Savannah, GA – It’s been 50 years since soldiers of the first battalion 12th army air cavalry regiment left Savannah’s shores for Vietnam. To celebrate this milestone, many from Charlie company came back to the waters that sent to off to war so long ago.
“It’s something that we never forget,” says Retired Colonel Bob Lindquist.
They returned, the men from Charlie company, sharing laughs, memories, and also sorrows as they honor those who aren’t here to join them.
1st bat. 12th army air cal:
“John Booth, Sgt. Shepherd, Jack Johnson, and John Quinn are the guys that didn’t come back that were from my platoon,” says Retired 1st Lt. Jay Snyder.
Snyder, along with many of these Vietnam vets, were separated by the end of the war. Thirty years passed, and eventually the Internet brought them back together with one of their first reunions taking place in 2000, 35 years since they were deployed. The vets retell stories of their time in “Nam” as one of the most active air assault units during the war.
“That’s what hits us the most we have the opportunity to get back together and a lot of people don’t, it’s, it was a Seminole period in our life there’s no question about it,” Snyder says.
It was a period these men, unlike thousands, can say they made it back from. To honor those who did not, the men threw into the Savannah harbor medals and awards those killed in action would have received.
“I’m just proud to be here, I’m just proud to be here and I’m proud of all these guys that are still with us and the memorial service we held today for the guys that didn’t make it back, it was very heart felt,” says John Spranza who left the army after he was shot five times during an ambush that resulted in the killing of the majority of his platoon besides him and four others.
Those feelings of both pride and pain, they shared on Tuesday’s Riverboat Cruise,no longer felt alone, but all together as they were then 50 years ago as a true band of brothers.
If you are interested in learning more about this group that served from 65′ until the end of the war in 1972, you can visit their website.