Long-Lost Army Buddies Learn They Are Neighbors

Basic training pals reunite nearly 50 years later in Detroit
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2014 5:00 PM CST

A Detroit man who long pondered the fate of his old Army buddy found him in the oddest of places: living practically next door for the last 18 years. Dave Brown heard that his basic training buddy Roger Watson had been wounded in Vietnam, which was true—Watson lost a kidney and suffered other organ damage after being shot early in his tour in 1968, the Detroit Free Press reports. Brown even checked the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to see whether his fellow combat engineer demolition specialist, who trained with him at Ft. Hood in Texas, had died. Then Brown's wife, Peggy, befriended a kitty-corner neighbor over the back fence, chatting with him about their mutual interest in birds. She was also intrigued by the Purple Heart license plate on his car, and 9th Infantry Vietnam Veterans cap in his car's rear window.

So she asked about them in an email. Soon, the exclamation points were flying: "Small world!!!!!!" and "Wow!!!!" are among the words in their email exchange as they figured out who was who. A backyard meeting was quickly arranged, and Brown "came running out of the house, over to the corner, had to beat back the brush, we just shook hands and couldn’t believe it," Watson tells WXYZ. "It was just an incredible feeling, just amazing." Reclaiming their friendship after nearly half a century, they plan to "share a beer every now and then" and see "a lot more of each other," says Watson. "Grow very old and watch our grandchildren grow up," adds Dave. "It's just great to see him alive. It makes me happy." (Read about a guy apparently outed as "fake" Army veteran.)

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