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Veterans gather for reunion and live demonstration

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FORT SILL, Okla._People in Lawton have become used to the sound of the guns on Fort Sill, but on Friday, they were sounding off for a special reason.

Vietnam veterans from the 1st Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment gathered for their twelfth reunion. They were given the rare chance of seeing all of the artillery pieces the army trains on, in action.  

The sound of artillery is nothing new to these Vietnam veterans.

"I trained here as a lieutenant so I have seen this scene in 1961. In the first four months in Vietnam we fired 100,000 rounds of artillery...in the first four months," said Vietnam veteran John Matthews.

This was a chance to see what artillery today's Army trains with and uses; a chance for those veterans like retired Colonel Bill Malouche to see old comrades.

"We've all put on a little weight, we lost a little hair but other than that we are with the same old guys," said Ret. Col. Malouche.

Colonel Gene Meredith, who commands the 428th Field Artillery Brigade, helped organize this special reunion.

"I like talking to the veterans and comparing stories. It's amazing how similar even though we have all of this technology, a deployment to Vietnam is not that much different than deploying to Afghanistan," said Col. Meredith.

The technology may have changed a little bit, but according to these proud veterans, the soldiers today are the same as the soldiers of the past.

"Seeing these soldiers perform just brings back fond memories to me when I was a commander. I was very lucky to be a commander. To see soldiers perform their duties and do them well. I can tell you we veterans are very proud of all of today's soldiers," Ret. Col. Malouche.

Saturday, the veterans of that unit will be honored with a special room dedication at Fort Sill in Snow Hall.

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