Wounded Louisiana Soldier expected to return to U.S. to continue medical treatment

Story and photos by Sgt, Tresa Allemang
256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team public affairs

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq — Spc. Kenneth D. Boyer, a vehicle gunner with 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Pineville, La., native — injured when the vehicle he was in was struck by an improvised explosive device near Numaniyah in southern Iraq — will be returning to the United States soon.

Boyer, a member of B Company, from the 199th Brigade Support Battalion and now attached to 2nd. Sqdn., received shrapnel wounds from the explosion that took the life of a comrade travelling with him, Maj. Ronald “Wayne” Culver, of Eldorado, Ark, the executive officer for 2nd Sqdn., 108th Cav. Regt., headquartered in Shreveport, La.

Doctors at Victory Base Complex in Baghdad, where Boyer is currently receiving care, said he is expected to make a full recovery, and will soon be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington to receive the remainder of his treatment.

Boyer, who volunteered for this mobilization, said he wanted to deploy and found the perfect opportunity when he learned that friends in a different unit would soon be on their way to Iraq.

“I have several friends in B Company, 199th Brigade Support Battalion, so I knew this would be my best opportunity,” he said.

More than 100 Soldiers volunteered to deploy with the battalion, said Lt. Col. Marc Kelly, commander of the 199th BSB and a Deville, La., native.

“Command Sgt. Maj. William Migues and I were both overwhelmed and humbled by the sheer number of volunteers who could have probably stayed at home and never deployed,” he said. “However, those young men and women answered the call when their country and state needed them, and Spc.Boyer was one of them.”

Boyer, 23, said he underwent a drastic change to deploy as a gunner for the convoy security team, but if he could do it over again, he would not change his mind.

“I really believe in this mission,” he said. “I thought the convoy security mission would be a great one to be on because I wanted to support the troops, and everyone here to help set the stage for the drawdown.”

“It was quite a transformation for me, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I have no regrets,” Boyer said. “I am still glad that I made the decision to deploy with the brigade … they are fantastic, and I can’t imagine a better group than the Soldiers from the 256th (Infantry Brigade Combat Team).”

Boyer described how he met Culver only two days before the convoy mission, but quickly became friends with him.

“He was truly a great guy,” Boyer said. “He was highly motivated and always wanted to get in on the action.”

He said Culver reminded everyone on the convoy several times that if anything happened, he had no problems dismounting and pulling security.

“He loved this kind of stuff,” Boyer said.

Lt. Col. William Rachal, commander of 2nd Bn., 108th Cav. Regt. and a Breaux Bridge, La., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Vanzant, command sergeant major of the squadron and a Campti, La., native, visited Boyer at the hospital in Baghdad to present him with the Purple Heart and the cavalry “combat spurs” he earned during the deployment.

He was also visited by Command Sgt. Maj. William Migues, command sergeant major of the 199th BSB and a New Iberia, La., native.

“Everyone has been so great to me and I’m amazed every day at how supportive everyone is,” he said during one of the nightly visits with Migues. “If I could send a message to everyone back home, it would be to keep our fellow Soldiers in their thoughts and prayers … they need it the most right now.”

“I’m just glad to be here and to have had the opportunity to serve with the Soldiers from this brigade,” he said. “It’s truly been an honor.”

 

news photo
Spc. Kenneth D. Boyer (right), a vehicle gunner with 2nd Sqdn., 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Pineville, La., native, injured when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle during a convoy movement, visits with Command Sgt. Maj. William Migues, command sergeant major of the 199th Brigade Support Battalion, and a New Iberia., La., native, at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, where he is currently receiving treatment. Boyer is expected to return to the United States in a few days where he will receive further treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang)

news photo
Spc. Kenneth D. Boyer, a vehicle gunner with 2nd Sqdn., 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Pineville, La., native, injured when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle during a convoy movement, displaysthe cavalry spurs and Purple Heart presented to him earlier in the day by Lt. Col. William R. Rachal, commander of 2nd Sqdn. and a Breaux Bridge, La., native, and Command Sgt. Maj. Albert L. Vanzant, command sergeant major of the squadron and a Campti, La., native. Boyer was a gunner in a vehicle that was struck by an improvised explosive device and received shrapnel wounds from the explosion. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang)