Black History Visionaries

Brigadier Gen. J. Timothy Boddie Shares His Stories From Vietnam

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

PLANO -- Brigadier General J. Timothy Boddie from Plano entered the United States Air Force in 1954.

“The Korean War was over, and I had to wait a long time to get a pilot training slot because they were reducing the number of pilots that they needed,” he explained.

In 1965, General Boddie arrived in Vietnam, and he won’t ever forget that first day.

“We lost seven aircrafts that day. It was devastating. It was one of those things where the guys were going in through an overcast, but they went through this big hole and all the guns in North Vietnam were aimed at that big hole. I guess that was my welcome.”

Gen. Boddie flew over 200 missions.

“Easter Sunday Morning 1967, I was fragged out on a mission, and we got in contact with the FAC. He said, 'Well, we have some areas here where we have seen some bad guys,'” Gen. Boddie said. “He said, ‘I’m going to drop some smoke right in the city.' So, I watched the smoke hit, and he said, 'You see that large building like 9 o' clock to my smoke?' I said, 'Yeah, I see it.' He says, 'I want you to hit it with API, Armor piercing Incendiaries on my cannon.'"

“I was about 6,000 feet out. I said, 'That looks like a church!' He said, 'It is.' He said we have spread leaflets all around that area to tell people to evacuate and so forth. He said I want you to hit it. I said, 'Jesus, it's Easter Sunday Morning. Are you serious?!'  So, sure enough, he said yeah. I rolled in and I opened fire way out about 6,000 feet and hit the church, and it blew up! I had to yank and bank and pull so I wouldn’t go through the debris that was used as a weapon storage area for the bad guys."

“I think this country owes an extreme debt of gratitude to the vets that have served in Vietnam, the Vets that served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the vets that served in Panama. I mean, all the contingencies where we lost lives. And It's the veterans who paid through the nose if you will.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.