NEW ALBANY — When Dale Martin, of New Albany, walked into a Cracker Barrel in Texas late last year, he was looking for an old friend. He just didn’t know for sure what he looked like.
Martin, 92, hadn’t seen his Army buddy Charles Rauschuber in 67 years. He had traveled to Texas with his daughter Martha Thompson and her husband, Houston, and was hoping to surprise Rauschuber on that special day.
Martin succeeded, thanks to a little help from his buddy’s niece Pam, who set up the reunion.
He said at first Rauschuber didn’t recognize him. But after he introduced himself the two embraced and began talking. They had a lot of catching up to do — 67 years worth of stories.
“We arrived first and looked around trying to determine if they were there. We waited about 10 minutes and a woman and older gentleman walked in,” Thompson said. “Dad didn’t really recognize Charlie but he approached him anyway. Charlie didn’t recognize dad either until he heard him speak.
“Since they had spoken on the phone a few times, I guess he recognized dad’s voice. Charlie was totally surprised but very excited to see dad. He couldn’t believe that we would drive all that way just to see him.”
“He was surprised,” Martin said of his friend. “We ate and talked for a while. The last time I was in San Antonio was 1963, but I didn’t look for him then.
“It’s changed a lot since I had been down there.”
While in San Antonio, Martin visited where his old Army base was located. He also did some sightseeing at the River Walk and the Alamo.
“It was a great trip,” Thompson said. “Dad was thrilled to be able to go and Charlie was thrilled to see dad.”
The two served together in the Philippines and worked with a supply company, delivering and loading supplies onto planes.
“We were in the same tent in the Philippines. I was his sergeant,” Martin said. “He told me I was a great boss. I appreciated that.”
Martin was born in Palmyra but moved to New Albany when he was 9 years old. He said he served in the Army for four years and one day.
“I told him I would see him again in 10 years. I told him I will only be 102,” Martin said with a laugh. “He said, I doubt it.”
Martin said he stays active and “has been in pretty good health all of my life.” He still walks, including regular trips from his home in River View Towers in downtown New Albany to visit his wife in Lincoln Hills Health Center.
“Walking is good exercise,” he said.