SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Thursday marks exactly 50 years since a teenager from Scranton was killed in the Vietnam War.
Friends and fellow Marines have vowed to make sure Lance Corporal Jimmy Reddington is never forgotten.
Reddington went off to war when he was just 19-years-old.
He was a local football and baseball player, his life full of promise, but Reddington was killed after just about three months in combat overseas.
There’s a saying that “time heals all wounds.”
For friends and fellow Marines of LCPL Reddington, that isn’t exactly true.
“His loyalty to me got him killed,” friend and fellow Marine Joe Silvestri said.
Joe Silvestri was one of Reddington’s best friends in the Vietnam War.
On a mission in 1967, he was hurt by a mortar shell but Reddington thought Silvestri was dead and began charging towards the enemy.
“He just kept going and kept screaming and he was shot in the head,” Silvestri said.
In 1994, Silvestri was able to track down his friend’s grave at Cathedral Cemetery.
With other brothers-in-arms, they now visit him making that symbolic trip back to Scranton that Reddington was never able to make himself.
“Everybody talked about going back to their world, going back home when it was all over,” friend and fellow Marine Brad Varney said.
Reddington’s service and sacrifice on their minds Thursday as they held a moment of silence in his honor.
“I actually wear one of his dog tags with mine. I’ve worn it forever so I think of him everyday,” friend and fellow Marine Robert Worra said.
On this day, exactly 50 years after his death, Jimmy Reddington, a “lean, mean, fighting machine” is not forgotten.
“We owe it to him to make sure that his name is kept alive,” Silvestri said.