Luray Vietnam vet reunites with war buddy 55 years later
LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - Donnie Price is a Vietnam War veteran from Luray, and in April he traveled out to Arizona to reconnect with a friend he served with whom he hadn’t seen in 55 years.
“I was excited, as excited as I was when our children were born and when we got married, I was a nervous wreck,” said Price.
Price is a lifelong Luray resident who served 18 months in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Army 444th Transportation Company. Price and his company traveled throughout Vietnam, supplying ammunition and aviation fuel to their fellow U.S. troops.
“We’d run convoys to An Khe, Pleiku, Kontum, and Da Nang, all those places. We were some of the first ground troops in Vietnam,” said Price.
Price recalled first arriving in Saigon during the war. He said the heat was the first thing he noticed.
“As soon as the plane landed you could feel the heat. It was 137 degrees and the heat was coming through the exterior of the plane,” he said.
During his tour in Vietnam, Price became good friends with a man in his company named Eddie Ward, from San Manuel, Arizona.
“We worked together every day, we saw each other every day of the week,” said Price.
The two men finished their tour in 1967 and arrived back in the U.S. at the same time at which point they parted ways. They didn’t speak again until about 15 years ago when Ward called Price out of the blue one day after tracking him down online. The two began to talk on the phone from time to time.
“It was wonderful hearing from him. So we made up our minds that sooner or later we would see each other and we planned this trip probably 10 years ago,” said Price. “But then my mother was ill and passed and my wife’s mother was ill and passed and we just never could get together and go. So this year we decided we’re going and we did.”
In April, Price and his wife Sue flew out to Tucson, Arizona where the two friends were united face to face for the first time in 55 years.
“He said ‘you don’t look anything like you did in Vietnam’ and I said ‘well you don’t either,’ but his voice, I would’ve recognized his voice anywhere,” said Price.
The two men and their wives spent a few days together catching up and five decades later the bond they forged in the jungles of Vietnam remained strong.
“It was like, here I am again you know. It was great, we joked and laughed and we had a wonderful time,” said Price.
Price said it was great to reunite with his war buddy. As a 52-year member of the VFW, he said connecting with other veterans is important.
“It’s great to get together and talk about things that happened, good times and bad times,” said Price. “It means a lot, it’s like a second family to me to have that comradery with all those guys.”
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