LELAND, NC (WWAY) — More than 40 years after two best friends saw each other for the last time while serving in the Vietnam War, they reunited for the first time in Leland this week.
It may come as no surprise that this friendship started when Danny Cherry and Earle Glenn Wood were only 18 in the Navy.
“We were pals and saw the world together. You stay close as a friend over there. Most service members stay close,” Cherry said.
How would you describe him as a friend?
“My body guard,” Wood said.
In 1974, Cherry and Wood were both on the USS Oriskany in the Vietnam War.
“There were four of us that stayed together,” Cherry said.
Cherry and Wood’s bond included matching clothes in Hong Kong.
“Like silk flowery pants made which everyone thought it was crazy, but we did stuff like that,” Cherry said.
They also did stuff more permanent like getting tattoos together.
“I have the anchor and then I always called him Woody,” Cherry said. “That was his nickname. He said I want to get a tattoo. he said I want to get Woody Wood Pecker with the red boxing gloves you know on this shoulder. I said I’ll go with you. And it was just comical that we went and got it.”
After traveling the world together for two years, it all came to an end.
“We decommissioned after Vietnam,” Cherry said. “Everybody went their separate ways.”
That was the last time they ever saw each other 43 years ago.
After listening to Cherry’s stories for more than 40 years, his wife Gail was determined to find the men in them.
“From the day I met Danny, he talked about his best friends in the military,” Gail said.
That’s when she turned to Facebook, but she did not know Wood’s full name. She just knew he was called Woody. After some searching and reaching out, Cherry found the profile of “Glenn Wood.”
“That’s when I said, ‘Are you the one with a tattoo? and that’s when he said ‘Is this the Danny Cherry that went with me to get a tattoo of Woody Woodpecker on my back?’ Gail said.
“I didn’t think for sure that he was the right person and then his wife Gail asked me about the tattoo on my back and I said yep that’s Danny. That’s him,” Wood said.
Cherry lives in California. Wood lives in South Carolina. After more than a year and a half of talking and planning, they arranged to meet. Cherry said he and his wife were visiting some family in North Carolina and made a plan to meet Wood in Leland.
“Hey buddy!” Cherry said.
It was a long awaited reunion after more than four decades. It may come as no surprise, that they picked up right where they left off.
It is a friendship that started at 18, but they knew would last a lifetime.
“It’s a bond that we won’t forget. There are some things that we did that we don’t need to talk about, but it was fun and it was an experience that I don’t think I’ll ever experience again,” Wood said.
Cherry said he also found one of the other friends in their group Danny Kesswater. They never found the fourth one. They’re still looking for Clifford Hicks.