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.