General Alexander Russell 'Bud' Bolling passed away on Thursday morning, October 6, 2011 in Dallas, Texas at 89 years of age. He will be interred in historic Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg , Virginia on Saturday, November 12, 2011 starting at 2 PM. He will join his wife and many generations of his family in peace. A memorial service will be held at Christ & Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg. The Golden Brigade Chapter will be well represented at his service.
Alexander Russell Bolling Jr, was born September 11, 1922 in Ft. McPherson, Fulton County, Georgia to the late Lieutenant General Alexander Russell Bolling Sr. and Mary Josephine Moyer Bolling.
His early years were as routine as those of any "army child" can be. With the family moving to a new location at fairly frequent intervals, he attended seven schools before his 1939 graduation from Newton High School in Massachusetts. The following year, he competed for and won a Presidential appointment to West Point and on 1 July 1940, he became a cadet.
World War II erupted during Bolling's sophomore year, and his class was chosen to forego vacations and other absences from the academy so that it could be graduated in three years. Bolling, already fluent in French, was selected as one of fifty cadets to learn the German language – a selection which would stand him in good stead less than four years later when he escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp.
On 1 June 1943, 2d Lieutenant Bolling graduated from West Point. After a few weeks of additional tactical training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he proceeded to Camp Robinson, near Little Rock, Arkansas, to join his first unit, the 66th Infantry Division.
Shortly after his arrival at Camp Robinson, he was introduced to Frances Bigbee, the daughter of the vice-principle of the Little Rock Senior High School. From the moment of their first meeting, Bud and Fran were together whenever the wartime training of his unit was suspended momentarily.
Bud married Frances on 17 December 1945 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Bud and his late wife, Fran are survived by their daughter, Kathryn Bolling Woodward; son and wife , Russ and Elaine Bolling; granddaughter and husband, Karen and Brian Idle; grandson and wife, Russ and Mackenzie Woodward; grandsons Ryan Bolling and Tyler Bolling, granddaughter, Brooke Bolling; and great-grandchildren Ethan and Lauren Idle. He was known affectionately as 'Uncle Bud' by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and will be deeply missed by his family and friends.
He entered the United States MIlitary Academy at West Point in 1940, graduating in 1943, he crossed Utah Beach in France in the summer of 1944 in command of an infantry platoon. Wounded and captured in January 1945, he later escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp and joined the 84th Infantry Division, finishing the war on the Elbe River as a Rifle Company Commander. His military career included assignments in Brazil, in Taiwan, and twice in Vietnam. In 1965, President Johnson requested paratroopers to counter the overwhelming all-out assault of the North Vietnamese Tet offensive. General Westmoreland was given Colonel Alexander R. 'Bud' Bolling, Jr. and his Golden Brigade - the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Under his command, the Golden Brigade took the fight to the enemy 'All The Way' and was victorious in every encounter.
His schooling included the United States Military Academy, the Infantry School where he also served as a Tactics Instructor, the Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He served twice on the Army General Staff and led troops at every level, including command of Ft. Lewis, Washington, home of the 9th Infantry Division. During his combat service with the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam, he was promoted to Brigadier General, and was promoted to Major General within two years.
On 1 September 1973, after more than thirty-three years in uniform, Bud retired from the Army. During his many years of service to his nation, he had earned two Distinguished Service Medals, three Silver Stars for bravery under fire, three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars for valor, eighteen Air Medals, The Purple Heart for wounds received in combat, and numerous other decorations. He was most proud, however, of his parachutist badge and the two combat infantryman's badges, which he often said were the true symbols of his life as a soldier.
Never inactive, he immediately became an executive with a K-Mart Corporation subsidiary and also founded a computer service company for physicians. In 1985, he retired again and devoted his time to writing and publishing, to his church to service in several academic, philanthropic, and patriotic organizations, and to his family. More importantly, whenever a former soldier contacted him for help, he did everything that he could to render assistance.
Services were held at Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia, followed by a gathering of his family, the Bolling Family Association, friends, and former soldiers who served under him. A number of troopers spoke of his bravery and kindness to his men in Vietnam. A dry eye could not be seen in the gathering as he had touched everyone there in some way. He truly led by example and he will never be forgotten by his soldiers. The stories could go on forever because he was that kind of a man. He was finally toasted by his son Russ Bolling and Bob Murrill (1/308) with special glasses made for the occassion.
He was laid to rest in historic Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia in the family mausoleum. The current 82nd Commanding General, MAG James Huggins, directed from his Headquarters in Afghanistan that the Division send Col. Murray as his personal representative, together with a full Honor Guard, Flag Party, Bugler, and Firing Party to assist in the ceremonies. BG (Ret) General Thomas Maffey, former 3rd Brigade Commander persented the folded flag to MG Bolling's daughter, Kathryn. The veterans of the Golden Brigade Chapter provided a full Honor Guard with all 15 unit Guidons and Chapter Colors including Battle Streamers. The old paratroopers looked pretty good for men who are in their 60's and 70's.
Excellent biography - 82nd Airborne Division (Vietnam) Golden Brigade:
The Bolling Family Association website: http://www.bolling.net
Frances Bigbee Bolling
Josephine Bolling Wetherill
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