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'We are very proud of him,' Fla. soldier's relative says

By JAMIE MALERNEE

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 15, 2001


When Staff Sgt. Richard N. Boudreau II joined the Army 11 years ago, he knew he was entering a dangerous job. Even more so, family members say, when the Orlando native began working with explosives.

But he always assumed that the danger would come from a bomb in front of him -- one he was trying to defuse. Instead, it came from the sky.

"That's one thing that's been hard to deal with. The family believes there is a lot of irony there," said Boudreau's brother-in-law, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Lamb. "But we are very proud of him. We know that a mistake was made, but at this point who made that mistake isn't important to us. It was an inherent risk."

Boudreau, 31, one of six people killed at a Kuwaiti training range, was due to return to the United States soon. He was stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., but planned to visit his mother in Orlando when he returned.

"She was cleaning his room when the officers came (with the news)," Lamb said.

Boudreau, who was divorced with no children, had volunteered to go to Kuwait in November. He volunteered for the same reason he joined the military, Lamb said.

"He had a sense of obligation," the brother-in-law said. "We both have the heartfelt idea that what we do day to day makes a difference in the United States and in the world."

The family said Boudreau began his Army career in 1990, a year after graduating from Colonial High School in Orlando. He became part of the 82nd Airborne Division and served on the front lines in the Persian Gulf War. Afterward, he became an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 707th Ordnance Company at Fort Lewis, Wash. He thought of joining a law enforcement bomb squad.

His sense of duty extended to his family, Lamb said. Boudreau's grandparents, Alfred and Beatrice Boudreau of Brooksville, recently died. But before their death, he often visited them. Boudreau's father and stepmother now live there. They could not be reached for comment.

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