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Vietnam veterans reunite for first time in over 40 years

Vietnam Vets Reunite After Decades Apart

Four Vietnam war veterans from the 173rd Airborne Brigade reunited Thursday, more than four decades after an explosion nearly killed one of them. KTLA captured the emotional reunion.

"A band of brothers, soldiers who survived unimaginable experiences in the jungles of Vietnam were reunited for the first time in more than 40 years."

"When I found out they were alive I was crying. I can't imagine them being alive."

In 1969, Michael Gude, Bob Bodemann, Howard Hunt Jr. and Grady Fox were on a mission to search for American prisoners of war when a landmine exploded and tore off Gude's right leg.

"The other soldiers stopped his bleeding and they were airlifted to an aid station, but the men were separated upon arrival."

Finding one another again was difficult, because the men only knew their comrades' nicknames. But after 44 years, one of the "brothers" took action.

The Press-Enterprise reports Bodemann retired from law enforcement, and in 2011 he went into therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. The treatment sparked his determination to find Gude, Fox and Hunt.

Bodemann looked up their names in war records. He managed to find Fox in Georgia, and he posted about Gude and Hunt on the 173rd Airborne Website in hopes of finding them.

With the help of a private detective, Bodemann finally found Hunt in Tennessee and was thrilled when he received a response from Gude's son-in-law on the website. Gude had also been hoping for this moment and was surprised to learn the others were alive.

"A recon team surviving, no way."

Quite the story, and we thank you for your service.

Join the discussion

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Herbert Malloy April 27 2014 at 3:52 PM

I Will Never Forget!!!! This is Outstanding!!!!

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Bebe April 27 2014 at 2:38 PM

Thank you men for your service to our country! God bless you all! So glad you have found each other. I hope you will be able to have frequent reunions!

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Bright Blessings April 27 2014 at 2:37 PM

No one in my surrounds thought much about it at all, except good old Mom. I was a four year Marine with 22 total months in Vietnam. I was a punk of 17 when I enlisted in Oak Park, Il (with Ma's signature) in 1966 and I was a punk when I got out in 1970. I was at Chu Lai most of the time with A-4's and spent time in Da Nang as well. I'm now a punk of 64 having the time of my life, just as always.
For these guys who had it tough and have found each other again, the weld is still strong and holding. I sure wish them well. It was great to read their story.

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eva-kathleen April 27 2014 at 2:37 PM

Many, many Bright Blessings to them! Thank you guys for your service. I was not quite a teenager when those veterans were coming home, but time after time I have always said that I am ashamed of the way our people treated those veterans, and our people should be ashamed of themselves. Every one of the soldiers who went to viet nam, and served during that war were just like the veterans from WW1 and WW2, etc. Where was their parade? Where were the thank you's. They went there ready to give their lives, and many did. America is our country, and yet so many people just let them go and serve and forget about them. Viet nam was a war many people did not want any part of, and therefore just forgot about our Veterans. Well, I say again and again, and again, Thank you Veterans of Viet nam for your service, and you are always in my heart.

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1 reply
Sandy eva-kathleen April 27 2014 at 2:45 PM

Good post

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eg8tr April 27 2014 at 2:32 PM

Wish them the best. I was with the 52nd CAB, the Flying Dragons in Pleiku, 1967-68 for the TET offensive and lots of other "fun".

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John Scott April 27 2014 at 2:17 PM

Oh, and by the way I am a 95 year old artist.

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John Scott April 27 2014 at 2:17 PM

My name is John Scott. I am an artist - a painter and a sculptor,
One day last year I was contacted by the American Legion to do a sculpture of a Vier Vet.
I wanted to do this sculpture so very much that I offered to donate my work and charge ONLY for the cost of mateial and foundry cost.
I wanted to badly to create this sculpture for those extraordiaty men who sacrifices so much and got so little in return.
BUT - and I'll not get into the reason the plan fell apart - I'll just say that the me on this lodge were so hard hearted and difficult to deal with that the wonderful plan fell apart.
John Scott.

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Lynn April 27 2014 at 2:15 PM

How wonderful - I lost so many dear friends in Viet Nam - but the ones that survived and came home - deserved so much more than what the way they were treated when they came home and anyone that treated them so bad - to hell with you. They just young boys for the most part - many had never held a gun before. God Bless our Soldiers

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Dick April 27 2014 at 2:05 PM

Beautiful story.

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kayciaccio April 27 2014 at 1:57 PM

What a nice story, happy the men got together. Thank you for your service.

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