Vietnam vets reunite in Lincoln

Vets pose with their certificate from the Nebraska Navy
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LINCOLN, Neb. -- It's been 50 years since a group of veterans served together in Vietnam. Now they get together every year to reminisce and heal and this year that brought them all to Lincoln.

The combat vets all served in the same company between 1968 and 1970. They don't all know each other but since the 1990s they've been getting together. At first it was just a way for friends to reconnect but now they say it feels more like family.

Jim Lewis, of Minnesota, said, “Our bodies change as we get older but their face, just their face, it's unbelievable. Because it's the same face that I always remember."

The men were combat soldiers in Vietnam. Theirs is an experience that few know outside of themselves.

Nebraska’s Wayne Johnson said, “You never forget about Vietnam. It's just a year of our lives but we think about it every day."

After they'd finished their tour in 69 and 70 they came home and they lost contact with each other.

Wayne Alexander, of Wisconsin, said, “They did cold calls to cities, and try and locate some of the guys, and that's how I got contacted."

Now the group has been meeting every year for the past 30. They meet in different cities across the country for four days. This year they were inducted into the Nebraska Navy as admirals. That's just one experience they've shared together.

Alexander said, “They were all there and it was like 20 years hadn't passed. It was amazing."

Johnson said, “We took solace in each other's company because we knew we did the right thing. In our company, there were 16 guys died while I was there in combat and we try to live for those guys."

The men come from all over and the miles between do nothing to deter a relationship from growing between the reunions.

Johnson said, “You needed something we'd probably all be there in a moment’s notice or vice versa."

Moreover the process of being together and sharing experiences has been healing for the group.

Jim Lewis said, “I had it bottled up and it was sitting on a shelf. But this just opened me up."

This year, 22 vets made it to the reunion. The men said they weren't expecting this reunion group to come from their time in Vietnam but they're so happy it did.