Cacti reunite with brethren from Vietnam

| April 7, 2015 | 0 Comments
DERIDDER, Louisiana — While the 2nd Battalion, 35rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, “Cacti” were off island executing the Leader Training Program (LTP) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from Feb. 4-12, they also had the chance to reunite with local Cacti Vietnam veterans for a memorable dinner. (Courtesy photo)

DERIDDER, Louisiana — While the 2nd Battalion, 35rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, “Cacti” were off island executing the Leader Training Program (LTP) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from Feb. 4-12, they also had the chance to reunite with local Cacti Vietnam veterans for a memorable dinner. (Courtesy photo)

1st Lt. Loren Bells
Unit Public Affairs Representative
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

DERIDDER, Louisiana — Once you are a member of the Cacti Battalion, you are part of a family of veterans who are never forgotten.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, “Cacti,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, reunited with members of this family during a memorable dinner in honor of Cacti’s Vietnam Veterans, Feb. 4-12.

Even though it was a three-hour drive for Cacti Vietnam veteran Don “Doc” Johnson, who was assigned to the Cacti Scout Platoon in 1968, he would not have missed it for the world.

“It was great to meet all the past and present ‘Cacti’ members,” said Raymond Maylen, from the former Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Battalion, from 1968-1969.

Maylen’s wife also accompanied him for this special occasion.

Jim Tibbit, also a Scout Platoon member from 1968-1969, and Jesse Campos, who served in Alpha, Bravo and Charlie Company, 1-35th from 1966-69, were also among the distinguished guests

DERIDDER, Louisiana — Cacti Vietnam veterans and two Cacti staff members gather for a photo. (Courtesy photo)

DERIDDER, Louisiana — Cacti Vietnam veterans and two Cacti staff members gather for a photo. (Courtesy photo)

Once everyone arrived, Lt. Col. Ryan O’Connor, battalion commander for 2-35th Inf. Regt., welcomed everyone and introduced all of the current members of Cacti to the past regime. Cacti veterans then took the rare opportunity to share a little bit of their history and their careers with the current members of the Cacti Battalion.

“It was great talking to everyone. They all said that they’ve heard so much about us, and that it was an honor to finally meet us,” said Johnson about the current Cacti Soldiers.

Kindred brothers and sisters in arms shared memories of old and new over Louisiana’s signature Cajun crawfish dish.

“It was nothing short of an honor for us to make the trip. These men are the heroes who paved the way for Cacti everywhere, and they will always be our family,” said O’Connor.

In September, Cacti are hoping to have even more 35th Inf. Regt. Soldiers of past and present link up in San Diego, California, for the annual Cacti Association Reunion.

It’s a true testament that no matter where Cacti Soldiers end up in the world, they are Cacti forever!

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