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Reunion of Vietnam vets

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

Plenty of red, white and blue was on display across Central Kentucky this weekend, even a special reunion today for some soldiers who served together in Viet Nam as they celebrated 40 years of friendship.

On this holiday weekend when we remember and salute the soldiers who fought for our country, Johnny Riley and his wife are hosting a party for the men who served with him in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment starting in 1969.

Mr. Riley tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "I enjoy it. I love these guys. You know I spent a year of adrenaline with them. I'm going to cook some hamburgers, but first we'll say a word of prayer for the ones we lost. When I was there, we lost 6 guys, and we'll remember them."

When a soldier risks his life alongside someone in battle, it creates a bond that neither miles nor years can destroy. Leonard McCarthy came to Saturday's party all the way from Brownsville, Texas. Brown says, "It's one thing to be at a reunion. It's another thing to sit next to a guy who was on the same tank as you and maybe saved your life."

In addition to McCarthy's trip from Texas, they came to the party from Wisconsin and Tennessee and Kansas. One man rode his motorcyle down from Ohio. He has a picture of the tank he was assigned to painted on the side of his bike.

In many ways, it hardly seems possible that 40 years have gone by since these brave me, just boys then, arrived in Viet Nam. Johnny Riley says, "Oh Lord, it seems like it was yesterday. Of course, we spent a few years trying to forget it." But now they can enjoy stirring up memories together, and they'll continue doing just that on Sunday when more former members of the regiment arrive.


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