Four military friends who served together in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam War have been reunited in Florida after 50 years apart. The four men recently reunited in Florida to recreate a 1966 photograph that they had taken together on a beach near San Diego, California.
The group of reunited Marines included Dennis Puleo, 69, Bob Falk, 71, Bob DeVenezia, 70, and Tom Hanks, 69.
Their story starts back 1966, when the four men were stationed together in California at Camp Pendleton in the Marine Corps’ weapons platoon. In May of 1966, they posed for a picture together with a surf board on a beach near San Diego, CA before being deployed to Vietnam, where they served together during the war.
After serving in Vietnam together, the four marines came back to the United States and went on with their separate lives. The men had lost touch with each other shortly after returning home from the ware until a few years ago, when they started reconnecting through online military forums.
On Saturday April 23rd, 2016, the four men reunited in St. Augustine, Florida and recreated the beach photo that they took 50 years ago in California. The men recreated their original photo on Cinnamon Beach in Palm Coast, Florida. The reunited friends posed around a surf board in the same positions and wore the same style of clothing that they wore in the original photo.
Their wonderful reunion story has attracted an enormous amount of international attention and has been featured on national television shows like ABC’s World News Tonight and Fox & Friends. Their story and photo have also gone viral on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The four friends have been shocked and amazed by all of the worldwide media attention that their reunion story has received. After all of the negativity that surrounded the Vietnam War, the four men lost contact because they didn’t want to be reminded of that time in their lives. Now, however, their reunion has received an outpouring of positive support from people and media from around the world.
Thousands of people have commented on social media about the reunion story and photo, thanking the Marines for their military service. Hanks said that this reunion was one of the best days of his life. Hanks told reporters that he guesses that this is their 15 minutes of fame. Bob DeVenezia said that he has been getting continual phone calls from friends and Marine veterans ever since the story went viral. It seems that everyone loves a good reunion story.
The media spotlight has been somewhat overwhelming for the men, but they want to remind people that over 58,000 American military personnel never made it back from the war in Vietnam and we should not forget them either.