Meet 3 metro Detroit men from different wars who formed an incredible friendship

Posted at 6:52 AM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 06:52:31-05

(WXYZ) — On Veterans Day and every day, we thank and remember those who so bravely went to battle for our country.

Three local veterans who fought in three different wars happened to come together to form a friendship.

Related: Resources for veterans in Michigan

It all started on the golf course over a decade ago.

Frank Eritano, 94, is a World War II veteran. There's also 90-year-old Koren War veteran Paul Ramsey, and 74-year-old Vietnam veteran Thomas Slatton.

Eritano was in the Pacific for the Navy, Slatton was in Vietnam for the Navy, and Ramsey was in Panama for the U.S. Army.

Related: These restaurants and retailers are offering deals and freebies this Veterans Day

They like to get together once in awhile over coffee when they're not on the links. After all, they're a band of brothers.

At 94, Eritano is the leader of the bunch, and quite the character.

"I have a hard time hitting 160-170 yards today. That's what makes me mad. But my short game is still pretty good though," he said.

Besides the golf connection the three share, they tell stories of the past.

"I was playing professional baseball in upstate New York. My mom called me and said you've been drafted. You have to report on September the fourth. So that was in August. So, I got Drafted and spent two years in the army," Ramsey said.

"I landed at Ton Son Nhut AIRBASE in 1968. and went from there to the Annapolis naval barracks outside of Saigon," Slatton said.

"The war broke out on December the 7th. That's the day my brother went to the service. He was drafted before the war broke out. I can remember that day like it was yesterday because I was 14 years old. I believe then from then on that was on my mind since the war broke out," Eritano said.

They share words of wisdom and lessons learned while serving our country that has kept them going all these years later.

"My captain told me to always live life to the fullest and keep everything honest," Ramsey said.

"For me It was integrity. whatever you told someone or whatever you did make sure that it was correct," Slatton added.

"I try and make people relax and be happy. Even when I was in the service I tried to the same way," Eritano said.

The three men are proud to be Americans and to have served their country with pride. They said they would serve again in a heartbeat.

"Love your country. Be a patriot in your heart not just for looks and if there's something you believe in try to do it," he said.