed by his battalion -- the official daily journals
of his unit -- the incident he describes in which he claims to have won Silver Star
on September 17 did happen -- but not as Abraham portrays. One US helicopter
crewmember was killed - not six as he claims -- 20 enemy were killed with two enemy taken
prisoner and one wounded enemy soldier taken prisoner. It is not clear if he won the
Silver Star for this action - although his friend mentioned that he was wounded when a
AK-47 round shattered the stock of his M-16 and caused him a minor wound.
"a trivial encounter with the police'
Note that the review of Abraham's book on the UK Amazon.com site contains the following
". . . a trivial encounter with the police began a catastrophic
chain of events. He lost everything - his family, his home, his self-respect. It became
all-too-obvious that the psychological and emotional wounds he received in Vietnam were
I don't know what they consider "a trivial encounter with the police" --
Abraham attacked his wife with a knife some 30 years after
returning from Vietnam -- that's how the police became involved. Now, he seeks to
claim post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and blame it all on "the cage".
Abraham may be suffering from PTSD and other mental anguish and trauma. And
this anguish and trauma may be related to what he experienced in Vietnam -- BUT --
hundreds of thousands of other young men experienced the same trauma and anguish during
and after combat and they have not seen it necessary to construct a fabric of lies about
Abraham could have written a straightforward, accurate, truthful book about his service
and it likely would have been a fine book -- and it could have helped him banish some of
his demons. That's the tragedy and that's why I take no pleasure in posting this
article -- but let his fabrications cannot be allowed to stand.
This is a link to his
book on the Amazon.com UK site.
Unknown to me, at the same time I was talking with the London reporters, several other
people from the US and Great Britian who had known Abraham in Vietnam were in
contact with Abraham's publisher and with the London newspapers.
As of 22 November 2002, two London newspapers have published articles exposing Abraham.
If I learn of more such articles I will update this site. Check back from
time to time to see what develops.
19 November 2002