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SALUTING PULASKI COUNTY’S VETERANS

(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of stories spotlighting Pulaski County’s military veterans.)
PULASKI — Arch “Burt” Boardwine comes from a long line of military veterans.
Dating as far back as the Civil War, Boardwine had ancestors who were military men, four who died fighting for their country.
Even today, Boardwine’s son, Robbie Willard, 22, has served two tours of duty in Iraq.
As for Boardwine, who grew up in Russell County in southwestern Virginia, his service to the U.S. military began in 1965 at the age of 20, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
After he was drafted, Boardwine headed to Fort Jackson, S.C., where he spent nine weeks in basic training. Following his basic training, he was assigned to Fort Sill, Okla., where he spent 10 weeks in advanced training in artillery.
Once those 10 weeks had passed, Boardwine was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he spent close to nine months training and working as a gunner in artillery.
After those nine months in the “Aloha State,” Cpl. Boardwine received his orders to go to Vietnam.
Boardwine doesn’t talk that much about his experiences in Vietnam, mostly because his memories from that time are difficult to revisit and also because before he returned home from the war, “they told us not to talk about it,” he said.
What he did say is that he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, in which he served as the section chief for his artillery crew. He noted there were six artillery pieces (M109s) in his company, each with a cannon and two machine guns.
Boardwine said of those M109s, “we went where we wanted to go. There was no stopping us.”
However, by the time Boardwine’s tour of duty ended, there were only four men left of the 10 soldiers who were originally in his section.
Boardwine noted that since then, he has regained contact with one of those men, a soldier he thought had died while they were in Vietnam. The two found each other after Boardwine’s daughter posted Boardwine’s name and information on an online list of Vietnam soldiers.
While in Vietnam, Boardwine said that he also witnessed the powerful effects of “Agent Orange” (an herbicide/defoliant used by the U.S. military in its “herbicidal warfare” program during the Vietnam War).
He said that while in Vietnam, they would be surrounded by miles and miles of jungle with giant trees, then a fly-over spray of Agent Orange would come around, and by the next week, the leaves on all of the trees would be dead.
After a little over a year in Vietnam, Boardwine returned home to the U.S. For his military service, he earned the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Upon his return, Boardwine said he had a difficult time finding a job and added that a lot of good jobs had been taken by men who had stayed back home during the war.
Fortunately, a friend and mentor of Boardwine’s, a preacher, helped him join a carpenter’s union in Kingsport, Tenn., where he eventually became a carpenter’s apprentice.
Boardwine continued to work as an apprentice for a few years, but by 1971, he had gotten a job at the foundry in Radford, where he worked until he retired in 2003.
Boardwine currently lives in Pulaski.
In addition to his son, Robbie, Boardwine also has three other children — Diana Boardwine, David Boardwine and Linda Fenton — as well as four grandchildren.
These days, Boardwine enjoys spending much of his time in a boat out on the water.
He owns several boats and goes fishing a few times a year at places such as Nags Head, Oregon Inlet, Chesapeake and Myrtle Beach.

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SALUTING PULASKI COUNTY’S VETERANS

(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of stories spotlighting Pulaski County’s military veterans.)
PULASKI — Arch “Burt” Boardwine comes from a long line of military veterans.
Dating as far back as the Civil War, Boardwine had ancestors who were military men, four who died fighting for their country.
Even today, Boardwine’s son, Robbie Willard, 22, has served two tours of duty in Iraq.
As for Boardwine, who grew up in Russell County in southwestern Virginia, his service to the U.S. military began in 1965 at the age of 20, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
After he was drafted, Boardwine headed to Fort Jackson, S.C., where he spent nine weeks in basic training. Following his basic training, he was assigned to Fort Sill, Okla., where he spent 10 weeks in advanced training in artillery.
Once those 10 weeks had passed, Boardwine was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he spent close to nine months training and working as a gunner in artillery.
After those nine months in the “Aloha State,” Cpl. Boardwine received his orders to go to Vietnam.
Boardwine doesn’t talk that much about his experiences in Vietnam, mostly because his memories from that time are difficult to revisit and also because before he returned home from the war, “they told us not to talk about it,” he said.
What he did say is that he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, in which he served as the section chief for his artillery crew. He noted there were six artillery pieces (M109s) in his company, each with a cannon and two machine guns.
Boardwine said of those M109s, “we went where we wanted to go. There was no stopping us.”
However, by the time Boardwine’s tour of duty ended, there were only four men left of the 10 soldiers who were originally in his section.
Boardwine noted that since then, he has regained contact with one of those men, a soldier he thought had died while they were in Vietnam. The two found each other after Boardwine’s daughter posted Boardwine’s name and information on an online list of Vietnam soldiers.
While in Vietnam, Boardwine said that he also witnessed the powerful effects of “Agent Orange” (an herbicide/defoliant used by the U.S. military in its “herbicidal warfare” program during the Vietnam War).
He said that while in Vietnam, they would be surrounded by miles and miles of jungle with giant trees, then a fly-over spray of Agent Orange would come around, and by the next week, the leaves on all of the trees would be dead.
After a little over a year in Vietnam, Boardwine returned home to the U.S. For his military service, he earned the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Upon his return, Boardwine said he had a difficult time finding a job and added that a lot of good jobs had been taken by men who had stayed back home during the war.
Fortunately, a friend and mentor of Boardwine’s, a preacher, helped him join a carpenter’s union in Kingsport, Tenn., where he eventually became a carpenter’s apprentice.
Boardwine continued to work as an apprentice for a few years, but by 1971, he had gotten a job at the foundry in Radford, where he worked until he retired in 2003.
Boardwine currently lives in Pulaski.
In addition to his son, Robbie, Boardwine also has three other children — Diana Boardwine, David Boardwine and Linda Fenton — as well as four grandchildren.
These days, Boardwine enjoys spending much of his time in a boat out on the water.
He owns several boats and goes fishing a few times a year at places such as Nags Head, Oregon Inlet, Chesapeake and Myrtle Beach.

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