Growing up our family car would often find its way being driven past a certain ball diamond in Bay View.
For the longest time I had no idea who “Sijan” was, let alone how to pronounce it. So I also had no idea what an amazing real life story this was of bravery and courage.
Lance Sijan of Bay View served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He was on a night mission over Laos in late 1967 when a bomb Sijan was set to deploy exploded. Ejected from the plane, Sijan suffered a concussion, a broken leg and broken hands.
An effort to rescue him via helicopter failed. So Sijan crawled through the jungle. He did so for 46 days. Then he was captured by the North Vietnamese on Christmas Day.
Sijan offered no information other than his name, rank and serial number. He died of pneumonia in early 1968.
Urban Milwaukee reports a documentary about Sijan is part of this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival.