Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marine Sgt. Joseph A. Bovia

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Joseph A. Bovia, 24, of Kenner, La.

Sgt. Bovia was assigned to 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Aug. 31, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — An Okinawa-based Marine was killed in a firefight Tuesday in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, the Department of Defense reported Wednesday.

He was identified as Sgt. Joseph A. Bovia, 24, of Kenner, La., assigned to the 3rd Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Joseph Bovia was one of six Americans killed in action Tuesday and among 56 U.S. troops who died in August, most of them in the past two weeks as the Taliban stepped up attacks in their southern and eastern strongholds, according to the DOD.

“Sergeant Bovia was an outstanding Marine, the epitome of what we expect from our noncommissioned officers, and a fine man,” Lt. Col. Kirk D. Mullins, commander of Combat Assault Battalion here said Thursday.

Marine Corps Base Japan public affairs had no information Thursday afternoon regarding a memorial service on Okinawa.

Joe Bovia’s parents told New Orleans television station WWL that their son also served two combat tours in Iraq.

His father, Herbert Bovia, a 30-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, said his son had been offered a stateside post as a demolitions instructor but volunteered instead for a third combat tour.

“He couldn’t wait to go,” his father told a WWL reporter. “He was bored being in the Far East, and it’s just what he wanted to do. It’s what he lived for.”

Sgt. Bovia, a combat engineer, began active duty in the Marine Corps in July 2004, according to Marine officials. He began his tour on Okinawa in June 2008 and was promoted to his current rank of sergeant July 1, 2008.

Bovia did two tours of Iraq before his latest mission in Afghanistan.

Kenner Marine killed Tuesday in Afghanistan --

Herbert Bovia knew immediately what had happened when he saw the sharply dressed men in uniforms standing on his front porch Tuesday evening.

"When you're in a military family, you know," Bovia said Thursday.

The men were there to deliver the worst of news: Bovia's son, Joseph, a 24-year-old Marine sergeant, had been shot and killed in Afghanistan during a skirmish with Taliban fighters.

"He was a great Marine and a great son," said Bovia, a 30-year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department.

At a time when President Barack Obama was announcing that the military's focus had officially shifted from battlefields in Iraq to the longer struggle against terrorism in the east, Joseph Bovia became one of 944 U.S. military members killed in action while fighting in Afghanistan. He had been there for five weeks into his latest tour, his father said.

Herbert Bovia tells WWL-TV in New Orleans that his son was his hero and that he spoke with him just a few days ago.

Bovia was the scion of a military tradition going back generations, including his grandfather, granduncle and uncle. As a 17-year-old starting his senior year at Alfred Bonnabel High School, he gave his parents, Theresa and Herbert, a choice: either they signed for him to join the Marines that fall or he would do it as soon as he turned 18 in January, Herbert Bovia said.

He began his military career in boot camp on Parris Island, S.C., before shipping out to Okinawa, Japan. His latest tour was with the 3rd Combat Assault Battalion of the 3rd Marine Division, according to the U.S. Defense Department.

Joseph gave up a state-side position to return to combat, his father said. He was part of an expeditionary force near Marjah that hunted for roadside bombs ahead of his comrades. Herbert Bovia described his son's job as "blowing stuff up."

"He loved being a Marine more than anything," said his brother, Matthew, whose wedding in January was when Joseph told his family he would be heading to Afghanistan.

"We had a feeling that this wasn't going to be an easy deployment," Herbert Bovia recalled. "We felt something could go wrong."

But it was what his son wanted to do, he said.

The service will be held next week at the First Baptist Church on Canal Boulevard in New Orleans. The date and time are still tentative, said funeral director Edward Muhleisen of L. A. Muhleisen & Son Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Garden of Memories in Metairie.

Sgt. Bovia is survived by his parents, Herbert and Teresa Bovia, of Kenner, LA.

Marine Sgt. Joseph A. Bovia was killed in action on 8/31/10.

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