FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2018
Have you heard the one about Boudreaux and Thibodeaux joining the Army?
Boudreaux and Thibodeaux are two fictional but humorous characters from Southern Louisiana experiencing life’s trials and tribulations.
But, the real life Army Private First Class Lawrence Boudreaux is a living legend who served his country with honor, bravery, and distinction.
Lawrence Boudreaux was born March 10, 1922 in Church Point, Louisiana. He lived in that small farming town until he was drafted into the United States Army on Feb. 9, 1943.
He was only 20 years old at the time he was sent to Fort Sill, located in Comanche County which is 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City for training.
Upon graduation, Boudreaux was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. The 101st or “Screaming Eagles” as they are known, are an elite modular specialized light infantry division of the Army. These Soldiers are trained for air assault operations and are considered the most potent and tactically mobile division.
A now 21 year old Boudreaux was then sent to Liverpool, England with his brothers from the 101st. They were housed in a horse stable where they trained for war.
The Screaming Eagles specifically trained for the invasion of June 6, 1944 during that time. On June 8, Boudreaux and his division were on the beaches of Normandy. Of the 15 Soldiers that got off that boat with him, 9 ended up getting sent back to England for medical treatment due to the injuries they sustained during the invasion.
When recalling that day, a very modest Boudreaux says all he ended up with was some shrapnel and a hurt leg. His service records, however, show that he was later awarded both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his bravery on the battlefield.
To him, the six Soldiers that were also hurt, although “not bad enough to be sent back,” are the true heroes. They had to stay with their unit and press on while he was being treated for his injuries.
Boudreaux recovered and was sent back to his division to train to go to Holland in September of 1944. He and his fellow brethren were sent to “protect the British from the Germans,” during the Battle of Aachean.
According to Warfare History Network, in order to enter Germany, the U.S. Army would first need to capture the city of Aachen in one of the toughest urban battles of World War II.
The 101st spent 73 days on the frontlines. Those were “sad times,” says Boudreaux. “We saw a lot of bad stuff over there,” he says with a deep sadness in his eyes.
He quickly moves on from those days and recalls some fond memories of his time in the military. He specifically loved the “great rest” they had in Mormoiron, France while on leave. The village of Mormoiron is a small village located in the south east of France. The town of Mormoiron is located in the department of Vaucluse of the french region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Boudreaux says they all enjoyed themselves there.
On Dec. 4, 1945, PFC Boudreaux was honorably discharged from the Army with only the clothes on his back and the memories that would last him a lifetime.
Among those memories, is the distinction of having earned the Croix de Guerre from the Kingdom of Belgium. The citation reads: “Through its splendid resistance from December 22 to 27, 1944, when at the height of the battle of the Ardennes and completely isolated, It held the key position at Bastogne, the 101st Airborne Division United States Army with attached units caused the failure of the enemy penetration into Belgium and served as pivot for the counter-offensive operations which liberated the invaded territory. During these operations, through their courage endurance, discipline, fighting skills, holding back unceasing attacks made by elements of eight German divisions, despite rare and difficult supplies, these troops and their commanders have written one of the most beautiful pages in military history and have gained, with the admiration of the world, the eternal gratitude of the Belgian people.”
With all that he saw, Boudreaux says he would go back and do it over alongside his brothers-in-arms. When asked if he would recommend military service to today’s youth, he says, “it depends on the situation,” because that type of life in not for everyone.
He came back home to Church Point, Louisiana and farmed for the next eight years. Once he had enough of farm life, he moved to Welsh, Louisiana and started working part-time as a patrolman.
Welsh is a town in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana. It was originally a homestead owned by former plantation overseer and Confederate States Army soldier Henry Welsh in the late 1800’s. The town of Welsh was platted in 1880 and incorporated on March 15, 1888, when Henry Welsh was elected the first mayor.
Boudreaux worked his way up the Welsh Police Department ranks for the next 13 years of his life. He even served as the Welsh Police Chief for five of those years. “I loved it,” he says.
The only thing he loved more was his wife of 68 years, Loudia “Lulu” Broussard Boudreaux. They met at a dance in Mermentau, Louisiana. They danced to the same tune until the time for her passing on Nov. 30, 2017.
Boudreaux says that is how he ended up at LDVA’s Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home. He was alone and looking for a new home. “I love it here,” he says with a smile.
And, the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs is proud to play a small part in this next chapter of Boudreaux’s life.