A reunion 63 years in the making took place in Benton, Arkansas this week after a book of battle stories fell into the right hands.
Now in his 90’s, Marine veteran Len Maffioli, talks about the years he spent serving his country in his novel, ‘Grown Gray in War.’
Many of those experiences he shared with battle buddy Ted Wheeler, whom he first met at Camp Pendleton in California in 1943. Both part of the 4th Marine division, they went through boot camp together and later drove trucks during WW II, according to KATV.
Then, in 1950, as part of reserve units in different parts of the country the two friends were shipped off to fight in Korea. “We ended up together again, we were in World War II, we met aboard ship and now we’re captured in this convoy.” said Len.
While traveling in a convoy during the Korean War, they fell under enemy fire and became prisoners of war together. Six months later they escaped.
But after returning home, Len says the Korean POW Association told him Ted wheeler had died.
Luckily though Len Maffioli’s stories —published in 1995– fell into the right hands. When Ted’s granddaughter saw her grandfather’s name in Len’s book, she got the two talking again.
“I almost dropped the phone! I said I can’t believe it. They told me you were dead,” said Len.
The long lost friends finally reunited this week in Benton. Both now in their 90’s – they still haven’t lost their great sense of humor and seems the two pals just picked up where they left off.