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Ex-war reporter ‘luckiest man alive’

Joe Galloway’s legendary luck pulled him through many a battle over 43 years as a war correspondent.

He’s still got it, in spades.

Galloway, 70, got married in Las Vegas on Sunday and promptly hit two slot jackpots of $7,000 and $9,000 at Bellagio.

“Even before last weekend I knew I was the luckiest man alive because I was still alive,” Galloway said by telephone Tuesday.

Galloway, who married Dr. Grace Lim, was also in town to attend a birthday party that included several Vietnam veterans from his war correspondent days. Two of them were witnesses in Galloway’s wedding, including John Henry Irsfeld, a retired UNLV professor. The other witness was former Lt. Dennis Deal of Washington, Pa., who was a platoon leader in the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry in the Ia Drang battles.

Also present: former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia and Dick Strong of Milwaukee, whose birthday party brought them together.

Birthday party attendees included Randall Wallace, director and co-writer of the 2002 film “We Were Soldiers,” and Ken Burns’ partner Lynn Novick, who are teaming up on a PBS documentary about Vietnam for a 2016 airing.

Galloway co-wrote “We Were Soldiers Once … and Young,” the book that was adapted into the movie.

On Nov. 14, 1965, the day after his 24th birthday, Galloway, a UPI correspondent, landed in the middle of the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle of the Vietnam War and one of the bloodiest.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, the battalion commander on the ground at Ia Drang, was played by Mel Gibson in the movie, and Barry Pepper portrayed Galloway, the only reporter at the battle scene. Moore later collaborated on the book with Galloway.

Galloway met his future bride 40 years ago in Southeast Asia. They lost touch for 28 years before reuniting in December.

“It was the first time I ever left Las Vegas with pockets full, and I owe that to my bride, who kept close eye on me and my money,” Galloway said.

WYNN’S NEW PENTHOUSE

Steve Wynn has purchased a $70 million penthouse with a stunning view of Manhattan’s Central Park.

That’s almost double what the Las Vegas billionaire reportedly bid earlier this year for the apartment previously owned by the late Wall Street financier Teddy Forstmann.

Wynn’s new property at Central Park South covers 10,882 square feet on the 30th and 31st floors of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, according to the New York Post.

The space was a former ballroom in the 35-story building.

SIGHTINGS

Former heavyweight boxing champion Leon Spinks, seated at a front table of The Vegas Underground’s Monday Night Jam at The Tap House. He was pulled onto the dance floor for a standing ovation.

THE PUNCH LINE

“We have Chef Gordon Ramsay on the show tonight. I thought he burned something when I saw smoke backstage – but then I remembered we also have Willie Nelson on the show tonight.” – Jimmy Fallon

Norm Clarke can be reached at 702-383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

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