This year, just like he has a lot of years in the past, Ed Boucher of Estherville went to 50th AAA reunion in Branson, Mo. So last week he and his wife Colleen packed up and headed down there, enjoying the sights along the way, looking to hear some good ol' country music - maybe even sneak a peek at Dolly Parton if she was around - that is, if the missus wasn't lookin' too close.
So they all got together, swapped stories, ate, drank a few beers - some maybe more than a few - that was okay, though, no one was driving anywhere that night.
And then they called Ed up to the front of the room.
Ed Boucher of Estherville with the Silver Star he was awarded 63 years ago — but received just last week.
Photo by Michael Tidemann
Ed maybe chuckled a little at first, thinking it was a joke, but then he went there anyway. And right there, in the presenter's hand, was the Silver Star Boucher had earned but never received 63 years ago.
Ed, about as hardboiled a man as you could find, cried like a baby.
For several years now, Ed has been trying to get that piece of medal that others said he deserved for actions taken Dec. 8, 1950 when he organized a group of soldiers and Marines to rescue nine wounded Marines pinned down by enemy fire on a mountain about a mile away. Boucher received the Bronze Star earlier, and learned only within the last few years that it had been upgraded to Silver - but he never received the medal. Soldiers and Marines performing the exact same actions in Afghanistan have in recent years received the Medal of Honor.
Merry Helm, a Fargo, N.D. writer researching a book, The Prairie Boys at War, learned about Boucher getting upgraded to a Silver Star. Then Army Col. Terry Thrall made the connections recently that he finally got Ed the medal that he deserved.
At 82, Ed can now finally sit back, relieved that he has the medal to prove what he did.
Following is the citation Boucher received with the medal.
Awarded for actions during the Korean War
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Corporal Edward O. Boucher, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the Battery A. 50th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion (Self Propelled) in action between Chinhung-ni and Koto-ri, Korea, 8 on December 1950. While his unit was guarding the main supply route between these villages in conjunction with the 1st Battalion of the FIRST Marine Regiment, Corporal Boucher heard from a Marine aid man that there were nine wounded Marines on Hill 1081, a distance of about one mile. Through his own initiative and in the absence of orders, Corporal Boucher organized a detail of approximately ten men, consisting of Marines and Army personnel, and embarked upon the mission of evacuating these wounded to a medical aid station. The group's progress was impeded by rugged, mountainous terrain, a foot of snow, sub-zero temperatures, darkness, and an aggressive enemy force. On several occasions during the return trips to the top of Hill 1081, it was necessary to detour from the selected routes due to enemy fire. Corporal Boucher again disregarded his personal safety and reconnoitered for a route which would not subject the group to the then heavy volume of fire. The only possible escape lay over a steep precipice. Dauntlessly, and with determination, he hastily instructed the other members of the group in the manner in which the wounded would be handed down the cliff, although it necessitated digging footholds into the cliff and holding the cliff with one hand while lifting the wounded with the other. Three trips were made until the last of the wounded was delivered to safety at approximately 2400 hours. Through the entire ordeal, Corporal Boucher never wavered in his determination to save the wounded men, regardless of the sacrifices and danger to himself and his men. His courage, self-sacrifice, and complete disregard for personal safety were in keeping with the highest tradition of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Action Date: December 8, 1950
Company: Battery A
Battalion: 50th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AW) Battalion (SP)