You might have heard about veterans groups like I Was Shot At, made up of fliers from World War II and the Korean War. But I was reminded recently that vets don’t need to have fought in a war to establish a bond that last for decades.
Richard Ackerman of Northampton told me about his group of former National Guardsmen and how they continue to celebrate their friendship.
“It all started back in the ’50s,” he wrote, “when a bunch of fellows from the Lehigh Valley joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, 213th Regiment, Battery C, located in Bethlehem. At that time the group was anti-aircraft.
“The non-coms had a slush fund of money to be spent. It was decided to have a dinner, which was at the original Village Inn on Tilghman Street in Allentown.
We had 12 individuals at that meeting [in 1962], and we still had monies left from our slush fund, and it was suggested that every year we meet for the camaraderie and fellowship.”
Richard sent me a list of the 12 Apostles, as they called themselves. Besides himself, the ex-Guard members were Dennis Casciano, who died in 1991; Joseph Deutsch (died in 2000); Charles Hettenbach; Martin Lynn (died in 2007); Loyal McCarty (died in 1995); Joseph Nemeth; William Oplinger (died in 2002); Charles Schultz; Emil Schwartz; Michael Vidumsky; and Donald Williams.
Though their ranks have thinned, they have been true to the commitment they made to themselves almost half a century ago. In August, six of the seven surviving Apostles attended their 49th reunion.