Steve Rainey joined the US Marine Corps when he was 17 years old. He landed in Vietnam in 1965 in the first major troop commitment of the war. His first station was at Chu Lai, south of Da Nang, providing security for the airstrip there in his position as a gunner on 155mm Howitzers. Later, his regiment moved into the mountains around Laos where Rainey's unit got commendations during Operation Starlight for their high number of kills.
Ric Cochran served in the Air National Guard from 1973 to 1979. He says it taught him how people working together could accomplish practically any task. After they began working together, Ric and Sharon discovered that they were both stationed at Keesler Air Force Base inBiloxi, MS at the same time.