Local veterans share their service ‘buddy’ stories


By Bev Mullen - For the Record-Herald



Tom Esper

Tom Esper


Bill Footy


Cliff Puckett


David Frederick


Terry Adkins


Glenn Rankin


Paul Sands


Cecil Rattliff


Bob Crouse


Patty Dewees


“A buddy” is defined as a comrade or a chum; as a person attached to another by personal regard.

Did every soldier have a buddy? No. Did they all stay in touch? No. For some veterans what began as a friendship to ease the loneliness has blossomed into life-long relationships that are still strong today. Sadly, some buddies have died. The staff of the Washington Court House Record-Herald appreciates our participating veterans for sharing their “buddy” stories this Memorial Day weekend. When you see a veteran, thank them for their service.

Veteran BOB CROUSE

US Army

Vietnam 1961-1964

What’s In A Name? Bob Crouse enlisted in the Army and was sent to Hawaii for boot camp. “Everybody being deployed had to put their clothing and other non-essentials into steel lockers. Our names and Army address were attached to the locker. All the lockers were put on a different ship and were sent to our duty station overseas. With-in a month, I was assigned to the 25th Division, Artillery, and six months later I was still waiting for my locker.” Here is the rest of the story. Bob Crouse had some distant relatives living in Kansas. His cousin, Andy Crouse, had enlisted and went to radio schools for maintenance on helicopters. Bob got a call one day from cousin Andy introducing himself and saying that he had Bob’s locker. Vietnam was a long way to go to hear from a cousin. After his discharge, Bob went to Kansas to meet his cousins and to see his uncle.

Veteran PAUL SANDS

US Navy

1953 – 1957

“It’s A Small World”: After his four years of service, upon discharge Paul Sands enlisted in the Reserves as a Hospital Corpsman giving him a total of 26 years in the Navy. As a reservist, Paul was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. About one year into his reserve career, he met Robert Wortman. Robert was from Zanesville, Ohio. Two Ohio boys stationed at the same hospital and he was also a hospital corpsman. You see, Paul was from Newark, Ohio. Robert was re-assigned to different places but the two buddies managed to meet a couple more times. Sadly, Paul and Robert lost track of each other. Upon retirement from the Navy, Paul joined the Naval Reserves. He also joined the American Legion and transferred his membership to the Paul Hughey Post 25 when he moved to Washington Court House. According to Paul, after joining the Naval Reserves, he had the privilege of conducting the physical of the present 2nd Vice Commander of the Ohio American Legion, thus combining two of Paul’s life-long careers.

Veteran GLENN RANKIN

Ohio Air National Guard

1965 – 1995

“Brothers in Arms – Friends for Life”: Glenn was a jet engine mechanic in the Ohio Air National Guard. In 1975, a guardsman by the name of Dave Shifflet was transferred into Glenn’s unit. Though they had different functions on the base, Glenn and Dave became good friends. Because they had different duties for maintaining the jets, they moved up in rank together. They were often the only maintenance control for the entire unit. The two men shared many deployments: once in Spain and in 1991, both men were sent to different places in the Middle East for Desert Storm. Dave lives in Waverly, Ohio, with his family. Glenn and his family live here in Fayette County. These buddies have stayed close for the past 23 years. Their families have vacationed together. They each attended the funeral of the other’s mother and the families have attended the weddings of each other’s children and, both attend their unit’s yearly breakfast. According to Glenn, Dave and his family were the blessing that came from a trying period in his life.

Veteran TERRY ADKINS

US Marine Corps

1981 – 1984

“Brotherhood”: “My buddy was Brian Davis,” shares Terry. “We were stationed at Camp Pendleton, California, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. “We spent most of our off-duty time together. We just clicked.” Terry also shares there were some rough times and that it was good knowing the two of them had someone they could count on, not necessarily to talk— just to be. “We have stayed in touch over the years. I went to his wedding back in 1985 and, in 2013, I went to visit him when he moved to Texas. It was like no time had passed since our last visit. That is the way it has always been.”

Veteran PATTY DEWEES

Women’s Army Corps

1964 – 1966

“It’s a WACS World”: Patty met her service buddy, Kathy Campbell, in January of 1965 while stationed at West Point. Both women worked in the Dental Clinic. Patty, from Fayette County, and Kathy from Virginia, took a liking to each other almost immediately. They were each the maid of honor for the other’s wedding. As happens frequently, they lost track of each other…. these two for 47 years. Interestingly, they never forgot each other. They spoke to their families about their memories of each other. Patty tried several times to find Kathy on the internet. One day she was successful. They both rejoiced in the contact after so many years had passed. “Well, Kathy and my son Jim got to talking and conspiring on a way to surprise me with a visit. That was three years ago.” Patty remembers, “I was sitting at the veteran’s table. We all take turns at the table. I looked up and saw Jim. He didn’t belong at the fair, he lives in Columbus. And then I saw Kathy. I was speechless. What a wonderful gift from my son. My service buddy is with me again.”

Veteran DAVID FREDERICK

US Air Force

1960-1964

“See The World”: “My buddy was Bob Mjoen from Minnesota. We were stationed at Lackland Air Force Base. It almost killed us! Not the work, it was the heat and humidity. Bob’s hometown was International Falls, almost on the Canadian border, and I came from temperate Ohio.” David indicated that Biloxi, Mississippi was the same. “My service buddy was used to walking to school in below freezing weather and here he was stationed in the most humid states in our nation.” Dave shares that they “had a great education. I learned a lot about myself and what I could do. Bob and I sort of grew up together.” These two country boys, while stationed in Mississippi, witnessed the race riots. “We had never experienced that kind of hatred in our lives. Seeing it changes you somehow.” The two men also experienced the culture of England and were deployed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unfortunately, these two buddies lost track of each other, but David remembers his service buddy, Bob, fondly.

Veteran CECIL RATTLIFF

US Army

1967 – 1969

“What’s In A Name, Part Two”: Glenn Rattliff’s parents came from Kentucky, the Pikeville area of Kentucky—coal mining country. Cecil grew up in Greenup, Kentucky. The two soldiers met at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. Cecil and Glenn were in the same company in Vietnam. They shipped out of California in mid-May of 1968. They landed in Vietnam and were in the same company for one year before both were reassigned to Lenard Wood, Missouri for six months prior to their discharge in November. “In the 24 months we both served, we were together for 18 months. This was unusual.” But also unusual was that they were born in the same year just 25 days apart and both born and raised in Kentucky. These two buddies have stayed in touch for 50 years. Reminiscing, Cecil shares the two “became brothers while in the service and stayed that way. Our service time was nothing out of the ordinary… other than we were there at the same time and met each other.”

Veteran CLIFF PUCKETT

US Navy

1967 – 1971

“Around the World”: “I had no idea what to expect. Then I met the man who would become my service buddy and my life-long friend. We were stationed in Omaha, Nebraska. He was the mail man for our unit. His name is George Moustakes. I was in communications.” The ship the two men were on was amphibious and went on maneuvers all over the seas practicing their craft. They were together on the ship when they were deployed to participate in the Guantanamo Bay shakedown cruise. They took all their leaves together. “We went to Greece and had a great time. What the Navy didn’t know was that George’s grandparents emigrated from Greece and he spoke the language.” Sadly, George died six years ago. Shares Cliff, “We were very close all those years. George visited us at our home. His wife notified us of his death. He was a great friend.”

Veteran BILL FOOTY

US Army

1967 – 1970

“The Good and the Ugly”: Bill grew up in Greene County, Ohio. His service buddy, Ed Wilson, grew up in West Virginia. Shares Bill, “Two country boys met during basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. We were engineers working with a heavy equipment outfit. We were headed to Vietnam.” Bill remembers they “were flown from Fort Lewis to Japan and then to Vietnam. Ed, who was as big as a bandy rooster, was stuck with the nickname Pee Wee.” They did their jobs and were lucky enough to come home. They lost track of each other after their discharge from the Army. Bill made “an exhaustive effort to find Ed,” but to no avail. On one of Bill’s jaunts into the internet world, he searched the name Ed Wilson. With huge eyes, Bill asks if anyone has an idea how many men are named Ed Wilson! “We had the same interests and we really hit it off. Ed was one of the good guys. You could pick out the good guys just by looking at them. Ed was one of them.” Bill believes he may have re-enlisted. Bill also remembers “thinking of Ed while stepping off the plane in Washington DC, I heard a commotion. A group of war protesters had run the American flag up the pole, up-side down and the crowd was cheering. I wondered how Ed’s homecoming went.”

Veteran TOM ESPER

US Navy

1956 – 1977

“She Served, Too”: Tom’s service experience was a bit different than most of the other experiences. His first duty station was with Norad at Port Columbus, Ohio. This is where Tom met his service buddy, Tom Pettit. Tom Pettit was from northern Ohio and both were electricians working out of the same shop. And, “We were both married!” Both men moved frequently. Tom remembers being stationed in Texas, Boston, and Germany—before the wall came down. And there were more: Michigan, Florida, Memphis, Tennessee and Washington state. Tom’s wife and children always went wherever Tom went. Once the families lived in Utah for 24 months while both Toms were on anti-submarine patrol. Because the Espers’ did not own a car, they had certain needs that were high on the list for housing. They needed to be close to schools so the children could walk. And they needed to be close to stores for grocery shopping. To this day, Tom and his service buddy Tom, are still in touch with each other. Only now, Tom has a vehicle.

Tom Esper
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_2.jpgTom Esper

Bill Footy
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_3.jpgBill Footy

Cliff Puckett
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_4.jpgCliff Puckett

David Frederick
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_5.jpgDavid Frederick

Terry Adkins
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_7.jpgTerry Adkins

Glenn Rankin
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_8.jpgGlenn Rankin

Paul Sands
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_9.jpgPaul Sands

Cecil Rattliff
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_2018051595.jpgCecil Rattliff

Bob Crouse
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_10.jpgBob Crouse

Patty Dewees
https://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2018/05/web1_2018050995.jpgPatty Dewees

By Bev Mullen

For the Record-Herald

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