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Veteran’s Day special: Six Vietnam buddies get reacquainted with one another 44 years later

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (2) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +5 Vote up Vote down crusader pride · 300 weeks ago Awesome story cue. Thank you and thanks to these six fine gentlemen. Report Reply 0 replies · active 300 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down SumnerRes · 300 weeks ago Great story! I never knew Eldon was a Veteran but respect him even more now! Thanks for sharing and thank you Eldon for serving our country! So happy you got to see all your military buddies again! Awesome! Report Reply 0 replies · active 300 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Veteran’s Day means different things for different people. For Eldon Lawless of Wellington it is a reminder that you’re never too old to reunite with military friends.Lawless served Vietnam for a year in 1970— partially in Saigon and six months at Phu Bai, South Vietnam at Firebase Sally. And 44 years later, thanks to the magic of Internet, he reunited with his friends, who were so much part of his life for more than six months.After graduating from Kansas State University, Lawless enlisted in the military and would eventually become part of a battalion whose missions were aiming large guns at prearranged targets. While they weren’t in direct battle conflict much like those who crawled through rice patties or spent months in the wet humid jungle, they most certainly saw their fair share of warfare.And in those six months, these six men would share the bunker, engage in battle together, eat together, go to sleep together, drink beer together. Their lives were intertwined 24-7.Eldon Lawless, (front, center) in 1970 with his friends Peter Deisch, Ron Summers, Jack Palumbo, Jack Steele, Lt Mike Jepsen, Mike Wilson.Then when their military commitment would end they separated, returned to the states and lived their lives. For Lawless that meant returning to Sumner County to run the family farm. He would eventually become an employee of First National Bank of Wellington – now Impact Bank. He would raise a family and eventually retire.As many do when leaving one world to return to the other, Lawless lost touch with the people he spent so much time with in 1970.But last winter, one of his buddies took the initiative to reacquaint himself with people from year’s past.Lawless was at home spending a quiet evening early this year when his phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and it said “John Steele.”“I was thinking at first don’t answer it,” Lawless said. “I didn’t recognize the number.”But then he remembered he served with a “Jack” Steele and wondered if that could be him and the Caller ID just had the wrong first name. He rolled the dice and picked up the phone. Sure enough, it was him. Steele has been living in North Carolina.In 2014, with a lot more gray hair at the reunion, from left, Gary Helms, Peter Deisch, Eldon Lawless, Jack Steele, Ron Summers, and Mike Jepsen.The battalion was a scattershot of boys from across the United States. Two were farm boys from the Midwest, one was from southern Illinois, two were southern boys and there was a man from Utah.“I was the first he found,” Lawless said of Jack. “It is pretty safe to say I’m the only ‘Eldon Lawless’ in Kansas.”The two talked for quite awhile and they decided that it would be great to find the other four and get the group together for a reunion. The other four were a little harder to locate.“We had a ‘Mike Wilson’ in Illinois to find,” Lawless said. “There were about 1,250 of those.”But eventually the group of men were contacted and all of them were eager for a reunion. They scheduled a trip to southern Missouri at Table Rock Lake in Missouri in late September, where Lawless has a son-in-law who has a lake home.“I think what made us nervous, there was this fear that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about,” Lawless said. “The second we met that fear evaporated. It was like 44 years away from one another had never happened. We were exactly the same except we all are bigger and have gray hair.”Although all six men have become successes in their own right at home, they were eager to reminisce about the old days.Kathryne Steele, Jack’s wife, wrote this in a newspaper article in the North Wilkesboro N.C. Record.“The overriding sentiment was that they were glad they served their country, but wouldn’t want to go back. They did the job they were given without bravado, without shouting, without gnashing of teeth about the unfairness of young lives disrupted.Finally, there was joy. Pure joy at having a shared experience; joy in being alive and able to attend a reunion of fellow soldiers. Joy in renewing friendships and see the value of such friendships. The joy created by being in beautiful natural surroundings especial when one considers the grim surroundings they shared while ‘in country.’”Today, Lawless looks back and smiles. He didn’t particularly care for the war itself and never really talked about it when he returned home. Vietnam vets did not enjoy the accolades that soldiers from other wars received when coming home before or since. It was an unpopular war.“The other day, (fellow banker) Bob Leftwich thanked me for serving in the war,” Lawless said. “That was the first time anyone thanked me for going to Vietnam since I returned. I really appreciated that.”And with that in mind as you celebrate Veteran’s Day, remember those who fought all wars on foreign land – especially those who lived through the battles in Vietnam.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more

Rusheen McDonald working on race plan

first_img IMPROVE RACE PLAN MOROCCO’S FIRST Diamond League meeting was something of a struggle for Rusheen McDonald. The Jamaican 400m runner trailed in seventh (46.79 seconds) in a race won by former Olympic champion, American LaShawn Merritt, who notched a meeting record of 44.66 at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium. But McDonald, who failed to reach the 400m semi-finals at the Olympic Games in London four years ago, was not too despondent despite his poor showing. “I’m working on my race plan for the season. I have to get into some races,” he said afterwards. “I’m focused on the Olympics, but the Diamond League does come in handy once in a while. “Me and my coach are working hard, right now. I’m OK and I’m training well, so there is a lot of work going in right now. I just have to listen to my coach.” The 2012 Olympian added: “It’s been a good trip. The track felt good, but I needed to get my race plan better. But, that said, I am a little bit tired.” When asked if Morocco’s historic meeting could be emulated by his own country, McDonald smiled and said: “It would be good if Jamaica could stage a Diamond League meeting. It would be better.” – R.H.last_img read more