War Buddy Disappears After Vietnam War. 50 Years Later, Veteran Uses Clues To Find Him

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

The Vietnam War was one of the most gruesome conflicts in American history. It is no surprise that the soldiers who endured it bonded so closely with each other.

Joe Falzone still remembers his great friendship with war buddy Joe Martinez. He hadn’t seen him in 50 years. With a name as common as “Joe Martinez,” he was impossible to find.

The war, the wounds suffered from it, and life itself separated the two, but Falzone was determined to find his dear friend. In fact, he never stopped looking for him.

Falzone scoured databases, went to vet reunions, and even hired two private detectives. No luck, though — it was as if Martinez had disappeared. All Falzone had were two clues: the state he was from and his name.

“I knew he was from California, but I didn’t know where in California,” Falzone said.

After decades of bad leads, Falzone took to Facebook. He created a list of 10 possible matches, but it wasn’t until he reached out to the very last one that he found his friend. It turned out that Martinez had been in Phoenix all along.

In 2015, Falzone invited Martinez to his Texas home for Thanksgiving dinner.

“I never thought I’d see him again,” said Martinez. “And it was God’s gift to me when he called me.”

Total strangers, tearfully watched as the two war heroes embraced each other for the first time in half a century.

“Seeing that, It really touched me,” said eyewitness 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.”

The two plan on staying in touch for good and organizing bigger reunions in the future.

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