Sergeant Jeff Bohnstedt
by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
(the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)
Jeffrey John-Allen Bohnstedt, United States Marine Corps, c 1991-1992
The United States Marine Corps
There are good soldiers, and then there are exceptional soldiers. Jeffrey John-Allen Bohnstedt was one of the exceptional ones. Jeff was born in 1970 in Lancaster California, the son of Freddie Allen Bohnstedt. Jeff came from a family with a history of military service. Every one of Jeff's uncles served in the military, beginning with Jesse Bohnstedt who served in the Marine Corps in 1953-1955. The next was Glen, who served with the Marine Corps about 1956-1957, and then later in the the Navy in 1958-1962. Jeff's uncle Carl served in the Army in 1962-1966 and fought in Vietnam. The youngest of these brothers was Freddie, Jeff's father, who served in the Army in 1968-1970 and, like Carl, fought in Vietnam. Later, Freddie served in the Marine Corps in 1973-1977. But Freddie's son, Jeff, did tours of duty, in not just two, but three armed services; the United States Marine Corps, the National Guard, and the United States Army.
When Jeff was in his early twenties he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Jeff was assigned to a unit that undertook classified military operations in the Persian Gulf area in the early 1990's. At the time of this writing Jeff was still not at liberty to discuss certain activities or even his unit during his time with the Corps while in Iraq and Kuwait, except to say that he was classified as an "Expert Marksman". Jeff's tour of duty with Marines lasted during the period 1990-1994.
One of Jeff's duties which distinguishes him, and which can be discussed here, was his guard duty at the White House in Washington D.C. in 1993. During Jeff's off-duty hours he served as a volunteer firefighter in Stafford County Virginia, near Washington D.C.
1. California National Guard Field Artillery Unit 1-144 during live fire excecises in the California desert
2. CNG FA 1-144 unit emblem
Jeff's next term of service was with the California National Guard in 1994-1995, where he served with the 1-144th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Battalion.
The United States Army and the The Iraq Campaign
In 1997 Jeff enlisted in the United States Army and was assigned to the famed 101st Airborne Division, serving with 3rd Battalion until 2001. In 2001 he was transferred to the 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Battalion in Korea with the defensive force there.
In 2002 Jeff was transferred again, back into the 101st Airborne, 3rd Battalion. The next year U.S. Forces began to prepare for an invasion of Iraq. This division made the news just before the invasion began. As the men of the 101st were preparing for the invasion soon to come, a fellow soldier who had converted to Islam threw several grenades into some of the tents at their temporary base, "Camp Pennsylvania", killing one and seriously wounding several others. According to Jeff, he was in a tent nearby when the attack occurred.
1. Soldiers of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division during live fire exercises, Korea
2. Airborne soldiers treat wounded at Camp Pennsylvania, Southern Iraq after grenade attack
The 101st Airborne first went into action in the Second World War during Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion. During the Vietnam War the 101st Airborne Division became experts in helicopter warfare. In the mid-1970's the division's role as airborne troops was officially converted from paratroops to a role specializing in air assault using a variety of helicopters.
On March 23 of 2003 the 101st Airborne Division conducted the longest combat air assault in division history, flying 250 miles deep into Iraq, with Specialist Jeff Bohnstedt serving as a door gunner on a Blackhawk helicopter. The 101st secured a forward staging area just south of Najaf, and then launched air attacks using Apache helicopters on targets to the north.
1. A typical Blackhawk Helicopter with door gunner (not Jeff) in Iraq.
2. Gunner's view of the Iraq countryside
Several days later the 101st received orders to move north to Mosul in order to assist in rebuilding Iraq. Troops from the 101st helped rebuild hundreds of schools, reorganize banking and court systems, fixed water supplies, cleaned up oil spills, refurbished an airport and trained Iraqi police officers. Jeff's service with the 101st took him into Mosul, Telfar, Rabia, and Baghdad during the Iraq campaign.
1. Video: about 1 minute 50 seconds, (mp4). This video consists of segments extracted from a much longer video of scenes of the 101st Airborne Division in action during the invasion of Iraq. Jeff Bohnstedt appears (as above) about 40 seconds into this video manning the door gun on the right side of his Blackhawk Helicopter.
2. Cover of 101st Airborne Division, by Robert Jones.
The actions of the 101st from D-Day throughout the Second World War were immortalized in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers", directed by Steven Spielberg. The lifelong loyalty of the soldiers of the 101st Airborne to each other is a culture that still exists to this day, and is felt by it's members, past and present. This sense of brotherhood can be seen in "101st Airborne Division", a 328 page book written and edited by Robert Jones in 1997. The book presents stories from the 101st Airborne Division's history, and gives a complete index of members of the 101st, including Jeffrey J. Bohnstedt, from it's first activation in the Second World War up to 1997.
1. Jeff Bohnstedt with Military Police in Vilseck, Germany, 2004
2. 440th MP Battalion, Kuwait, 2005. Jeff Bohnstedt is in the back row, third from the viewers right
When Jeff's tour of duty with the 101st was finished in 2004 he went to the U.S. Army reserves, first with the 430th Military Police Battalion, and then with the 440th Military Police Battalion. The next year Jeff's M.P. unit was activated and sent to Kuwait. In 2006 Jeff was promoted to Sergeant.
Specialist Jeff Bohnstedt with his wife, Paula (left) on their wedding day. L-R: Paula, Jackie (Paula's daughter), Jeff Bohnstedt.
During Jeff's extensive military career Jeff earned a number of awards and decorations, including, but not limited to, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, for service in both the Marine Corps and Army during three tours of duty in the Middle East, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and the Expeditionary Global War on Terror Medal, both for service in the Iraq Campaign, the Army Achievement Medal, earned in Korea, the Air Medal for his role as a helicopter crewman, and the Army Commendation Medal.
Most recently Jeff was re-tasked as a weapons specialist and trainer, and in Autumn 2007 was re-deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division.
- Jones, Robert. 101st Airborne Division, Screaming Eagles, 2nd Edition. Turner Publishing Company. 1997. (ISBN 1563111446)
3-20 / The Descendants of Charles D. Bohnstedt in Arkansas and California
3-37 / Genealogy 3-3-9: America; Arkansas, California, Oklahoma and Iowa
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