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Marine veteran fulfills 50-year promise to fellow Vietnam vet in ‘final’ mission

November 17, 2017

A Vietnam Marine veteran fulfilled the promise he made to a fellow Marine 50 years ago during the Vietnam War while holed up in a bunker, the Greenville News recently reported.

Marine Master Sgt. William Cox and First Sgt. James Hollingsworth were holed up in a bunker in the Marble Mountains of Vietnam on New Year’s Eve 1968 when the two made a pact to contact one another every year if they managed to survive their dire situation, as rockets and mortars were landing around them.

“Charlie (the nickname for the North Vietnamese) was really putting on a fireworks show for us,” Cox told the Greenville News.

For roughly five decades, the two kept their promise to one another.

When Cox found out that Hollingsworth was terminally ill, he visited him. Hollingsworth then asked if Cox could give the eulogy at his funeral.

“I said, ‘Boy, that’s a rough mission you’re assigning me to there,'”Cox said.

However, earlier this year, he fulfilled his final promise by wearing his dress blues, standing guard over Hollingsworth’s casket and delivering his eulogy.

“There’s a bond between Marines that’s different from any other branch of service. We’re like brothers,” Cox told the Greenville News.

Both men met one another in 1968 serving in VMO-2, a Marine helicopter squadron, where Hollingsworth was a mechanic and a door gunner while Cox was an ordnance chief and a door gunner, the Greenville News reported.

The pair flew more than 200 missions together in Vietnam where Cox would say “Hollie, you keep ‘em flying, and I’ll keep ‘em firing,” at the end of each mission.

Cox repeated the phrase at the end of the eulogy.