Veterans reunited after 49 years to become neighbors in East Texas

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TYLER, Tex. (KETK) – You might remember our story on Veterans Day, when two Vietnam veterans reunited for the first time in 49 years.

Two men brought back together through the powerful platform of social media. 

KETK Today anchor Cynthia McLaughlin checks back in with the duo to see what they’ve been up to all of these months. 

A reunion Wayne Ochadleus and William Hennessey never imagined possible, made a reality. 

I’m not leaving yet, said Wayne Ochadleus, Vietnam War veteran.

Four months later, just two friends sharing a meal. 

I’m excited that he wanted to get out of the cold weather in Michigan and come down to Texas. He flew down a couple of weeks ago. So now we’re just planning his escape, said William Hennessey, Vietnam War veteran.

We’ve just been hanging out, me and Will. Just reliving the past. I love it, said Ochadleus.

What would you do if you hadn’t seen your best friend in fifty years? 

We’ve been out in the yard doing yard work, said Hennessey.

Wayne says once it warms up in Michigan, he will pack up his things, sell his house and come right back to Texas, trading the Great Lakes for Lake Palestine. 

By the lake is nice, it’s beautiful out there, said Ochadleus.

Once Wayne is all moved in, the guys have some pretty big plans. 

We’re going to make up for it. This summer we’re going to Vegas. He has two daughters that live in Vegas so we’re going there and we’ve got the rest of the year planned pretty much, said Hennessey.

Fifty years ago soldiers like Wayne and William came back to what they call ‘the world.’

I know when I got off the plane they called me baby killer, said Ochadleus.

I didn’t experience that. I changed into my civilian clothes and bought my own ticket in San Francisco and flew home and basically went AWOL, said Hennessey.

Today, the reaction is very different.

He’ll have that hat on, and we’ll get stopped every time, and get in a long conversation, said Hennessey.

On the special anniversary, the veterans say they’re just happy the war is over, 

So nobody else has to suffer, said Ochadleus.

They’re also grateful to be reunited. 

We mentioned last time that the chopper they flew on would be put in a California museum.

William says it has been through a million dollar restoration. Now it’s flying combat support in Afghanistan. 

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