Vietnam Vets Reunited After 35 Years - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/29/03

Vietnam Vets Reunited After 35 Years

Thirty-five years later, Narciso "JR" Florez and Aubrey Brewer are side by side once again.

These two navy veterans served together for two years in the Vietnam War on board the USS Providence - the fighting flagship for the seventh fleet.

They were trained as man overboard swimmers.

Many of the images and even the sounds of war remain with them as if it all happened yesterday.

"They lowered me down with a harness and rope and I'm out there swimming, picking up bodies and handed them up to the boys in the back in the boat division,"said Florez.

During that time, Narciso left the ship for a month to marry Marie Connie.

When he returned, he found that his best friend had been injured and was gone.

Florez never had a chance to say goodbye.

"There hasn't been a year passed by since me and him first met that I don't think about this guy. he was like my younger brother, my little baby brother, that wherever you found me you found him and vice versa," said Florez.

"In the past 35 years, I have often thought of Jr. and the last couple of years, I really tried to get a hold of him. We looked on the computer, we called places, he used to live in Victorville, California, and we called numerous people out there with the last name Florez and we never could get in contact with him so I had just about given up on it," said Brewer.

But Marie Connie Florez didn't give up, and through the efforts of herself as well as their sons, she couldn't think of a better 35th wedding anniversary gift than bringing her husband and his best friend together again.

"Even at our wedding, JR kept saying I wish Aubrey was here. I wish Aubrey was here. I said you know if you do get your compensation somehow or another your sons and I will look for him. I just felt these two needed to meet. And never lose each other again," said Marie Connie Florez.

And from the looks of it, these two will be connected for years to come.

The two say they definitely plan to see each other again.

Since they met in Harrison County this year, they plan to meet at the home of the Florezes in Waco, Texas next year.

By Karla Redditte

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