PALM COAST, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - This weekend, four Marine veterans huddled together at Cinnamon Beach in Palm Coast, Florida. They gathered around a standing yellow longboard and gazed into the camera.
To anyone passing by, it probably seemed like any other old photograph. But for these Vietnam War veterans, it was an unforgettable reunion – and a chance to recreate a moment they’d shared about 50 years ago. “It's a really funny picture," one said. “But one with a lot of heart behind it.”
Bob DeVenezia, 70, Bob Falk, 71, Tom Hanks, 69, and Dennis Puleo, 69, trained together as part of the same weapons platoon at California’s Camp Pendleton in 1966, they told the The Naples Daily News. Once deployed to Vietnam, they were split up.
Three served as machine gunners and one as an anti-tank man. Two earned Purple Hearts. “We just broke up. Life is funny like that,” DeVenezia said. But after reuniting, Puleo said, “We all know that we've been given a gift of 50 years.”