Army buddies from New Jersey reunited after 66 years

Posted: Updated:
PATERSON -

Two veterans from New Jersey who struck up a close friendship in the Army were reunited Tuesday for the first time in more than six decades.

Pete Fleming and John LaRaia met at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1952 for basic training and soon became fast friends. Fleming was then sent to Korea and LaRaia to Germany and they fell out of touch.

Both men later became police officers, Fleming in Paterson and LaRaia in Englewood Cliffs, only about 30 minutes apart from each other.

And then, after 66 years…

“I heard somebody saying 'Billy LaRaia' and I said, ‘his name is LaRaia?’ I said, 'Let me show you something.’ I showed them this picture [of LaRaia and me],” Fleming says.

It turned out that LaRaia’s son Bill and Fleming have a mutual friend. They soon made plans for a reunion.

LaRaia brought a scrapbook filled with pictures from training to reminisce. Both men are now 86 years old and say that they are grateful for the chance for an old friendship to be new again.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • 70th Emmy Awards

    70th Emmy Awards

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Wednesday, September 5 2018 2:50 PM EDT2018-09-05 18:50:41 GMT

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Food Truck Friday: Callahan'sFood Truck Friday: Callahan's

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."