SGT Don Allen Boozer
Died March 5, 1968 in South Vietnam
Thank you to the family of Don Allen Boozer for submitting today's story.
Don Boozer’s life seemed to start out with a struggle. In July 1944, as a seven-month-old, he became very ill, and his right hip and leg became paralyzed. He was diagnosed with polio.
Don’s father, Hursel, was in the Navy and had been assigned to duty in California. This left Don’s mother, Pansy, and other family members to care for the sick baby. Don was taken to Memphis and later transferred to a hospital in Jackson where he had to be left. His family was permitted to visit on occasions, but was not allowed to stay with him. Pansy had a critically ill baby in the hospital in Jackson and a husband in the Navy in California and didn’t have the means of communication to check on either of them as we have today.
While Don was in the hospital, his father received a fifteen-day leave and was able to come home to take his wife to see their son. Don was a fighter even then. The day after his dad went back to California, his mother and grandparents went back to Jackson for a visit. Don had improved enough that he was allowed to return home with them.
After many doctors’ appointments in Memphis and Jackson, the family was told that Don had recovered. All that was left was a slight problem with one leg.
Don was a hard worker and great person who was always willing to help others. He never complained or had a bad attitude about anything. He was a wonderful husband, big brother, and son, who loved his family and country.
Don graduated from Nettleton High School and Itawamba Junior College. He was drafted into the Army and after basic training was sent to Germany.
At IJC, Don had met the love of his life, Carol McMillen. He came home from Germany, and they married on August 24, 1967. The newlyweds went back to Germany and lived there until the end of November 1967. These were some of the happiest days of his life.
While in Germany, Don received orders that he would be going to Vietnam so he and Carol came back home after about three months together in Germany. The family spent Christmas together, and he left for Vietnam on January 9, 1968, just at the beginning of the TET Offensive. That was to be the last time the family would ever see Don.
In late February 1968, the family received a telegram that Don had been wounded on February 24, 1968 in Kien Tuong, South Vietnam by fragments from an exploding bobby trap and that in an effort to save his life, his right leg had been amputated. A few days later, another telegram was received saying the other leg had been amputated. The only news was by telegrams which gave few details. Not knowing how Don was getting along and with no means of finding out, all his family could do was pray and wait.
On March 9, a third telegram arrived notifying the family that Don had died on March 5, 1968. At the age of 24, Don made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy today.
A few days later a sealed casket arrived in Tupelo. Don’s funeral was held at Unity Presbyterian Church on March 13, his sister Barbara's birthday. Burial was in Unity Presbyterian Church Cemetery, east of Plantersville with full military honors.
Don was awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign and Combat Infantry medals for his service in Vietnam. He is listed on the National Vietnam Memorial Wall on Panel 43E Line 003.
In an effort to honor Don and all those who lost their lives in Vietnam and all the Vietnam veterans, his sister, Barbara, is working with a group of individuals to construct the permanent black granite Vietnam Memorial Replica Wall, 60% the size of the one in Washington, DC, in Tupelo Veterans Park. All the names of those killed in Vietnam will be listed there, as they are in Washington.
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