It’s been a long time since 92-year-old Sealy resident Richard Reynolds served as a tail gunner in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Most of his Marine buddies have passed away and were among the veterans remembered on Monday’s Memorial Day holiday.
“I had the only machine gun on the plane,” Reynolds recalled of his tours during World War II. “I was looking out all the time.”
About a month ago he was selected to join other vets on a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit war memorials.
“They recognize the greatest generation and let them tell some stories,” said Reynolds’ friend Buddy Chance, executive director of Helping One Another-Meals on Wheels.
Chance is a U.S. Army veteran who visits Reynolds every weekday with a fresh meal.
“Some of the best times I had were … just the camaraderie,” Chance said of his time in the military. “You’ll never recapture that.”
Although Reynolds acknowledges that his memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, he does cherish some good memories of his 12-hour missions after he enlisted in 1942. He’s now wheelchair-bound and spends his days reading. He looks forward to those daily visits from Buddy Chance and talks occasionally on the phone to an old war buddy.
“I thought I was a good kid but if I hadn’t gone into the Marine Corps I don’t know what I would have done,” he said. “I probably would have been dead a long time ago. I’ve had a lot of fun; I’ve done a lot of things.”
While in D.C., Reynolds and his comrades visited a memorial where a photo was displayed. It depicted six men at a flag-raising ceremony in Iwo Jima.
“There’s 13 hands on that flagpole but just six men,” he said. “We think that other hand is the hand of the Lord.”