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Old friends are the BEST friends

Leslie Brown

The best friendships are the ones where you can pick up right where you left off, without missing a beat. There is no awkwardness, just “catching up” to do and “private jokes” to retell.

These two buddies were referred to as “M&M”; Martinez and Mueller. It’s obvious they were as tight as two brothers. They were 17 and 18 when they met in the Navy on the U.S.S White Plains, a supply ship where they were both exposed to “Agent Orange”.

Time, moves, and marriages separated the two. In the days before the internet, it wasn’t as easy as it is now, to find someone. Finally, all of the searching paid off. The two were reunited this past weekend due to the kindness of Rick’s community who helped them pull last-minute traveling expenses together.

They were just two boys from Denver and Le Sueur, but it was the M&M friendship that brought them close. Martinez left for home one year earlier than Mueller, but after he got discharged, Mueller only saw Martinez once during his wedding in Denver in 1975. After that, they lost touch.

In 1976, Mueller tried to look up his friend at a gas station and called all the Joe Martinezes he could find, but could not connect. Joe Martinez lived as a name in the Mueller family and their first born was named Joe after his old war buddy.

Marla was bowled over by the two-hour conversation that Rick had with Joe over the phone. Upon clearing fears about their health due to the Agent Orange scare, Rick allotted some vacation time to reunite. Although Rick and Marla were not able to save up for their trip due to short notice, the community, touched by the news, brought some money together for them once the story was out.

Finally, the two made it and met last weekend.(1)


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