KENNER, LA, US
U.S. Marine Corps
SGT, 3D CAB, (3D CEB, 1ST MAR DIV, I MEF FWD), 3D MAR DIV, OKINAWA, JAPAN
08/31/2010, CAMP DWYER, AFGHANISTAN
From the time he was a small child, Sergeant Joseph “Joey” Bovia wanted to serve. His father said, “ from the day Joseph could say Marine, he wanted to be one.”
“He loved being a Marine more than anything,” said his brother, Matthew. As a 17-year-old starting his senior year at Bonnabel High School, he gave his parents, Theresa and Herbert, a choice: either they signed for him to join the Marines that fall or he would do it as soon as he turned 18 in January.
“Joey” is remembered as someone who could make friends within minutes, he was fun loving, yet focused. Friends say that it was his dedication to duty and to defending our freedom that he will be remembered most for.
Joey was home with his family for his brother’s wedding last December/January and it was his families hope that he would be staying at home, but within minutes of his arriving he told them he had something to share. “”‘Wait–before we get too far– I need to tell you something. I’m going back (to Afghanistan). I volunteered. I’ll be home for six months but I’m going back,'”
“Joseph gave up a stateside position in order to return to combat,” his father said.” It was what he wanted to do.” He said his son was offered a job as a demolitions instructor, but opted for a combat mission in Afghanistan.
“He convinced his first sergeant and lieutenant to change his orders at the last minute and volunteered to go because he wanted to be back there,” said Herbert. “He was a warrior. He wanted to get into the fight.”
Bovia was a decorated ROTC cadet at Bonnabel High School. He graduated in 2004. His teachers remember him as a class leader and role model for others.
“We are very proud of him,” said English teacher Toni Lobdell. “It’s a very sad, sad thing for us to learn about this and he will be truly missed, ..it’s a loss for society. He made a sacrifice that a lot of people aren’t willing to make. Yet, because of his sacrifice, the rest of us can have the freedoms and the opportunities that we’re going to have. We at Bonnabel owe him a great deal.”
Bovia’s father Herbert is a 30-year veteran of the NOPD. He said he spoke to his son by phone just three days before hearing of his death. “Talked about the Saints and things like that,” said Herbert. “He was proud of that. He took a lot of ribbing over the years with his guys at the base about the Saints and stuff. He was proud of that.”
A now faded Marine Corps flag hangs in the Bovia’s front window. American flags and yellow ribbons adorn their home. The Marine Corp flag has been there since Joseph did his first tour of duty in Iraq five years ago. Joey did two tours in Iraq before his latest mission in Afghanistan. He began his military career in boot camp on Parris Island, S.C., before shipping out to Okinawa, Japan.
“Yesterday, between 6:30 and 7 in the evening the Marines came,” said Joseph’s mother, Teresa Bovia. It’s an image she won’t soon forget. “When you see ’em at the door you know,” she said staring blankly as she recalled the image burned in her mind. When she got word her son — 24-year-old Joseph Bovia — was killed during a firefight in Afghanistan, her heart sank. “We cry a lot, but we are incredibly proud of him,” said Teresa. “Joey was a child of God and the good Lord above has him now. God is the one who called him to do this as a profession. God gave him the strength to be trained to do what he did to defend our country,”