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Vietnam Vet Pals Reunite, 48 Years Later

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Jose Velgara, left, and Louis Celiz today. (photos provided by Jose Velgara)

Jose Velgara, left, and Louis Celiz today. (photos provided by Jose Velgara)

miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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(CBS) –  A veteran from Chicago is leaving for Los Angeles Friday morning to see a friend: a fellow Marine he hasn’t seen since they were both on patrol in Vietnam in 1966.

WBBM’s Steve Miller has the story.

Jose Velgara was still a teenager when he met his buddy, Louis Celiz, in basic training. Then they ended up in Vietnam in 1966, both on patrol.

“We went through a lot of stuff.  A lot of combat stuff.  Things you don’t talk about.  Things you see,” Velgara says.

WBBM 780’s Steve Miller

vet buddies then Vietnam Vet Pals Reunite, 48 Years Later
WBBM 780/105.9FM

They’ve tried finding each other over the years, but as teenagers they’d misspelled each others’ names.

Now in their late-60s, Celiz finally managed to find Velgara and wrote him two weeks ago from California.

The letter ended: “Give me a call if this is you.”

“Forty-eight years, and we finally get together,” Velgara says. “I dreamed that hopefully I’d see him some day. And thank God he gave us the opportunity.”

Velgara says Celiz told him he has cancer.

“So I’m going to fly out to L.A., and hopefully we can share each other’s grief and memories that we had together. And hopefully it’ll help him and I to forget a lot of things,” he says.

 

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