DPAA In The News

They vowed to be friends for life. When one died at war, the other fought years to bring him home (Via LA Times)

By Esmeralda Bermudez

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As kids, Ruben and Raul thought they had life all figured out.

They would grow up and live minutes from one another, be best men in each other’s weddings, godfathers to each other’s children. They would sit side by side at Dodger stadium, two old men in a sea of blue.

The friends never imagined that after high school both would be sent to Vietnam — but only one would return.

The loss was so painful that for 40 years Ruben Valencia could hardly bring himself to say Raul Guerra’s name.

“I put everything about him away,” said Ruben, now 74 years old.

But the past can only stay buried for so long. In 2005, Raul’s remains, which had been missing since his plane was shot down in 1967, were recovered and flown to Hawaii. The plan was to hold them there until U.S. officials tracked down his family.

His family, however, was nowhere to be found.

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