Tasmanian uses Facebook to reunite Vietnam veterans

When Leena Wizz uploaded some of her father’s photos from the Vietnam War, she had no idea the reaction she’d get. 

Ms Wizz and her father, Rex Targett, were going through his collection of photos so they could digitise them.

The pair began discussing the soldiers featured in the images. 

“The subject came up that some men in the images were Tasmanian men, but my father couldn't recall the names,” Ms Wizz said. 

Wanting to help her father relocate the men, Ms Wizz offered to upload the images to Facebook.

The post was shared more than 3400 times, received 420 reactions and more than 200 comments in three days. 

“When I shared the images I expected they would be shared possibly a couple of hundred times and didn't hold high hopes that the men in the images would be identified,” Ms Wizz said. 

The ‘incredible’ community response was unexpected. 

“It was emotionally overwhelming as it brought to mind that my father and the men that served were not only my heroes but so many others,” Ms Wizz said. 

Judy Pinkard identified two of the men from in the photos shared on Facebook. Ms Pinkard identified one of the men as Des Blazely, a man she’d known since primary school days at Exeter.  

Ms Pinkard forwarded the images to Mr Blazely who was able to identify the other man as Mike Conroy.

On Monday night, Ms Wizz arranged a phone call between her father and Mr Blazely. It was the first time the pair had spoken since 1969.  

“There are no words to express how it made me feel seeing them chat about their time in Vietnam,” Ms Wizz said. 

Nearly 50 years since their last conversation, the men exchanged stories about their last meeting and discussed Mr Targett’s photo collection. 

“It is always good to catch up with someone you served with,” Mr Blazely said. 

Mr Blazely, who lives in Queensland, said he planned to catch up with Mr Targett on his next visit to Tasmania.