LOUISVILLE, Ky. — They served in World War II together, forming a bond that's lasted 76 years. Today, these Navy veterans say they're the only ones left from their original crew.

Paul Schank, 94, and Dewey Williams, 96, spent their days aboard Landing Ship Tanks, carrying cargo, vehicles, and troops across the Pacific.

"That's a pack of cigarettes I bought on the on the LST896 in Okinawa in 1944," Williams said, looking through a photo album.

"We were good buddies during the war," Williams said. The duo has a bond only those who served together can relate to.

Navy photo album
A photo album shows newspaper clippings and ads from time in World War II.

"His life, at times, depended on me, and mine depended on him," he said.

They counted their blessings when the war ended, saying that coming home was "the best thing that ever happened". 

"I told the guy, I'm here to stay. I don't intend to leave this damn country ever again. I'm 96 and I haven't left yet," Williams laughed.

Schank and Williams went their separate ways but stayed in touch over the years. Even when the reunions with their original crew stopped, their friendship never did.

It's been ten years since they last met. Williams lives in South Carolina and recently flew in to see Schank here in Louisville.

Veterans reunite

"It's been great, at my age, where we can still communicate together like old times," he said.

The two spent their time together sharing stories - and quite a few laughs.

"I may slip off and drive up here myself sometime," Williams said

"You better not do that," Schank warned.

Williams' response? "Hell, I'm still driving."

Contact reporter Brooke Hasch atbhasch@whas11.com. Follow her onTwitter (@WHAS11Hasch) andFacebook.

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