CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 155 (2009): June 15, 16, considered and passed House. Aug. 4, considered and passed Senate. Æ Public Law 111–59
111th Congress An Act To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 19190 Cochran Boulevard FRNT in Port Charlotte, Florida, as the ‘‘Lieutenant Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Building’’.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. LIEUTENANT COMMANDER ROY H. BOEHM POST OFFICE BUILDING.
Commander Roy H. Boehm Post Office Dedication Ceremony -
Monday, July 12, 2010
July 22, 2010
The Murdock Branch Post office in Punta Gorda was
dedicated recently and the building renamed to honor an
Here is a Bio of the soldier honored and photographs
from the ceremony. It is an amazing story and it was a
great dedication ceremony.
COMMANDER ROY H. BOEHM
Roy Henry Boehm was born in Brooklyn, NY on April 9,
1924. He enlisted in the Navy in April, 1941, at age 17.
By the spring of 1942 he had qualified as a diver second
class and helped retrieve bodies and ordnance from the
USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. He served as a
Boatswain’s Mate in the USS Duncan (DD485) during the
Battle of Cape Esperance, the largest all-sea battle of
World War II., during which his ship took 58 hits and
was sunk. After 13 hours in shark-infested water, Boehm
and 184 of his shipmates were rescued. His service in
WWII included ferrying supplies to guerrillas in the
Philippines. In 1946 he served in China. He would also
serve aboard ships involved in the Korean conflict and
much later, saw combat in Vietnam.
In June of 1954 at the age of 30, Boehm volunteered for
Underwater Demolition Team Replacement Training, which
he completed as a member of Class 13. Subsequently he
went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an
ensign in 1958. In 1961, as a lieutenant (jg) and the
operations officer of UDT 21, he was tasked to
clandestinely help create a new Naval Warfare commando
unit that had sea, air and land capabilities.
Those commandos would become known as Navy SEALs.
Boehm’s knowledge of counterinsurgency and asymmetric
warfare—he’d studied Sun-Tzu and read Mao Zedong and
other revolutionaries--led him to apply outside-the-box
training, which included sending his prospective SEALs
into prisons to learn lock-picking and other ‘black’
His unconventional methods did not sit well with the
Navy establishment. By the time Boehm was summoned to
brief President John F. Kennedy on his progress, he was
facing five boards of inquiry pending courts martial.
Boehm’s first words to JFK were, “ “Sir, I did not
vote for you.” There was stunned silence until he
added: “But I’d die for you.”
Soon after that meeting, the charges against Boehm
evaporated. SEALs were commissioned on January 8, 1962.
On that day Roy Boehm became the first Officer in Charge
of SEAL Team 2. In the words of Admiral Eric Olson,
Commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, “No
one can deny Roy Boehm his place in history as an
original, and perhaps the original SEAL.” .
Roy Boehm retired from the Navy in 1971. In his 2010
James Forrestal Lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy,
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said of Roy Boehm,
“He never made it higher than Lieutenant Commander,
but his legacy is at work every night, tracking down our
country’s most lethal enemies in Afghanistan and
elsewhere around the world.”
As a Sailor and a veteran Roy Boehm never stopped
fighting for the values he believed in, the men he loved
more than family, or the nation to which he devoted his
life. He died on December 30, 2008 at his home in Punta
LCDR Roy H. Boehm USN (ret). (Class 13, Little Creek)
It is with great sadness that UDT-SEAL Association
informs the membership of the passing of LCDR Roy H. Boehm USN
(ret). Roy was born on 9 April 1924 in Brooklyn, New York. He joined
the Navy at the age of 17 and served the Naval Service honorably
for 30 years.
His active duty career spanned three wars, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. Roy
joined the Navy, completed Boot Camp and Diver training. After the
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he found himself in the middle of the salvage
and recovery operations at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Roy felt his
biggest challenge and joy was attending Underwater Demolition Team Training in
1954 at the age of 31.
He graduated with UDT/T Class 13. Roy felt this was the start of a
whole new and exciting life with great challenges. What meant more to Roy
was the friendships within the Teams while serving and fighting with the brave
men. He was loyal to those he worked with and to those who worked
for him. He dedicated himself to them as they dedicated themselves to
There has been much controversy about Roy and his book, "First
SEAL". However, the "Plank Owners" of SEAL Team Two who
he led and helped form SEAL Team Two prior to and at the very beginning stand
behind him until this very day. He served as the first Executive
Officer, and acting Officer in Charge until the First Commanding Officer
reported aboard SEAL Team Two.
Roy's life with his wife Sue has been filled with joy, great times,
and excitement. They traveled, laughed, and enjoyed smelling the roses.
Roy took flying lessons and received his pilot license at about age 70 and
kept that license current until the day he passed. Roy was indeed a man
who enjoyed life and those in the Brotherhood of Frogmen and SEALs.
One of his men and Teammate, a Plank Owner of SEAL Team Two, sent the
following statements. "On or about 2030 hours December 30, 2008,
the world in general and SEAL TEAM TWO in particular suffered a great loss.
Roy H. Boehm, a legend in his own time, slipped his earthly bonds and
continued his journey into TIME. He left behind the seeds he planted to
sprout and grow into a WARRIOR CULT that is as yet unmatched in modern warfare.
As Plank Owners of SEAL Team Two we feel he gave his progeny the job
of going forth and wining. Loosing was NOT an option, audacity was
demanded, and success was and still is the results. Almost 47 years to
the day after first mustering and cutting loose his FROGS OF WAR his legacy is
still being written. It was my honor to have been one of his TEAMMATES.
ROY always said "Just don't get caught"
Roy was a sailor, a shipmate, a friend, and a Teammate. His men came
first and he never asked anyone to do anything that he wouldn't do himself.
That sums up what any of us would want said about us. We share in his
family's loss and sorrow, as he was one of us. He was a man, a father, a
husband, a sailor, a shipmate, a brother, a leader, and mostly, a Warrior.
Roy H. Boehm will be remembered as a Sailors Sailor.
As per Roy's wishes there will be no services.
Webmaster's Note: FYI
Roy had a party at his home after one of the Ft. Pierce Musters.
Archie Grayson and I attended. During that SEAL get-together Roy
showed John Weisman and I all the manuscripts he wrote and
saved for his book which wanted to be titled
"MUSTANG." The publisher's, which or course have the
last say on titles and whatever else they wish to edit, told Roy that
"MUSTANG" would not sell his book and they changed Roy's suggested
"FIRST SEAL" was born at the publisher's insistence which Roy
told us he was not in agreement with the publishers.
For whatever it is worth, Roy should have made that known when
all those letters were written to the BLAST and to the FIRE IN THE HOLE. I
wish he had done so; now you know it and I say; better late than never.
Erasmo "Doc" Riojas
5 Dec 2009 docrio45 [at] gmail.com
Charlotte Sun Editor Date: January 16, 2009 Section:
Rep. Tom Rooney delivered his first floor speech in Congress on
Thursday, choosing to remark about the incredible life of Punta Gorda resident Roy
Rooney spoke about Boehm's service to this country as America's
first Navy SEAL. Boehm died Dec. 30 at the age of 84.
Here is Rooney's speech:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Roy Boehm, a true
American hero and a longtime constituent of Punta Gorda, Fla. Mr. Boehm was a
retired Navy Lt. Commander and was the first officer in charge of SEAL Team 2,
one of the original Navy SEAL teams. Many would say that he was the first SEAL.
"Lt. Cmdr. Boehm enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and fought during World War
II, Korea and Vietnam. In 1942, he participated in the Battle of Cape Esperance
at Guadalcanal, one of the largest 'all surface' sea engagements of World War
II. In 1961, under orders from President Kennedy, Lt. Cmdr. Boehm developed and
launched the Navy's elite Sea, Air and Land forces unit known as the SEALS. Our
nation is grateful for Lt. Cmdr. Boehm's service.
"Lt. Cmdr. Roy Boehm set the standard for the Navy SEALs of today
and he will truly be missed. On behalf of all men and women who've worn or are
currently wearing the uniform, I thank Lt. Cmdr. Boehm for his service."
Rooney represents District 16, which winds its way from Palm Beach County across
the state covering a portion of Charlotte County. Rooney defeated incumbent
Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney in the November general election.
Below is some interesting positive data on the late Roy
Boehm, a character and a half, and a man who loved and lived his life in total
dedication to our great Navy. About 3 months ago he came out of his self-imposed
removal from our community.
Roy and I were tight in the early, pre-ST2, days, and (according to my service
jacket) it all began in late Spring 1961.
As Roy’s side kick, together we did a lot of the early ground work and
organizational planning, with the help of personnel-man John Tegg and Ltjg Dave
Graveson. Granted none of us then had orders to ST2, it was only 1961; we were
assigned to an old WWII empty barracks to set up a new unit. We were also told
not to discuss what we were doing with any of our UDT teammates. This all took
place about 8 months before our 1st skipper, John Callahan’s arrival from UDT
11 or 12.
As most of you know, Roy has been an almost total recluse for a number of years
and unfortunately I was one of the many with whom he severed ties. Well,
miracles can and do happen. Roy and I have been corresponding for the last 2 to
3 months in a very friendly rational way following my sharing with him that one
of our pre-Plank-owner teammates, (then Ltjg.) Dave Graveson was suffering a
Roy Boehm and I were two of the 3 or 4 who put our first team together. Some
years ago, as a result of his book, Roy became embroiled in the “who came
first” controversy and as a result, received a lot of grief, much of it
deserved. Yes, his book, First SEAL was not the most accurate one out there, and
ghost writers often do more harm than good by either overplaying reality and
just plain making up stories. Roy, the consummate Bosn, could not have written
his own story but was pleased and proud to have someone help him write it. I was
his Operations and Training Officer and gave him a lot of grief about some of
the stories within his book. And yes, I hurt his feelings.
It remains unclear to some of you who was or was not our first skipper. I happen
to know what happened, so read on.
For about half of 1961, Roy was the senior officer present and functioned as the
“acting” skipper of our small group in until John Callahan arrived. So even
though his orders did not so state, he was, in reality, our first (temporary)
skipper; which in his mind allowed him to say he was the “first SEAL” . That
said, when our friends on the west coast began their relentless attack on him
about the who or what really came first fight, even though ST2 was commissioned
3 hours before ST1 (the time change) I discovered, not long ago that the west
coast team was, in fact, commissioned several days before the first East coast
team, so ST1 really WAS first, if that matters….and it does NOT! The fight was
silly and got out of hand taking a major toll on Roy. He chose to withdrew to a
tiny handful of friends he later chose to lock me out, which I never quite
understood for I both liked and respected him. Years later, what I did not like,
and so stated to him, related to the many misstatements of fact in his book;
probably not made by him, but by his ghost writer. Yes, Roy may have contributed
to the misstatements, and he probably enjoyed what was said in his book.
However, I am not now, nor have ever been in favor of “ghost writers”. But
Roy, the Bosn, had to have one. Like most Bosns, Roy was not known for his
ability to write a complete sentences in any Language. Tie knots and lead men,
yes, write sentences, no!
Not having heard from Roy since I wrote a letter to the BLAST some years ago
supporting him, (unfortunately, Roy chose to think I was not supporting him)
ties were severed. WWII Roy Boehm, a mustang Lt., was proud to be the first and
temporarily most senior East coast SEAL. I do not fault him for his pride.
Over the years, I often tried to correspond with Roy, but he would not answer my
letters until recently when the ice was broken. I wrote him about teammate and
Plank owner, Dave Graveson who was suffering terminal cancer. A new window was
opened and he responded to me.
To go on:
After that email, Roy began writing me with many positive memories of those
early days. Our friendship became re-established--- I have saved those emails.
We discussed working for Bill Hamilton who with Admiral McCain (first ComTraLant,
then ComPhibLant) and Op Nav in DC, was significant in the founding of the SEAL
concept. Had Roy lived, we both were going to write, with the help of others,
Capt. Hamilton’s total story as it relates to the formation of the SEAL
concept. (I believe Hamilton’s father an Admiral and Adm. McCain may have been
classmates at Annapolis, which may have been the catalyst that helped allow UDT
to become the basis for the first Seal Teams. Hamilton and Admiral McCain were
close. Granted, Capt. Hamilton was not the most popular man out there, but he
WAS significant to our formation, Since Hamilton did not keep nor could he find
his less than well-documented records, he has not been unable to convince our
newer SEALs that he did what he says he did. As a result, I have spent the last
30+ years trying to document Hamilton’s story. Because I had the honor of
setting up our initial training program, under Boehm and Hamilton, beginning in
the Spring of 1961, I know firsthand much of Hamilton’s input. Yes, there were
others. For example, our former Navy Liaison Officer at Fort Bragg, now a
retired Captain, and still alive, Bob Gohr, is going through his records to
assist. He also spent time with Capt Hamilton and Adm McCain attending meetings
in DC at our OpNav. desk, etc. I believe both were Commanders at the time.
Hamilton retired a Captain prior to moving to the agency to work in the
relatively new concept called Counter Insurgency.
Next step in getting data on what happened back in our pre-commissioning days,
get access to and study the Archives of the late, Admiral John McCain (father of
presidential candidate pilot John). My recollection, the old man was one of the
first Admirals back in the late 1950s who was aware of, what we are involved
with today, the terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the Arab world.
McCain assigned, Via Hamilton, Dave Watts and myself a mission which predates
Red Cell. We were ordered to arrive in Norfolk as civilians, get uniforms and
IDs, steal vehicles, then using briefcase Atomic weapons, get access to, and
penetrate the four cryptographic centers in Norfolk area including CincLantFlt.
We were to simulate their destruction. Over about a 2 month period, we were 100%
successful which proved McCain’s point as to the complacency of the Navy &
Marine guards. I remember our success irritated McCain’s boss, CincLantFlt’s
boss and non-believer, 4-star Adm. Horacio Riviera (spelling?). Former Museum
Board member Jim Hawes (UDTRA class 29) is a close friend of Admiral McCain’s
96 year old wife and is working with her with the hopes to get access to McCain’s
files so we can document McCain’s roll those early pre SEAL days in pushing to
form our unit. I was discussing that task with Roy Boehm just one month ago and
he appeared anxious to participate in the project since he too was a significant
part of that period.
To go on, Roy was very proud of the opportunity given him to be our first XO of
ST2, preceded by being our “acting” skipper awaiting Callahan. It is a shame
he was forced into that silly “who came first” battle, brought out by his
book’s title. To Bruhmuller, Burbank, Hoot, AD Clark, Watson, myself and
others who knew him, we knew Roy was deeply hurt by the mess created by his book’s
title, chosen by ???.
I am happy to report, Roy appeared to be coming out of that “reclusive shell”
period just a few months ago.
Let us all say a prayer for this very unique teammate.
Dante Stephensen UDTRA 22, UDT 21 & Plankowner of ST2.
PS. My service jacket documents three of us, including Bill Hamilton, who
attended two army Schools in preparation for the formation of ST2 in the spring
and fall of 1961. (One was a survival school, the other the 16 week Special
Forces Officer School at Bragg, where I had previously attended Jump School. Roy
thought of himself as the first SEAL because he was the first East coast SEAL.
He was also the most senior East Coast Seal to be assigned to the not yet formed
SEAL Team Two which took place prior to John Callahan coming from the West coast
to be our first documented skipper. This all happened in 1961.
Bruh, help me remember some of the other early guy names who I should have
mentioned in this email. I apologize to any of you I could have and should have
mentioned, but with senility oozing out of my ears, don’t expect me to
From: dee [mailto:deec01 [at] suddenlink.net] Sent: Thursday,
January 01, 2009 12:49 PM To: oceancapt[at]comcast.net; Larry Bailey; Fred
Miller; David Casale Cc: Dan Potts; Curt Gibby; Bob Holmes; daug68[at]aol.com;
doug Bateman; Erasmo Riojas Subject: Roy Boehm
Be advised that Roy Boehm has passed away. He died with a drink in one hand and
peanuts in the other. Jack Lynch at UDT SEAL Association is requesting personal
stories if you have any.
Thank you for this.
Minor correction for historical accuracy: Hamilton was NOT a Captain, when he
left the Navy to become chief of the maritime operations group of “CIA/SOD”
(“CIA/Special Operations Division”, as it was named at that time). I know
this, because Hamilton recruited me to go do the “Simba War” in the Congo,
on behalf of the maritime operations group (Phil Holtz, plank owner of ST-1 and
I were the only officers at the time with Swift ops experience, and Phil was
Hamilton was my boss and he was superb. It takes a special sort of leader to
make a judgment on someone you barely know, then send him to a location so
remote that it was the last place on earth that the US Gov communicated with via
one-time pads/morse, and then support him without hesitation, as if you had
known him forever. In my experience with him (’65-’67), Hamilton was a
helluva man. Some years later, Hamilton left CIA and re-joined the Navy,
retiring with the rank of Captain. That is the correct sequence.
As to all the unnecessary/unproductive controversy over who did what first, with
respect to the creation of the SEALS, I point out that the times Hamilton
visited me, sitting in the middle of the Congo, over beers, not one time did
Hamilton make any claims about being the
father/creator/prime mover of the Seals, or take any credit, deserved or not, for the way events unfolded. On the contrary, his attitude, invariably, was that he felt fortunate, and very proud, to have been in the right place at the right time, to help move the process along. I say that as one who had an unique opportunity, in unique circumstances, to observe and take the pulse of the man.
From: firstseal [at] aol.com To: docrio45 [at]gmail.com Sent:
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 9:30 AM Subject: About the death of
I am sad and sorry to hear about Jose Taylor's death. May he rest in
peace. He was a good guy and teammate.
I talked to Hoot this AM, Told him about the 0130 piss call from you asking if
he was dead. I don't get up until 0430 so I can be at the gym at 0530 for Monday
to Friday work out.
I guess we are all going slowly through the completion of our tour of duty, ie:
death. I look at death as a new adventure with a don't sweat it attitude. Any
foot prints you may have accidentally made, will be washed away with the next
Life is loaned to you, live it, love it, for the joy of what you love, and whom
you love. Leave your ego, status, and possessions hanging on the worlds quarter
deck because you are going out with what you came here with; hopefully it will
be a positive memory to a few.
In the mean time if you don't use what you got you will lose what you got.
Tu Amigo, Roy Boehm,
Webmaster's NOTE: I agree with Roy's opinions on life and
death. Amen to that. Do you agree with me? after reading this email,
that Roy is not "full of himself?" This Frogman has left
his mark in the Teams by his service to our country and his audacity to go to
the very top of the chain of command and demand the logistics his SEAL Team needed to
succeed in it's missions. His Biography is not the
reason Roy Boehm will be remembered by the Frog Family! His actions
spoke for himself! HooYah Roy, See you someday along with our amigo
10 Jan 2009: From the Assn.: "there will be NO
photo of Roy Boehm, or any other SEAL Team TWO plankowner, on any of the
BLAST issues." In my opinion; I believe Roy would not
want any remarks or actions intended to convey a specific impression or to
attract attention to himself.
I did not get a personal order from him not to honor him on my web site so i
did this tribute in his memory. Doc Rio