World War II veteran welcomes 100th birthday surrounded by fellow vets

By RACHAEL PACELLA | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: August 22, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — When the Lost Patrol learned that World War II veteran Ed Rysdyk didn’t have plans for his 100th birthday Wednesday, they jumped on the mission right away.

The Lost Patrol isn’t really a patrol. It’s a group of a few dozen veterans who get together for lunch each Wednesday to socialize, with members from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Most of the members, including its newest Rysdyk, live in Heritage Harbor, a 55 and older community near Annapolis, the group’s “commandant” Jim Morris said. It started in 1974 with four members, and about 300 or so have come and gone since then.

Rysdyk will join family this weekend to celebrate a century on the planet. But his actual birthday, Wednesday, he sat at the head of the table where about 40 of the Lost Patrol members gathered at Killarney House in Davidsonville. He said he is disappointed his body hasn’t kept up with his mind, which is still sharp.

Rysdyk was born in 1919 and joined the Navy in 1939, where he worked as a “radio man” in the South Pacific to support that theatre. He later got a job working for the Department of the Army as a civilian, where he said he spent more than three decades.

He said he appreciated the invite to lunch Wednesday, his first with the Lost Patrol. His friend made a connection, he said.

Morris said the men from the group can relate to one another about their shared service. There are two requirements to get into the group.

“You gotta be able to eat, and you’ve gotta be able to greet,” Morris said.

Morris served in the Army, leaving in 1961. He said being a part of the group is like making 40 friends at once.

A few seats down from Rysdyk Wednesday was Dan Arant, a history buff who said he volunteers at the national memorials in Washington, D.C., dedicated to World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War. Arant served in the Vietnam War in the Naval Advisory Group, he said.

He said meeting up gives him a chance to hear members talk about what things were like when they were serving, though not necessarily war stories.

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