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Chance Sighting Leads To Eventful Reunion

Local Leatherneck Club head, retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Wayne Reason, advised he recently was able to reunite with his first commanding officer after spotting him on a broadcast of the Marine Corps birthday celebration.

His former commanding officer, Retired Sergeant Major Al Meringolo was being honored at the celebration of his contributions during the Korean War.

After spotting Meringolo, Reason began to track him down and eventually learned he had moved to California after retiring from military service. From there, he learned that Meringolo had since moved to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington D.C.

Using this information, Reason was able to contact his former CO and set up a trip where he and his wife drove up to Washington D.C. to meet over Labor Day weekend.

Reason advised that although the 87-year-old Meringolo now is relegated to a walker, his mind is still sharp. The two former soldiers reveled in their war stories all weekend, reliving past glory and of course commiserating the trials that come along the title, United States Marine.

Reason said he was happy that his former leader and friend could retire in such a place that honors military service. We often hear stories about how veterans are mistreated after they return home, especially when it comes to getting medical assistance from the Veteran’s Administration, but the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington is a second-to-none facility that houses old leathernecks as well as anywhere in the country.

During the visit, Reason got to accompany Meringolo as he was honored by a group of Korean ROTC members as they honored him for his service. As part of their military service during the Korean conflict, Meringolo and company escorted hundreds of North Korean refugees to safety in South Korea.

With the way things are now, it’s easy to look back at the Korean War and think too many American soldiers died and nothing good came of it, but for at least some, those men were heroes.