Seven Marines Who Served in Vietnam Reunite For the First Time Since 1971
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -
Seven Marines who served together in Vietnam and haven't seen each other since 1971 caught up Saturday in Augusta County. Their reunion was eight months in the making, after a member of their division found a list of contacts that had been lost for years.
"I was 17 when I went in, and I'm going to be 62 my next birthday so, I don't know of any other experience in life that has moved me more than today,” said Marine Bill Forloines.
These Marines, separated by more than four decades, reunited over a barbecue in Bill Forloines' backyard Saturday. Frank Bragg says this all began with a random find in a photo album.
"A piece of paper dropped out of the album. It had 15 names and addresses and telephone numbers of the guys I served with. I'd had that in six moves over my life,” said Bragg.
Bragg tried one of the numbers, and once again by chance, he connected.
"The first person I called Key Feeney, and his mom answered, now she's in her 80's today. Who would have guessed that the number was there and he happened to be visiting at the time,” said Bragg.
Now, all seven friends who served side by side in Vietnam are together again surrounded by an expanding family of Marines.
"My brother and I served together in Okinawa. He's also a Marine and I got a son that's a Marine, so it's a family thing,” said Bragg.
The group of three generations of Marines all wore t-shirts signifying the boot camp they attended.
Marine Robert Turner said "Boot camp is the core so that's why the shirts today, where we went to boot camp, what boot camp we went to, that's the core, that's where you're born as a Marine so once you get through that then you're brothers for life."
Going forward, the men say they plan to meet as often as possible. Forloines describes his feelings about the reunion in the only way he knows how. "Semper fi, ooh rah!” said Forloines.
Forloines tells NBC29 he plans to try to get the group back together for Veterans Day in November. He hopes to get other members of the division who couldn't make it to this reunion involved as well.
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