But it was a tragic training accident- almost 45 years ago- that would bring them together and give them a story to share for the rest of their lives.
One man was hailed a hero. The other was simply grateful to be alive.
It was November 24th, 1964, the day before Thanksgiving. Its a day that Roy Mahoney remembers like it was yesterday. A day that changed his life.
"We were firing rounds," Roy says, "and we had an explosion of one of the artillery shells. And I turned to run away and i realized that one of my legs was off, and the next thing i remember is royce was running towards me."
It was a training mission gone terribly wrong. Royce Sutton, an army medic at the time, rushed to Roys side.
"With him being the only medic we had no other hope at that point," Roy said.
It was a decade of turmoil. War and racial discrimination existed on the front. But on that November day, there were no racial barriers. Just one mission: save a life.
"I dont know if it was someone on Royces team or my team, but somebody said he probably wont make it, but 44 years later were here and i thank Royce for that," Roy says.
Roy and Royce reunited this week. They still remember that day- and reflect on what could have been.
Royce now hangs his medals on the wall proudly. One of them is an Army commendation for his heroism that day. A medal that reminds him of a friendship he may never have had.
"Forty four years later Ive wondered about him," Royce says, "Forty-four years, I told my wife, thats a chapter in that book I need to close is finding Roy. So that chapter closed. I found Roy."
Two different men. One common story. Friends and comrades on and off the battlefield.
Roy and Royce found each other by chance. Each had relatives that were talking about their story. Thats when one of the relatives said "I think my father-in-law is looking for your uncle."
The rest, as they say, is history.