We Never Said Goodbye

Vietnam vet continues his communication with wife, long after war

Story and Video by Senior Airman Andrew Lee

Phillip Griego, a Vietnam veteran, reminisces of the letters he shared with his wife.(U.S Air Force video/Senior Airman Andrew Lee)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY

Deployed to Vietnam on a one-year deployment, Phillip Griego exchanged letters nearly every day with Ramona, his then girlfriend and love of his life. It was the only consistent form of communication while each other were on different sides of the world.

“The mail that I got from [her], they helped take me out of the war,” Griego said. “There were times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it.”

He did, and when Griego returned home from Vietnam, he married Ramona. The couple eventually had three daughters, who moved from base to base with them throughout Griego’s Air Force career.

Griego retired from the Air Force in 1991, after 21 years of service. As a civilian, he became a mail assistant at the Official Mail Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, located in Tucson, Ariz.

One of the hundreds of letters Griego's wife, Ramona, sent him during his deployment to Vietnam in 1971.

One of the hundreds of letters Griego’s wife, Ramona, sent him during his deployment to Vietnam in 1971. (Photo provided by Phillip Griego)

Then, in December of 2010, Griego’s life changed forever. Ramona, his life and love, passed away, leaving Griego with his daughters and eight grandkids.

It’s a day he is still trying to deal with.

“It kills me inside,” he said. “I’m dying because I need to be with her.”

Though gone, Griego still makes it a priority to see Ramona every day.

“I visit her twice a day on weekends and holidays,” he said, “and at least once a day on workdays.”

Griego still goes day-to-day loving his wife more and more and knows that one day he’ll see her again.

“She always used to tell me that, ‘God will find a way to get us together again,’” Griego said. “And I believe that with my whole heart. Nobody can take that away.”

  • Bill S.

    My heart goes out to you Phillip. Never fret, Ramona is in good hands but do not be hasty to be with her again. Your babies and grandbabies need their patriarch and your Love will wait for you. She see’s your continued devotion to her and so does God. Enduring love stories as yours is few and far between these days and acts as inspiration to many. Hang in there and be a good Daddy and Grand Daddy and you will triumph.

  • Amn Spivey

    This is an amazing and heart felt story.

  • Gil, USAF

    You’re a man of true inspiration. Your daughters and grandkids are very fortunate to have you in their lives and am sure each one of them appreciates having you with them every chance they get. I admire your dedicated love to Ramona and know you two will one day see each other again but until that day comes, continue to stay strong for you as well as your family.

    • Jim Oberg

      He is a true gentleman. He is what “Real Men” are supposed to be!!!