Have We Forgotten Our Heroes? Chapter 22 – Roy Boehm

Boehm3_737878903LCDR Roy H. Boehm was born in Brooklyn New York. Boehm enlisted in the Navy in April 1941 at the age of seventeen and saw action in the Pacific theater of operation during WWII from February 1942 until the conclusion of the war in 1945. He participated in recovery of corpses and munitions from the USS Arizona while his ship, the USS Duncan, was being repaired and refitted at Pearl Harbor. He is a survivor of one of the largest “all surface” sea engagements of World War II, the Battle of Cape Esperance at Guadalcanal. Boehm was serving on the destroyer Duncan (DD 485) when the ship received fifty-eight 6″ and 8″ shell hits at point-blank range before going down. He saved a teammate from burning to death by jumping in the ocean and later he had to fight off sharks which eventually killed the sailor he saved. Boehm also participated in the following campaigns and engagements: Battle of the Coral Sea, Bouganville, Truk, Green Island, Emeru, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. He was engaged in supplying ammunitions to the guerrillas in the Philippines and saw action in Kerama Reto and Okinawa. LCDR Boehm also saw action in the Korean conflict and the war in Vietnam.

While serving in the US Navy, Boehm attained the following qualifications: unlimited deep-sea diving, deep submergence rescue chamber operator for submarine rescue, experimental diving, and salvage diving. He is a qualified Underwater Demolition Expert, and was test pilot for underwater swimmer propulsion units. Boehm is a graduate of Airborne and Ranger Training. In early 1961, under a Presidential Two priority received from President John F Kennedy, Boehm developed, designed, implemented, and led the Navy’s commando organization known as the SEALs. He was the first Officer in Charge (OIC) of SEAL Team Two.

Boehm assisted in the design and implementation of the Navy’s first counterinsurgency course, for which he received the Navy Achievement Medal. Following this, he was named head of the Navy’s River Patrol Craft Division. There he developed tactical procedures, organized, and trained River Patrol Boat sailors for Operation Gamewarden in Vietnam.

LCDR Roy Boehm is authorized to wear the following medals and awards: Bronze Star with combat “V”, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Presidential Unit Citation (1942), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (1967), Navy Good Conduct Medal with 3 Stars, China Service Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal w/1 Silver Star/1 Bronze Star/ 1 Arrow Head, Victory Medal WW II, WWII Occupation Medal Navy, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star, Korean Service Medal w/2 Bronze Stars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, US Vietnam Service Medal, Philippines Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Philippine Liberation Medal, United Nations Korean Medal, United Nations Medal, RVHJ Campaign Medal with Date, USN Expert Rifle Medal, USN Expert Pistol Medal.

Roy Boehm passed away at the age of 84 on December 30, 2008. Roy’s last wish, that his death not be publicized. He wanted no obituary, no funeral service and no fanfare over his death. Boehm was most proud of a plaque mounted on his wall: “Roy Boehm, Man-O-Warsman.” That honor was bestowed on him by the men who served under his command. “It’s the highest compliment you can get,” Boehm had said.First SEAL by Roy Boehm

LCDR Roy Boehm is frequently mentioned in Richard Marcinko’s books. Boehm can be seen in the video program “The Tides Of Specwar”. Roy Boehm and Chuck Sasser have written Roy’s autobiography. “FIRST SEAL” is published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books division. It is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. It was a pleasure to read and was written so one could visualize the actions while reading.

(Some of this information was retrieved on 10.17.2013 from www.navysealteams.com, and Wikipedia, along with my own reading of his autobiography and our private personal correspondence from 2001.)

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