Vietnam War veterans reunite in Columbus 50 years after returning home

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Two brothers who first bonded on a military airfield in Columbus, Indiana at the height of the Vietnam War returned to the Hoosier State 50 years later to reminisce.

"When you're on mission like that, you become brothers, whether you know each other or not, you get to know each other over time," said veteran Earl Wall.

The members of the 71st Special Operations Squadron returned to what is now called the Columbus Municipal Airport for a reunion luncheon. It was on June 6, 1969 that they arrived back there from their tour of duty.

"I can see that jet stream of that aircraft coming to get me to take me home. It's hard to explain what a thrill it was," said Wall.

The squadron flew AC119G gunships in Vietnam. Their mission was close air support during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

"One day you're in Vietnam in a war zone, the next day you're sleeping in your own bed. It was weird to change that quick," said veteran Don Miller.

The wives of the squadron members organized the reunion. For them, the memories of the Hoosier homecoming are still vivid even 50 years later.

"I was looking through all these men. He's been gone all this time. I wasn't recognizing anyone, then all of the sudden he appeared, then all of the sudden, we went right together," said Dixie Wall.

Every member of the 71st Special Operations Squadron returned back to Indiana from Vietnam. They returned as brothers with a bond that remains strong even decades later.

"By the grace of God, we all came home,” said Earl Wall.

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