Vietnam Veterans Meet In Biloxi To Share War Stories - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/30/05

Vietnam Veterans Meet In Biloxi To Share War Stories

Vietnam veterans from all over the United States came together Saturday afternoon at the Biloxi Beach Resort to reflect on their common bond.

They were all part of a classified operation known as "Blind Bat".

"What we did was basically fly into Laos and North Vietnam over the Ho Chi Minh Trail and watch for movement, and sometimes we were helped with that, but normally it was an eyeball thing. You watched for headlights or something, and then we would drop flares and light them up and then the fighter bombers would see to come in and strike them," said Vietnam veteran Ralph Kroch.

From the early 60s to 1970, the job of these men was to keep North Vietnamese supplies from reaching the South.

During this event known as "BatFest 2", these veterans recapped some of the highs and lows of that time.

"I crashed of '62 in a C-123 in central highlands of central southeast Asia. My wife got a telegram from the war department saying I was dead. The insurance company sent her the insurance check, but they found us before she cashed the check. And they asked her to return it. I had a daughter and year and a half old, and I wondered how she was going to grow up without a father, and that was the biggest thing on my mind at the time," said Vietnam veteran Charles Richards.

But even within the scared moments, there were times of happiness.

And being able to share of their experiences is what keeps bringing these guys together each year.

"Sometimes we're not really sure of what we were doing and why we were doing it and whether we should have been doing it, but I think what we've found as we talk to each other and now that we've seen 35 years go behind us, we know that what we did was good and we did help," said veteran Bob Kellock.

Saturday was the final day of the group's three-day get together.

This was their second year of coming together in Biloxi.

By Karla Redditte

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