Dale Edge has always wondered about Fred Kjorlien, a man he saved one fateful day in Vietnam after an RPG left Kjorlien seriously injured, while the two were serving in the 1st Infantry division of the U.S. Army, according to the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.
“I got behind a tree dropped down and this leg was up and I was shooting,” Kjorlien told KSDK. “And an RPG hit the side of the tree.”
“Before the medics got there, I put a tourniquet on Fred's leg,” Edge recalled to the outlet.
The last time the pair saw each other was when Fred was being taken onto a helicopter before he was transported for medical care, according to the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.
“I didn't know if he lived. I wanted to know if he made it or not,” Edge told KSDK.
Kjorlien lost his leg as a result of the RPG blast and now resides in Minnesota, working for a prosthetics manufacturer called Great Steps, KSDK reports.
Edge began searching for Kjorlien on the internet soon after he acquired his first smartphone. Subsequent searches produced a phone number and he made the call.
“I said, ‘Dale I got to be really honest, I don't know who you are.'” Kjorlien told KSDK. “He said, ‘It's been 53 years so I can understand that.'”
The two only interacted in passing during their time in Vietnam and when Edge came to Kjorlien's aid on the battlefield, Kjorlien “was out of it”, according to the Journal-Courier.
“I didn't know who loaded me; I was out of it,” Kjorlien told the Jacksonville Journal-Courier. “I wasn't feeling any pain, but I knew I was going to lose my leg.”
Kjorlien made the more than 560-mile drive from Minnesota to Edge's home in Ashland, Illinois, in August, KSDK reports. Upon the reunion, the two shared a heartfelt hug, and they spent the weekend together, recalling their time serving.
The Jacksonville Journal-Courier captured the moment the two men reconnected. Watch Below:
“It was an answer to a prayer if you want to know the truth,” an emotion-filled Edge told KSDK. “I don't know how many times I prayed for that man.”
“It means a lot because I love him. He's a comrade,” Kjorlien, fighting back tears, told the outlet.