Two Military Friends Reunite After 63 Years

Rainey Dorsey & Billy Shanks Reunion
Rainey Dorsey ( left ) & Billy Shanks Reunion. Photo by: ALLISON BROPHY CHAMPION/STAR-EXPONENT

Here is a great Memorial Day military reunion story that will make people smile. The Culpeper Star-Exponent reported on 5/29/2016 that two military friends who served together in the Korean War have been reunited after 63 years.

Billy Shanks, 88, was raised in Reva, Virginia and Rainey Dorsey, 86, was raised in Westminster, Maryland.  The two men met and became fast friends while in the Army together at Fort Meade, where they were stationed together during the Korean War. Shanks and Dorsey were both drafted by the United States Army on September 18th, 1951. The two friends met while standing in line at the Army payroll office.

The two friends went on to serve together in Alaska at Fort Richardson. When the men arrived at Fort Richardson they said it was a rough rural area at a time when Alaska was still not part of the United States.

Both men worked jobs at Fort Richardson and spent their free time together socializing and playing sports. However, the two friends had to part ways back in 1953 after they came back from their 18 months of service in Alaska.

After returning back to the United States from their service in Alaska, Dorsey went back to his civilian life; while Shanks spent four additional years in the Army until he finally left the military for good in 1959.

Shanks and Dorsey were finally reunited last month at a senior center in Virginia. As soon as Shanks walked in the building to meet Dorsey, the two old friends said that they recognized each other immediately. The two Korean War veterans spent several days together talking and reminiscing about their military service and their time together in the Army.

Dorsey said that he searched for Shanks over the years, but was unable to find him until he moved to Virginia recently and started asking some locals at a barber shop in Culpeper County, Virginia about Shanks’ whereabouts. After talking to some locals, Dorsey was finally able to locate and reconnect with Shanks again.

The reunion between Shanks and Dorsey after 63 years apart shows the type of long-lasting friendship and strong social bond that can occur between people who serve together in the military. Congratulations to Mr. Shanks and Mr. Dorsey for not giving up the search to find one another and reunite after all of these years.