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Vietnam veteran reunited with battle buddy he feared lost after 53 years

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 17:02:47-05

Harold Lockett left Vietnam October 15th, 1969 without knowing what happened to his closest friend during his time serving in combat.

“The last time I’d seen him he was running straight this way and I was running the opposite way,” Lockett said.

During a battle, a rocket hit just feet away from their location and exploded. People were scrambling and in the chaos of the firefight and the hours that passed, Harold Lockett never learned what happened to his fellow Army soldier, Prentice Boyd of Texas.

“He’s probably really the only person’s name I can truly remember,” Lockett said. “Out of all the persons I served with his face is the only face. There was one other name I remember, but he got killed in the same firefight that day.”

He never spoke of the war when he came home, suppressing his thoughts, his nightmares and feelings. His time serving with the 4/21st Infantry Division, 11th Light Infantry Brigade locked away deep within his mind. Fifty-three years would pass until suddenly a switch was flipped in July of 2021 when he says out of the blue, he began having dreams of his time in the war.

“I was having elicit dreams about Vietnam and I wanted to remember everything,” he said. “I could smell, I could feel the weight of my weapon and the weight of my ruck sack and for some reason I wanted to tell my story.”

He began talking to a psychologist with the VA. Then he began to speak with his family.

This past New Years Eve a photo was sent to him from his oldest daughter. It was a black and white photo taken of Lockett and Prentice, the battle buddy he lost track of during that firefight. He sent it to his youngest daughter who immediately started asking questions about who was in the photo and how old her father was at the time. She then began a new mission to see if she could find the lost soldier.

“Went to VA database I literally went state by state and looked for fallen veterans,” she said. “My dad didn’t know if he made it out or not.”

When she didn’t find his name in the Killed in Action database, she had new hope and turned to social media. Her father knew Boyd was from Texas and that’s where Kiva’s focus began and where she found a perfect match to the name. The Prentice Boyd she found was around her age and turned out to be Prentice Boyd Junior.

“I told him my dad’s name is Harold Lockett, but he went by Flash, and I sent him the picture and then you see the dots and he’s typing. I said 'is this your father on the right?' He said 'wow that’s him. I’ve never seen this picture before,'” she said.

After a short discussion she was able to get a phone number.

“He says 'my dad remembers your dad and he’d love to talk to him and here’s his number,'” she said.

“I was truly overwhelmed,” Lockett recalled. “She was like, 'dad yeah I got his number, it’s okay for you to call him.'”

Lockett saod he was hyperventilating and had some reservations about what would happen if he did call.

“What am I going to say? Am I going to trigger something?” he said. “When I heard his voice, I couldn’t do nothing but cry. I was grateful.”

The two spoke for about 45 minutes and a flood of memories came back from their time together and as they recapped the battle that separated them.

“I mentioned to him that I nearly had a nervous breakdown that night and he said he did too and I didn’t know he was still there,” said Lockett.

Kiva is happy she helped play a role in her father’s journey as he begins to unravel stories and trauma more than fifty years old.

“I know how much it meant for him, that piece of the puzzle that was missing for him,” she said.

Harold and Prentice continue to text and this just weeks-old connection is growing with the hopes of meeting in person one day for a full reunion.

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