Purple Heart recipient’s photos of Vietnam War serve as a reminder of the importance of Veterans Day
He wasn’t a professional photographer, just happened to have a camera.
Glenn Boche, of South St. Paul, is the recipient of two Purple Hearts and is in possession of pictures of war only someone who served in Vietnam would be able to capture.
“We got a Kodak Instamatic 104,” Boche said about the camera — that he still has today — that he used while serving.
“There was so many, we call em’ ‘Kodak moments’ over there, that I took pictures of. Stuff that I caught, some things that I didn’t catch that I wish I would have caught,” Boche added.
Some pictures captured chaos, including one where he said napalm was dropped close enough for him to snap a powerful picture.
“When it went off, you could feel the blast in your face the heat the heat wave from,” Boche said.
Other pictures show the skills of our armed forces — like one showing more than a dozen helicopters flying in formation above Boche.
“This is what Eagle flights looked like on the ground or be a lot of helicopters, about 14 of them,” he said about his picture.
Some captured the intensity of the terrain — in one of his pictures, you see a soldier completely underwater while crossing a river with only his hand above water, making sure his firearm was protected.
“I don’t know if that guy was just too short, or if he stepped in a hole, but I clicked the picture at the right time,” Boche said with a smile. “All you see is his arm sticking up, [but[ he did not drown.”
Perhaps one of the more powerful moments in time Boche was able to capture was part of his Band of Brothers helping a fellow soldier in need. In it, you can see a man with his arms over two others by his side — Boche said one of the other two was holding a rifle with ammunition wrapped around his waist and the other was holding a grenade launcher with many grenades attached to his gear.
“He was wounded and we’re taking him to a rescue chopper and grabbed a picture of him,” Boche said.
As for what Boche would like for people to take away from him sharing his pictures, it’s simply to never forget.
“There are still people, like me, still today that go into harm’s way that have to do what we do,” Boche said.