Local veterans James Blount and Retired Colonel Buddy Barner never served together. They met just a year ago on a local walking track. They started walking together and talking about the past.
Blount says, "people like he will not talk about a lot of this unless you coax them. And I had to walk around the track many times to get these stories out of him."
Blount wanted to know Fighter Pilot Buddy Barner's stories for his new book. He found out quickly that in Korean and Vietnam, the highly decorated Colonel helped shape the world as we know it.
"He made a difference because the communist were expanding greatly. Russia was trying to take over Europe. Chinese were trying to take over all they could and they were working together to do this."
At the same time, young Americans like Buddy Barner were working together to stop the spread of communism. He remembers many run ins with Russian MIGS.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this MIG coming across. So I pulled around, pulled up, armed air to air missiles, and let both of them go at them and pulled up," Barner recalled. "I didn't know if I got him, but them I heard growling. When they do that it means they got him."
A moving picture in Blount's book shows the big celebration when Barner returned to base from his 100th flight. Many fighter pilots wouldn't make it past 50 flights.
In the fall of 1967, between October 15th and November 15th, Barner's group lost 45 airplanes.
"I knew a lot of the guys. I can look at that Vietnam wall and see a bunch of them in there."
Author Jim Blount wants future generations to remember the faces on the Vietnam Wall and other memorials. He also wants the heroism of brave men like Colonel Buddy Barner to be remembered.
Blount's memorial to them is on paper, not granite. It's called "Adventures on Land, Sea and in the Sky." Click here to learn more about the book from the publisher's web site.