WWII friends reunited after 62 years
Published: August 14, 2007 | 6640th good news item since 2003
Friendships forged during World War II can last a lifetime. Even if two old war buddies are separated by 62 years since last seeing each other.
Memorial Day weekend, Mike and Cathy Voegele of Jackson Township drove U.S. Army veteran Paul Brown of Owensville to visit his friend and fellow veteran Arthur Pitstick living in Yellow Springs for their first reunion since Brown left Iwo Jima in 1945.
“We pulled into the driveway and he (Pitstick) came out on a little step by the door. Paul Brown was in the car and he said: ‘Well that’s Pitstick,'” said Mike, who helped Brown find his friend using Pitstick’s name from a letter he sent to Brown just after leaving Iwo Jima. “They were beside themselves after seeing each other. It was really great.”
The reunion happened because Mike was interviewing Brown at St. Louis Church in Owensville for a book he is writing on World War II veterans from the church, said Brown. Mike then used the Internet to find Pitstick and set up the meeting by telephone.
“It was a regular handwritten letter, and he wished me a lot of luck after I got home,” said Brown about leaving Iwo Jima and his friend behind after his service ended. “I presumed he was still on a farm in Yellow Springs, and that’s where we found him.”
The two war buddies spent about three and a half hours talking to each other about their experiences, said Mike. And each had a souvenir they collected from the war while they were stationed on Tongatapu Island. Brown had a small hand-carved native canoe, Mike said, and Pitstick had a bed cloth hammered from tree bark.
They also looked over pictures from their basic training in Camp Shelby, Miss., he said, which were taken before they were placed into L Company of the 37th Division and shipped to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese.
“We were all friends,” said Brown about the men he served with in the U.S. Army. “Everybody looked out for their buddies. You didn’t think about yourself.”