Local News: Remembering a Fallen Scott County Sailor on Memorial Day (05/27/22)
Michael Boardman, a 1966 graduate of Sikeston High School (Missouri), dreamed of becoming a draftsman or architect.
It was a vision of the future tragically cut short at 19 when the Marine corporal was killed in action in Vietnam nearly 55 years ago.
“(Mike) had just graduated, and he and a friend went to St. Louis and joined the Marines,” said his sister Brenda Winters, who now lives in Miner, Missouri, next door. of Sikestone.
“The day Mike enrolled, he received his acceptance letter from the University of Washington, but since he had already enrolled, college was off the table,” he said. she declared.
According to the former Daily Standard newspaper, which merged with the Standard Democrat in 1989, Boardman once won first place in the state’s Industrial Education Association awards competition for a set of house plans that he created.
After his enlistment but before being sent overseas, Boardman attended a Vietnamese language school and understood that he would serve as an interpreter.
Military records show Boardman died on July 19, 1967, when a vehicle he was driving crushed a landmine in Thua Thien province in central Vietnam, killing all occupants. Boardman was on a reconnaissance mission at the time and had been “in the country” for five weeks at the time of his death.
“(His death) hit everyone very hard, and if I remember correctly, he was the first from that immediate area killed in Vietnam,” Winters recalled. “Our dad had been in the Army Air Corps in World War II and had been a POW in Germany, so dad knew what Mike might have been looking at when he walked in.”
Winters said her younger brother’s body was not returned to the United States until August.
“He was originally buried in the Garden of Memories Cemetery (in Sikeston), but later the body (of Mike) was moved to Bloomfield National Cemetery, where our parents are buried.”
Linda Stroman of Benton, Missouri, was a year behind Boardman, who played football and ran track at Sikeston High.
“The only thing I really remember is that (Boardman) was an excellent swimmer and diver. It was just amazing to see him in a pool,” Stroman said, adding that she remembered her late classmate as calm, soft-spoken and humble.
Stroman’s husband, Jim Stroman, now a Marine Corps League chaplain at Cape Girardeau, arrived in Vietnam five months after Boardman’s death and was seriously injured and nearly killed by shrapnel, requiring numerous surgical interventions.
“If you’ve interviewed 100 Marines, then 100 soldiers and sailors, you’ll never hear the same story twice — because everyone had a different perspective of Vietnam,” Jim Stroman said, adding annually May 16. , he puts a post on Facebook to remember 13 guys from his unit who died that day in 1968 near Da Nang, Vietnam during Operation Allen Brook.
Linda Stroman has the final say on Boardman.
“Mike had written a letter to his girlfriend, which ended up being read on the radio after her death. In it, (Boardman) said he was homesick and lamented the absence of friends and family, but he also said he also missed things he took for granted in Vietnam — like a cold Coca Cola,” she recalled.