?What Goes Around, Comes Around,? Old Saying.
While Jim and his family have been surrounded by support from members of the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps League after his son, Marine Sgt. Joshua J. Bouchard, 26, was wounded in Afghanistan in July, he is no stranger to either the Marines or knowing how it is to be wounded in combat.
It was 40 years ago in Vietnam when ?Doc? Bouchard, a U.S. Navy Corpsman serving with the ?Fox 2-7? U.S. Marines took a shot from an enemy AK-47. The date was August 25, 1969. ?It ironic that my son, Josh was wounded July 7, 2009 in Afghanistan. Almost 40 years to the day,? Jim lamented.
Josh lost his left leg below the knee and received back and arm wounds from the blast of an IED that destroyed his Humvee, killed two of his fellow Marines and wounded several others. He is now recovering at McGuire VA Medical Facility at Richmond, Virginia. Jim said the AK-47 bullet when in under his arm and lodged one-half inch from his heart. ? I was running to help a radio operator who had been hit and I jumped up with my arm out stretched when I was hit. Thank God it didn?t kill me.
He was medevaced by helicopter to a nearby medical station and operated on in the field. Jim was later transported by air to Yokosuka, Japan for additional treatment before returning to Vietnam to serve with the lst Medical Battalion. He returned home in July 1970 and was discharged from the Navy with a disability.
Despite the disability, Jim studied for and received his EMT license and served as an instructor in Maine. He later went to work as a steel erector.
?The Corpsmen with Josh?s unit saved his life. His friends at the scene said the Corpsmen worked to curb the bleeding and stabilize him,? Jim reports.
Marines accompanied Josh to Landstuhl Medical Center, Germany, when he underwent hours of emergency surgery for his back injuries and leg, and on the airplane to Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, and to McGuire VA Medical Center when still is being treated.
?The Marines have been wonderful. They made sure Josh has had everything he needs and they have made sure we (family) have what we need. I can?t thank them enough,? Jim said.
Josh has also expressed his thanks to his fellow Marines and the Marine Corps League in Maryland and Virginia for attending to him and his needs. ?They are here all the time,? he says.
(Story and photos by Frank G. Real, Jr.)
Surrounded By Marines
Former U.S. Corpsman Jim Bouchard of Granby, Mass., second from right, is surrounded by members of the Massachusetts Department of the Marine Corps League during a recent benefit dinner for his son U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Joshua J. Bouchard, 26, who lost his leg in Afghanistan and received back and arm injuries. Jim Bouchard served with the Marines in Vietnam and was wounded in August 1969 by an AK-47 bullet while attempting to treat a wounded Marine. ?He took care of us in Vietnam. Now its our turn to support him and his son,? Dept. Junior Vice Commandant Bernie Heaney, observed. From left to right, Heaney, Ware Det. Paymaster Tom Clason, Bouchard, and Pequoig (Athol) Det. Commandant Rob Raubeson.