Brothers-in-arms bond forged during the Vietnam War even stronger today
John Middaugh and Henry “Bill” Warner fought side by side in Vietnam in 1968. During that intense time the forged a bond that only brothers in arms can understand.
After they war they went their separate ways, pursuing careers, marrying and raising children.
These Purple Heart recipients stayed in touch over the years, attending reunions and remained good friends.
So when Werner became ill and needed the priceless gift of a kidney donation, his friend and first lieutenant Middaugh put the welfare of one of his men first. He stepped up and donated his kidney.
Check out the story of these two brave men who continue to watch over each other after all these years
Serving together in Vietnam, John Middaugh and Henry “Bill” Warner forged an Army-brothers bond they knew was profound and lasting.
A world and nearly a half a century away from the war zone where they’d counted on each other, Middaugh put himself on the line for Warner this month in a new way: by giving one of his kidneys.
“He had my back many times,” Middaugh said as they awaited surgery last week at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, across the country from his home in Port Orchard, Washington. “So this is payback time…”
…Their connection goes back to March 1968 in Fort Carson, Colorado, where C Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, was training to go to war.
Middaugh was a high school dropout from Detroit who had enlisted; he’d already completed a tour in Vietnam. Warner was a draftee who had grown up on New York’s Long Island and gone to Southern Illinois University. Both had completed officer candidate school, and Middaugh was the company commander. Warner would be a platoon leader and, later, the company’s executive officer.
By summer 1968, they were near the northern border of what was then South Vietnam…
…”When you live through those experiences, you have that bond,” Warner said, and it lasted after their service together ended in January 1969…
Over the years and miles, they stayed in touch and got together for reunions. They carried with them their memories and wounds — both are Purple Heart recipients — from Vietnam. And Middaugh kept in mind a leadership principle the Army had taught him: “Know your men and look out for their welfare.”
So when Warner needed a kidney, and a relative and some other would-be donors proved incompatible, Middaugh didn’t hesitate to jump in.
“He would do the same for me,” he says…
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