Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Honoring our Heroes

 


Col. Joseph Edward Boyett, Jr.: 84

Col. Joseph E. Boyett Jr. served 25 years in the United States Air Force in military logistics. As an operations research scientist, he created models to understand cause and effect relationships between support systems and weapon systems and to discover ways to improve combat capability. His studies led to changes in support systems that were confirmed by improvements in cost, schedule and performance. He received the following medals: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Commendation Medal.

Boyett was born August 31, 1935, in Nashville, GA to Joseph Edward Boyett Sr. and Susie Mae Folsom-Boyett. He was reared near Lakeland, GA and graduated from Lanier County High School in 1953. Boyett graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. Degree in Forestry, which is now Environmental Science, and worked for the Georgia Department of Forestry before entering the U. S. Air Force. Although he had dreamed of flying since 1941 as a farm boy near Moody Air Force Base (AFB) GA, he was not physically qualified and instead began work in military logistics, including maintenance, supply, transportation, procurement, and planning.

Boyett’s service began when he completed training at Francis E. Warren AFB in WY, followed by deployment to Kadena Air Base Okinawa for three and one-half years. This was followed by assignment to George AFB in CA for three years where he was the Transportation Squadron Commander. He completed a Master’s Degree in Finance at the University of Colorado and was then reassigned to the Military Airlift Command Headquarters at Scott AFB in IL. Boyett demonstrated an ability to solve logistic problems that led to significant improvements in mission performance. In 1968, Boyett was deployed for one year to Phan Rang AB, Vietnam, which was attacked during Tet II, and several aircraft were destroyed. He returned to the University of Colorado where he earned a Ph.D. in Operations Research in 1972. His dissertation was on scheduling theoretical concepts incorporated today in Artificial Intelligence. He also completed doctoral courses in economics and finance. Boyett served as professor in the School of Systems and Logistics at Wright-Paterson AFB in OH, 1972-1976. Boyett was then assigned to the Pentagon but located at Gunter AFB in AL, where he created the research core of the new Air Force Logistics Management Center. The new agency was assigned personnel with little or no research experience to discover new and evolving technology to improve Air Force logistics. In 1981, he was reassigned to the Air War College as Director of Military Research where he retired that same year.

His research led to government use of “Performance Based Management,” lifetime warranted hand tools, air cargo planning systems, earned value management for software projects, and other improvements in military logistics. He was an advocate of integrating theories of “reliability, maintainability, inventory, and scheduling” with “general systems” into a unified military logistics model. Boyett was active in the Military Operations Research Society and other research groups.

Boyett continued teaching at two Alabama universities. First, he served as a professor of Industrial Operations Management in the School of Business of Auburn University’s main campus followed by working as Dean of Computer & Information, Science, and Mathematics at Troy University, Montgomery, AL. He then became an independent IT and Logistics Consultant 1997-2012. Since then, he has written on artificial intelligence and its opportunities in military logistics. Today, Boyett enjoys reading philosophy and studying genetics, especially DNA, within the Boyett and Folsom families.

He and his first wife, Faye Joyce Stone, were together 47 years before she passed away; they had three children and four grandchildren. He and his second wife, Carol Ann Pressley, were together 10 years before she passed away.

Boyett reflects upon his service in the military saying, “It meant everything to me. While working out in the gym at Maxwell AFB, I talk to many people, from Pearl Harbor survivors to newbies. I tell them they are going to miss their comrades when they retire, especially working with people who understand and practice ‘ethics and integrity’.”

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James Robert Phillips: Vietnam War Medic, 80

James Robert Phillips served 25.5 years in the U.S. Army with four tours during three years as a medic with the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. Wearing the special head gear, the Green Beret, this soldier earned the following awards and medals: National Defense Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device (2d OLC), Good Conduct Medal (8th Award), Vietnam Service Medal (One Silver Star), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal, Unit Citation, Presidential Citation, Republic of Vietnam Jump Wings, Overseas Service Bars (3), Army Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon (Advanced Level), Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Combat Medical Badge, Master Parachutist Badge. Although he was wounded by shrapnel, he refused to accept the Purple Heart because he had witnessed the more serious life-threatening wounds of other soldiers, and he wished to continue treating others.

Phillips was born November 27,1939, in Amelia Court House, VA, to his parents, Garfield and Julia Phillips. He was reared in Yonkers, NY, where he graduated from Commerce High School in 1958. He completed all requirements except for internship for a degree in elementary education from Elizabeth City State Teachers College (Elizabeth City State University) because of the necessity of returning home to assist his mother in taking care of his siblings following the death of his father. For the next two years, he worked in a variety of labor-intensive jobs, including cleaning restrooms.

Phillips’ military career began in 1964 with his volunteering to serve in the U. S. Army in the Airborne. He completed Basic Training at Ft. Dix, NJ, with advanced individual training at Ft. Gordon, GA, followed by Jump-School for six weeks of paratrooper training at Ft. Benning, GA. While there, he was asked to train in Special Forces. He then trained at Ft. Bragg, NC, for the Special Forces, and he was chosen to serve in the medical corps and completed 52 weeks to graduate and earn the Green Beret. From a class of 90 soldiers, he was one of 14 who graduated, and during that time, the Vietnam War evolved. Before he knew it, he was one of the Special Forces headed to Vietnam to serve with the 5th Special Forces Group working with the Montagnards.

The CIA determined that there were 75,000 people living in the central highlands of Vietnam. These people were the Montagnards, known as the “people of the mountains”, a primitive, neutral people who could be trained and turned into supporting the South Vietnam government. These people still hunted with spears and crossbows, and they wanted to be left alone and to continue with their culture. Viet Cong death squads began assassinating even some of the Montagnards, and they became disenchanted with the North’s cause.

Phillips served with the 5th Special Forces Group headquartered at Nha Trang. The 5th SFG(A) is one of the most decorated active duty U. S. Army Special Forces Groups in the U. S. Army. There were 200 teams of Green Berets whose mission was to equip. organize and lead these indigenous tribesmen to war against the Viet Cong. The Green Berets differed from the typical soldiers, as they were tasked with turning indigenous tribesmen into modern mercenaries. As a Green Beret medic, Phillips ran a small dispensary where he trained Montagnards in first aid, delivered babies and took care of the sick. As a Green Beret, he ate what the Montagnards ate including roasted chicken, rice, rodents, lizards, snakes and bats and slept in their huts.

The United States Army Special Forces, colloquially known as the Green Berets due to their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force of the United States Army that is designed to deploy and execute nine doctrinal missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, direct action, counter-insurgency, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, information operations, counterproliferation of weapon of mass destruction, and security force assistance via seven geographically focused groups: The first two emphasize language, cultural, and training skills in working with foreign troops. Other duties include combat search and rescue (CSAR), counter-narcotics, hostage rescue, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demining, information operations, peacekeeping, psychological operations, and manhunts; other components of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) or other U.S. government activities may also specialize in these secondary areas.

Phillips served four tours with the Special Forces during three years with Special Forces Operational Detachment (A) in Dak Pek, Vietnam, working with the Montagnards. As a medic, he treated wounded American soldiers, often saving their lives until they could be medevaced to the Defense Services Hospital. He also treated Montagnard soldiers and their families and villagers from the 18 villages surrounding the camps. After leaving Vietnam, Phillips attended the Defense Language School in Arlington, VA, where he studied Spanish for four months. His next Special Forces deployment was to the Panama Canal with the 8th Special Forces Group for four years during the time of the conflict between Honduras and San Salvador. He then went to Ft. Devens, MA, serving with Special Forces in Europe for eight years. His last overseas assignment was in Germany as 1st Sergeant of a medical company followed by NCOC of Mental Health for the 3rd Armored Division. Phillips’ last duty station was at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, IN, where he served as chief medic at the Hawley Army Hospital retiring there in 1989.

Using the G.I. Bill, Phillips received a B.S. Degree in Psychology from Butler University in 1992 and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Purdue University-Indiana University at Indianapolis, IN, in 1994. He returned to Hawley Army Hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, where he worked for three years as Chief of Social Work Services. He then worked in defense, finance and accounting in Indianapolis for 12 years, retiring in 2007 after completing 15 years of civil service.

Since his second retirement, Phillips has enjoyed volunteer service to veterans and being with his family. Phillips worked as a veterans’ service officer within veterans’ service organizations such as Vietnam Veterans of America in Indianapolis for ten years. Phillips and his wife, Reba, have been married 16 years, and they have lived in Montgomery, AL since 2016. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their blended family of seven children and 11 grandchildren. He has continued voluntarily assisting veterans from all branches of the U.S. military.

Phillips reflects upon his life saying, “Being in the military changed my life completely. I can say that I am who I am today because of where I came from, not just the Special Forces, but also my family. My father urged me to be the best that I could. My mother was always behind me in everything. When I joined the Army, the Vietnam War was going on. My first assignment was with the Montagnards. I had not seen such devoted people and not just because we saved their lives. They were downtrodden, homeless and pushed into the mountains. There were times in my life when I should have been dead, but God had a purpose for me. Today, I tell my soldiers, ‘you are not alone. There is help out there.’”

Phillips likes to be addressed as “Doc,” which is a result of his Vietnam War service as a medic. He truly possesses a servant’s heart, exemplified by his military service as a medic, his university-level education and in psychology and social work followed by employment in social services and in volunteering as a counselor to America’s veterans recovering from their war-time experiences.

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William L. Carl: 85

William L. Carl served in the United States Air Force for 28 years. He received the following awards and medals: Meritorious Service Medal with One Device, Air Force Commendation Meal with Three Devices, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with Six Devices, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship, Ribbon with One Device, NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon with One Device, Good Conduct Medal (Army), Air Force Longevity Service Award with Six Devices and National Service Medal.

Carl was born February 17, 1935, in Elmira, NY to his parents, Frank F. Carl, Sr. and Hazel I. Carl. He graduated from Corning Northside High School after which he worked driving trucks and farming. In 1957, at age 22, he volunteered to serve in the U. S. Air Force. He completed Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) in San Antonia, TX. He was trained and assigned to work as clerk-typist, which he did at his first four duty stations. At Eglin AFB, FL, he worked in preparation of classified files for one year. He was deployed to Kusan, Korea, for one year followed by assignment to Sheppard AFB, TX, and then to Offutt AFB, NE. He changed his Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) to refueling aircraft and was sent to Sheppard AFB, TX for training in refueling aircraft and to Castle AFB, CA for flight training in refueling aircraft. His first assignment was to Grand Forks AFB, ND, to work with aircraft fueling of the KC-135 aircraft with the 905th Refueling Squadron. Carl was deployed to Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand, during 1967-1968 for one year where he trained and worked in maintenance on the A-26 fighter-bomber, which had eight 50-caliber guns. He returned to Sheppard AFB, followed by deployment to Vietnam, for which he volunteered. For six months, he worked in training the South Vietnamese in quality control maintenance of the Huey-18 helicopter. After another assignment to Sheppard AFB, he was deployed again to Korea in 1970-1972, where he worked as a weights-and-balance technician in the maintenance of helicopters. Carl’s next assignments were to Homestead AFB, FL and to Hurlbert Field, FL, where he was a supervisor of helicopter maintenance. He returned to Kusan, Korea, where he worked in quality control of helicopter maintenance. He was then sent to Castle AFB, CA, followed by another deployment to Korea. He had four different tours in Korea for a total eight years there. His last assignment was at Maxwell AFB, AL, in quality control, where he retired in 1985 at the rank of E-8. After military retirement, Carl was employed for 17.5 years in contract work doing the same kind of quality control with all kinds of aircraft as a civilian employee.

Carl and his wife, Gloria, had two sons. He and his second wife, Kyong, have been married 46 years, and they had two sons and six grandchildren. Carl’s hobby is recycling and selling scrap metal to junkyards. He serves as a caretaker at a hunting camp in Autauga County, AL. He enjoys taking things apart. Several years ago, he suffered an anaphylaxis shock from being bitten by fire ants while at the hunting camps, and Carl states that he visualized standing at the Pearly Gates of Heaven before recovering. This experience resulted in his abstinence from drinking alcohol. He is happy to report that he is a recovering alcoholic, not having had a drink since November 1986. On the third Thursday of each month, he enjoys meeting with veterans at Trinity Baptist Church where they have fellowship and engage in prayer support.

Carl’s conclusions about his military service are: “I was proud to serve, and I got to meet so many people, especially generals who appreciated what I did.” He began as a clerk typist then worked as a boom operator in-flight on the KC-135 refueling other planes, followed by aircraft maintenance in quality control.

 

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