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By Pat Lisi

A year has gone by since the Echo Company 2/5 reunion (Echo Company was my combat outfit in Viet Nam), but I still have fond memories of the event.  Held in San Diego, California which is where most of the guys who showed up for the reunion went to boot camp, it was about a 7-hour drive for my wife Marjorie and I to get there from St. George, Utah, our home and the headquarters of Southern Utah Vet’s Aid.  SUVA is dedicated to the enrichment and empowerment of veterans from all eras and walks of life, with specific emphasis on improving the quality of life for vets right here in Southern Utah and the Saint George area.

Pictured here in civilian clothing are some of the former Marines who showed up for the reunion.  We are seated in some bleachers at MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) San Diego.  It is the 2nd full day of our gathering and we are attending the graduation ceremony of a “series” of new Marines (that’s roughly 500 grads).  Just to name a few of my friends from Echo Company, 2nd Battallion 5th Marine Regiment, I am in the very front row, the guy wearing the sunglasses.  To my left is my wife, Marjorie, and to my right is Lynn Dixon who was my first fire team leader in Nam.  Next to Lynn on his right is his wife, Joyce.  They live in Billings, Montana.

In the third row you see two guys wearing sunglasses who appear to be talking to each other.  Bruce Olson, Australia, appears to be listening to Bill Kirkpatrick, of West Chester, PA who is laughing about something or other.  Bruce was my platoon sergeant for much of my tour in Nam and by the time he left the country (twice) he had earned himself three purple heart awards and a silver star.  Bill, or Kirk as we call him today, was a 1st Lieutenant in Echo Company for 5 months; he was sent out of Vietnam with a severe head wound after being shot by an NVA sniper.  Kirk collected a purple heart for that, of course, and he also was awarded the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Award with combat V device for valor.

Reunions are good and everyone had fun.  We were together 5 days and are anxious for the next one which is in October, 2012 in Quantico, Virginia.  As the years go by the group gets smaller, but we hope to find and add more veterans from our ranks to attend the reunions.  I know Marjorie and I will make the effort to get from Saint George, Utah to Quantico, God willing that is.  Hopefully, we will make it to many, many more.

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