CARY — It had been 48 years since Bob Cummings and Ray Phillips last saw each other. But that changed when Oliver Gause recently arranged a luncheon meeting between the three Vietnam veterans, along with their wives, in Cary.
The three soldiers had been assigned to the Americal Division, Alpha Company of the 5th/46th 198th Light Infantry Brigade during the late 1960s. Cummings and Phillips served directly together in Vietnam for several months during 1967 and 1968. Gause later served with Cummings after Cummings was moved from the 4th platoon with Phillips to another platoon within Alpha Company.
Cummings and his wife Mei, who live in Raleigh, had first reunited with Gause, along with his wife Ellen and 18 other Alpha Company Vietnam buddies, last fall at the annual reunion of 1st platoon in Tennessee. They kept in contact with each other, and when they learned Phillips and his wife Sylvia would be coming from Niles, Mich., to Cary to visit with family, the mini-reunion was planned.
It was an emotional time for Cummings and Phillips as they discussed other friends and events that took place during their time together in Vietnam.
When Phillips and his wife are back in North Carolina again, the group made plans to join up for another luncheon to continue renewing these friendships of Vietnam buddies.