Vietnam veteran’s remains come home to his sister
For most of her life, Judi Bouchard has missed her older brother, Army Green Beret Alan Boyer. For almost 48 years, Bouchard has prayed every night, “Give us an answer.”
Since March 28, 1968, Boyer was missing in action while on a reconnaissance mission in Laos during the Vietnam War. For decades, Bouchard wondered what happened to her only sibling. Earlier this year, on the eve of her brother’s 70th birthday, March 7th, the part-time Clay County resident got what she calls, “My own personal miracle from the Lord.”
She received a call from the Army telling her remains had been matched to DNA provided by her and her mother years before. The remains were part of Boyer’s long leg bone. “They said it was the strongest match they had ever had,” Bouchard explained, with a glimmer of tears. “After the war, grave robbers tried to sell soldiers’ remains. Some have ended up in the hands of a female peace activist in Laos who turned them over to the U.S. government.”
Several days after the life-changing call, the Leesburg, Fla. home of Bouchard and her husband, Ron, was visited by military officials- Major Travis Brunelle, Special Forces; Michael Mee, chief of identifications, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs; Jack Kull, policy analyst for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency; Master Sergeant Michael Spaulding, Special Forces/Special Ops; Michael Linnington, Under Secretary of Defense (policy) for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. “My legs went out from under me when they came to my home,” Bouchard said. The men presented her with her brother’s medals, which included a Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration in the United States Armed Forces.
October 1967 was the last time Bouchard saw her brother. She was a 19-year-old college freshman in Montana, making plans for the future. Her brother had spent several days with her, just prior to being sent overseas. “He wrote to me all the time and I still have his letters,” she said. “He said things were very scary. The mortality rate was in excess of 80 percent.”
On March 28, 1968, a government official called Bouchard’s parents, Charles and Dorothy Boyer. Then officials came to their house in person and told them, “Alan’s missing. We’ll tell you more later, but don’t talk about it.” Her parents called her at college and told Bouchard her brother was missing.
Bouchard is married to Ron Bouchard, but she has no living blood relatives. Her father died in 1995 without knowing whether his son was dead or alive. As her mother died in 2013, just before her 93rd birthday, she spoke the name, “Alan.” Bouchard said, “Then I knew. She was the best Christian witness and my brother was there to get her.”
She explained how they grew up in a suburb of Chicago. “We camped all over the country as kids,” she said.