Vietnam Vets Mourned Their Friend For 53 Years, Then They Got A Huge Shock

The Vietnam War was long and brutal, resulting in countless heartbreaking stories. Yet, for veterans Jim Mattis and Ivis Sloane, no tragedy of war felt more personal than that of their close friend and comrade, Tony Solis. The two surviving war heroes spent decades trying to cope with their friend's sudden and mysterious loss on the battlefield. Yet everything changed for the pair in the summer of 2019 — a whopping 53 years after their traumatic goodbye.

A strong bond

Tony, Jim, and Ivis traveled to the Southeast Asian country with the U.S. Armed Forces in the mid-1960s, joining countless other soldiers. While being thousands of miles away from their loved ones in the throes of a raging war was trying, the three soldiers eventually formed a tight-knit bond serving as members of the United States 4th Infantry Division.

A famous name

If that name sounds familiar, it’s for a good reason. Since its creation in the winter of 1917, the 4th Infantry Division has done some notable things for the United States. For example, the unit was picked to lead the charge on what became known as D-Day during World War II.

Difficult time

So it must’ve been quite a moment for Tony, Ivis, and Jim when they joined this illustrious arm of America’s military. But still, the trio arrived in Vietnam while the war was in full swing, as America joined South Vietnam in its fight with the North side of the country. Communist officials ran the latter. On that note, the entire thing was soon seen as an extension of the Cold War, ticking over in the background.

The human cost

Ultimately, America’s involvement in Vietnam didn’t conclude until 1973 — close to 20 years later. Meanwhile, the conflict finally came to a halt in 1975. In total, it’s believed that more than 58,000 soldiers from the United States lost their lives. And for the longest time, Jim and Ivis were convinced that Tony was one of them.