BOGGS, DAVID LEONARD
BOGGS, DAVID LEONARD
Rank / Branch:
CPL E-3, U. S. ARMY
101ST AIRBORNE DIVIS
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
See Alphabetical list
list by County
DAVID LEONARD BOGGS, CORPORAL, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal
David was described by one of his squad members as a "scruffy little guy from Texas". David was originally from Martin's Ferry, Ohio and had spent his early years in the Dallas area. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hildred A. Boggs, had moved some of the family (9 children total) to Portland, Oregon in 1961 from Dallas, Texas hoping for a better life and for better luck. The family's luck never changed and by July 1967 and after a series of strokes, the father was unable to work. Four of the younger children were still in foster care at the Dallas Buckner's Baptist Orphanage and the parents were facing eviction in Portland.
David had left the orphanage in 1964 after his 16th birthday and told his father and step mother he was headed to Odessa, Texas to work in the oilfield with friends. He had met a fellow by the name of Robert Easterling in Dallas who talked him in going to Odessa as the wages were higher with a great deal of overtime and thus they could make more money. Robert was from Odessa. So David, Robert and another guy moved to Odessa and shared an apartment. In the winter of 1966, all three tried to join the Army after David had turned 18, only Robert was able to pass the physical. David and the other friend were rejected due to high blood sugar. After Robert had entered basic training, he wrote David and told him to stay away from the Army, however, by January, 1967, David and his other friend both retook their physicals again and were accepted. He was inducted through the AFEES station in Abilene, Texas, took his basic at Fort Bliss, Texas and told his Army buddies he was from Texas.
David was trained in infantry and became airborne qualified. He departed for Vietnam on July 10, 1967. He was assigned to "A" Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
David was killed while walking point on a recon patrol just 2 days after the Christmas stand down of 1967. He had celebrated his 19th birthday three weeks earlier. David's death devastated the little resources the family had in Oregon. His father wanted David to be buried in a family plot in Martin's Ferry, Ohio which he had bought 22 years before when his first wife died and they wanted to have his funeral services to be held in Portland, Oregon because the family could not afford to travel back to Ohio for his burial.
The Army's usual method of returning the body was a direct path. But in the case of the Boggs, the Army made an exception and allowed a stop over in Portland for services (donated by Mount Scott Funeral Home) and then provided transporatation for the body to Martin's Ferry, Ohio to be interred next to his mother. Mr. Boggs indicated the family was planning to move back to Ohio and he did not want David's body left behind in Portland
Several veteran's groups stepped forward with funds to allow three members of the family to travel to Ohio. In 1967 there was discussion in the newspapers around Portland about the money provided by the Department of Defense for burial. The cheapest funeral was provided by the national or post cemeteries but the family did not have input. Several states didn't even have national cemeteries to provide that service to families. If the family chose to use a private cemetery, private mortuary services, or participate in the planning of the burial at the National Cemetery, they were given an allowance that had been decided on by averaging out the costs for each service. Any costs above the allowed amount was the responsibility of the family. Many funeral homes gave special discounts for military burials which helped in some cases. One newspaper mentioned that a wife raided her daughter's college fund to finance her husband's funeral and burial. After much discussion increases in the allowance for funerals for the Vietnam dead were approved.
The irony in the Boggs family case was that David was buried in January 1968 and the increased allocation for burials started the first of February 1968. The Bogg's family luck had continued.
David received a posthumous promotion to Corporal.
He was buried with full military honors in the Riverview Cemetery in Martin's Ferry, Ohio. His father died in 1971 in Oregon and there is no record of his burial.
Riverview Cemetery, Martin's Ferry, Ohio
Research provided by Darilee Bednar of Marysville, Washington who is a researcher for the States of Washington and Oregon on casualities of the Vietnam War. Picture, Courtesy of William and Teresa Austin of Ellabell, Georgia. William, a retired Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army was with David when he was killed. Headstone picture by Mike Sneed, USMC Vietnam Vet and former resident of Odessa. Robert Easterling, David's friend who talked him into moving to Odessa, spent over 30 years in the Army and retired as a Sergeant Major and now lives in San Antonio.