Veterans Day is this Friday, November 11. Veterans Day falls on November 11 every year – unlike other federal holidays that switch dates to always fall on Mondays – in honor of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. The document was signed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. That significance makes this Veterans Day feel a little special, as it falls on 11/11/2011. It also occurs as we prepare for an end to the war in Iraq and the relief we will all feel as our soldiers return home. Veterans Day 2011 will be a notable day.
Veterans Day is intended as a day to honor all veterans – those who have died and those who are still with us; those who fought briefly and those who served a full career in the military; those who died in combat and those who lived out a long, full life after their service. We at Legacy.com are grateful to all military veterans, and we wouldn’t want to observe Veterans Day without extending a thank-you to all living veterans. Thank you for your service to our country! But since our site celebrates the lives of those who have passed away, we’re spotlighting a few veterans who have died in recent months. Every branch of our military is crucial, so today we’re tipping our hats to one veteran from each branch.
Lt. Col. Cindy Davis (U.S. Air Force Ret.) served for 24 years, beginning in 1980. Before her service, she trained as an operating room nurse and worked with pediatric cancer patients. This training served her well in her military career, where she recruited and trained nurses for the Air Force before working her way up to Commander of the 485th Expeditionary Medical Group, working in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She earned a Bronze Star for her command of the 113 member field hospital – it was just one of many decorations and awards she received over the course of her career. In her civilian life, Davis was an eager fundraiser for cancer research, personally raising over $30,000 toward the cause, and she was a sought-after motivational speaker who shared the story of her own battle with breast cancer. She was also a charter member of The Women in Military Service of America and The Society of Air Force Nurses.
Col. Fred W. Boynton (U.S. Army Ret.) attended Oklahoma Military Academy and The Citadel. His entire class from The Citadel was drafted to serve in World War II. It was the beginning of a 28-year career with the Army, including additional combat service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After his retirement from the military, Boynton worked for the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. We loved the obituary’s sweet list of things this military man loved: “his two dachshunds, Sadie and Lucy, old westerns, especially John Wayne, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Waffle House and CHOCOLATE.” Boynton is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.
Capt. John Francis Rump (U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Ret.) started his military career in the U.S. Navy, serving from 1952 to 1958. After taking a few years to earn his Master’s degree in Psychology, Rump reenlisted, choosing the Coast Guard Reserve this time. He served for 28 more years, working at the USCG Reserve Training Center at Yorktown and USCG Station Boston. In addition to his Coast Guard Reserve career, Rump worked as a guidance counselor in Brookline and Tewksbury, Mass. He also served on the faculty of Salem State College and helped reform and advance the role of vocational education at Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School inWakefield, Mass. After his distinguished careers, in retirement Rump and his wife enjoyed golfing, fishing and socializing with the many old and new friends they had made.
Lt. Col. David Kratochvil (U.S. Marines Ret.) grew up in an Air Force family but joined the Marines. He began his career in 1972, toward the tail end of the Vietnam War, in which he assisted with the evacuation at the fall of South Vietnam. During his 20-year career, he also participated in drug interdiction joint operations with forces in South America and served in staff positions in Washington, California, and Hawaii. After his retirement from the military, Kratochvil became a defense contractor, a career he kept until his death. As a civilian, he was an avid Hawaiian Canoe paddler, becoming a member of the Honolulu Pearl Canoe Club and competing in races. As he paddled, he loved watching for sea turtles – he was a nature lover who also enjoyed taking time to snorkel, boogie board, build sand castles, and catch crabs.
LCDR Richard Adams (U.S. Navy Ret.) served from 1952 to 1957, and again from 1956 until his retirement from the Navy in 1973. He fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, earning several awards and decorations. Initially a Communications Technician, he became a Cryptographer and traveled to Taiwan, Germany, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Toward the end of his career, he was attached to the Naval Security Group inWashington, DC. He was a generous man who devoted his time to many causes, including forming the Asheville chapter of ACES (Association for Children for Enforcement of Support) and serving as a guardian ad litem. His strong family ties are evident in his obituary – two full paragraphs are needed to list his loved ones.
You can find more U.S. military veterans at our Veterans Memorial Site.