A band of brothers who fought valiantly together during the Vietnam War from July, 1967 through April, 1970, reunited last weekend in Vero Beach, growing smaller in number over the years but greater in stature in the eyes of their countrymen.
Vero resident Frank Jencik played host to more than 30 fellow members and their families for the 24th reunion of the Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, Rangers, 1st Infantry Division.
On Saturday morning, members of the community joined them for a special service in front of the Vietnam Memorial Marker at Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary. Shaded by trees and with a lovely breeze blowing off the river, the quietly respectful crowd of civilians and fellow veterans gathered to honor the heroic group.
“Of the 24 reunions, this is the largest group we’ve ever had,” said former Company Commander Ron Saxton of members who had travelled here from all over the country.
“We’ve always had a toast to our fallen, but this is the first time we’ve ever read the names of the 41 fellows who didn’t return,” said Jencik, commenting that the names hadn’t been read together for almost half a century.
Saxton noted that the 16th Rangers were the most decorated active unit in the U.S. Army; one with a 150-year history from the Civil War to today, with troops stationed in Africa and Kuwait.
“We’re proud to be part of that legacy,” said Saxton.