Ingomar, MS(WCBI)-After more than 60 years, a Korean War veteran is reunited with an old Army buddy. But not before a long 15-year search.
“So me and Wilkie were together all the time. We slept together, we got up together, we went and fixed lines together and we got scared together, so,” said John Grisham, Korean Army Veteran.
Not to be confused with the famous author, Ingomar Army veteran John Grisham bonded with a soldier who once drove him around in a Jeep during his tour of duty in Korea. And for years, Grisham thought his friend George Allen Wilkinson was dead. Grisham, along with Wilkinson were communications men for a mortar company.
“The Koreans were in the habit of a lot of times going in and cutting the lines and waiting for the commo man to come out and fix the lines and they would either capture him or do away with him or something,” said Grisham.
Grisham thought of his friend many times over the years. His frustration and wonder sparked him to begin a search in 1995 for his Army buddy. It lasted until last summer when it was like he struck gold.
“I called a hundred and about 30 something George Wilkinsons in the United States, and all over the United States I called,” said Grisham.
It would be Grisham’s daughters Emily Browning and Keri Stout who would get on the computer and help track down Wilkie, who was living in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There was a reunion in Cincinnati last year. The two swapped stories of tense moments when mortar rounds hit on a place called Heartbreak Ridge.
“I pulled up in that draw and let John out to fix that line and I pulled up and I heard them hit out there. Boom, boom, boom,” said George Allen Wilkinson, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
And so with persistence and a little help from relatives, the two soldiers were reunited once again. And about their reconnection, Wilkie only had this to say….
“I thought it was great. He has aged a lot. I haven’t aged at all. Ha, ha, ha, ha,” said Wilkinson.
Grisham said it was hard tracking down his buddy who in civilian life went by the name of Al Wilkinson, not George Allen Wilkinson. They now get together as often as possible to renew old friendships.