Members of Staff Sgt. Johnny LeBoff's family gathered at the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall on Friday to honor the fallen Vietnam War soldier who was taken from them 35 years ago.
"For eight years, he was the love of my life," said his wife, Carolyn. "You do not ever get over it. They took my life away."
A wreath laid to the memory of Staff Sgt. John LeBoff and his
comrades sits by the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall on Friday.
Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker
LeBoff emigrated from Germany at 16 and became an official U.S. citizen.
"He was so proud of that, being a true American," Mrs. LeBoff said.
Only months after returning from 18 months in Korea, LeBoff was sent to fight in Vietnam on his older brother's birthday and only three days before his own - Aug. 14. He served as a member of the very tough, intimidating and elite 25th Infantry Division known as the Wolfhounds.
"He told me he was coming back," said Jim LeBoff, his brother, at the wall where the family set up a photo and large flowered wreath in front of the panel bearing his name. "It does not get any easier. It is like a cut on your arm. it will heal, but you do not forget."
LeBoff died with about 80 percent of his division in an ambush in Chu Chi, Vietnam. He left behind his wife, brother and two young sons.
Despite the short time LeBoff was stationed in Vietnam and the constant battling he faced, he managed to write his family a letter a day - totaling more than 300. The family has kept the letters, still reading them from time to time to remember LeBoff and feel close to him.
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