The Moultrie Observer
Two old Army buddies got together in Moultrie a few weeks ago and traveled to Florida to meet a third buddy. It was the first time the three had seen one another in 42 years since being stationed together in South Korea.
“Before leaving Korea we had made a pact that we would meet every 10 years but we didn’t do that. It took 42 years but it won’t be another 42 before we do it again,” said Moultrian Danny Jewell.
The internet can be crediited with the reunion that came as a surprise to Jewell, who retired 16 years ago after teaching English at Moultrie Tech.
Jewell had graduated with Spanish and English degrees from Georgia Southwestern in Americus in 1968 and was planning a teaching career. Then he was drafted. He joined the Arny at the height of the Vietnam War and was awaiting orders for deployment. He was odered to South Korea.
His older brother was serving in Vietnam at the time and Jewell assumes that affected his own assignment. He also had a brother in the Navy.
Jewell would wind up on an inspection team that traveled from base to base in South Korea inspecting motor pools. It was there he met John Borovka of Old Town, Fla., and Hal Earl of Aledo, Ill.
“i was not prepared for Korea and I didn’t know what to expect,” Jewell reclalls. “We saw Quonset Huts and rice fields.”
There were four members of each inspection team and Jewell said no one could identify the fourth man who was photographed with the three. He said they bonded quickly.
“We three really hit it off,” Jewell said.
The three men would leave South Korea in 1970 and would not speak again until three years ago when Borovka used the internet to track down Jewell in Moultrie. After an initial phone call the two men kept contact after that primarily through postcards Borovka, a California native, would mail during his travels around the world. Borovka had been “the laid-back one” and had retired from furniture and cabinet making.
“He knew I would always be in Georgia,” Jewell said.
Borovka kept searching for Earl and eventually would get an address and maill him a letter.
“Earl said he was shocked when he got the letter from someone he knew 42 years ago,” Jewell said. “He said he had thought of us but never thought we would ever communicate together.”
Earl, who had retired from John Deere, and his wife would arrange to visit Moultrie where they met with Jewell and his iwife Suzan.
“When Earl came to Moultrie and rang the doorbell I was a little apprehensive. But it was the same fellow from 42 years ago and I felt a lot more comfortable,” Jewell said..
After having dinner and driving the couple around Colquitt County the two men decided to travel to Florida and visit Borovka and his wife. The three couples met in a historical restaurant and talked about old times.
Jewell said the conversaton over three days made him more aware of the dangerous situation in South Korea at the time they were there. Four soldiers had been killed by North Koreans in the DMZ. Jewell has been affected by his own exposure to Agent Orange there.
“At the time I was more concerned about my brother in Vietnam than in my own situation,” Jewell said. His brother was wounded iin Vietnam and has suffered from PTSD and kidney problems from Agent Orange.
Jewell saiid he is just grateful that he, Borovka and Earl could reunite. As his wife Suzan put it: “One is lucky to have one good friend in a lifetime, but these three will forever be the best of buddies.”