Two friends who fought side by side in Vietnam were reunited Wednesday for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Joe Falzone, 69, from Wylie hasn’t seen his Vietnam War buddy Joe Martinez since 1966. Martinez flew in Wednesday for Thanksgiving.
Falzone looked for Martinez for almost half a century, but the war, getting wounded and life separated the two.
And with a common name like Joe Martinez, Falzone’s friend was impossible to find.
“I knew he was from California, but I didn't know where in California,” said Falzone.
He scoured databases, attended reunions and hired two private eyes, but nothing worked until he did some digging on Facebook.
He turned up a list of 10 possible matches. The very last one was his friend.
Falzone arranged for Martinez to fly to Texas from Phoenix for Thanksgiving.
After minutes that felt like hours, Falzone finally laid eyes on Martinez, close to 50 years after seeing him for the last time.
“I never thought I'd see him again,” said Martinez. “And it was God's gift to me when he called me.”
“Seeing that? It really touched me,” said passenger Tracey Sian. “I get a little emotional myself and I’m happy to see them come home and see each other. It’s just special.”
Now that Falzone has found Martinez, he says he won't let him go; there are plans for a company reunion in September next year, but they'll stay in touch well before then.