Family of Royal Oak war hero who died in Vietnam finally found

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A Michigan soldier killed in Vietnam is set to be honored in May.

It's a historical mystery dating back to the Vietnam War, where Royal Oak native Robert Townsend died fighting for his country. He was fatally shot in 1965 in south Vietnam. 

"He was only 29 years old, he graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1954," said Muriel Versagi, curator, Royal Oak Historical Society Museum.

Townsend was part of an elite group called the Army Security Agency. They deciphered code and unraveled intelligence for the Army.

"He would have had to be in the top 10 percent of our military recruits for the Army at that time," said Versagi.

This May the National Security Agency will honor these select 28 soldiers including Townsend. 

"He is already on the Vietnam Veteran's Wall in Washington DC but this will be a special small monument for the 28 soldiers who were part of this regiment," Versagi said.

But there's one problem - no one could find his family. Even the authors who wrote the book "Unlikely Warriors" about the National Security Agency have been searching. 

"I just hope we can find some family members and we will," she said. "Believe me, we will."

FOX 2 stepped into action. We knew he graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1954 and that he was married. Some searches led us to a funeral home in Lake Orion where were able to find his late wife's obituary.

"I have no idea where he is buried," Versagi said. "We really had trouble finding information about him."

Scouring social media, we sent messages out to his children listed and found them. It turns out the U.S. government was able to track them down too and they've recently lost their mother and didn't want to talk on camera.

They say they are overwhelmed with the news of their late father who is a war hero. We are learning that some of the information surrounding his missions will be declassified. The family said they want to tell their father's extraordinary story.