GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -
(06/12/14) - Two World War II veterans were reunited 72 years after the heat of battle pulled them apart.
Both men grew up in the Flint area and both were part of the U.S. invasion of New Guinea. But after one lost an arm to an enemy bomb, their paths never crossed, until Thursday.
Ninety-six-year-old Gerry Keyworth lives in a senior complex in Grand Blanc Township. A recent newspaper article highlighted his military service. It also rang a bell for a man who served in the same unit.
"The name. I didn't recognize the picture, but the name," said Gerald McFall, of Genesee Township.
So 95-year-old McFall had his son call Abbey Park. That's where the newspaper article said Keyworth lives.
"I said, 'Let's try to get them together," said Kathy Felix, the Abbey Park administrator.
The two agreed to meet for lunch at Abbey Park. Both use wheelchairs. Onlookers applauded when they rolled up beside each other. They talked about their late wives and their post-war careers before moving into the dining room, each accompanied by a son.
"Yeah, I remember him. But like I say, there were 300 or 400 (men in the company) and he was in a different section than I was," Keyworth said.
Keyworth has a prosthetic hand because of his war injury.
"I remember the day he got it. That was the last time. It was a long time ago," McFall said.
They talked about Keyworth's hospital care and how he was still able to smoke cigarettes despite having both arms in traction. Keyworth says he wants to get together with McFall again soon.
"Sure. Absolutely, it's been a long time. A lot of things to talk about," Keyworth said.
"I can't describe the feeling. It was just amazing, really. A huge honor to be able to reunite these two men who knew each other back in the 1940's and haven't seen each other since," Felix said.
Keyworth received two Bronze Stars during his military service. Both men returned to Genesee County after the war, and while they weren't close friends in the Army, it never occurred to them to seek out each other until now.