Parkite braces for his son to enter war zone | ParkRecord.com

Parkite braces for his son to enter war zone

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Parkite Charles Bova was against the military draft of the 1960s.

But today his youngest son sits on the verge of deployment to Iraq and a draft would provide the politicians who began the "immoral war" a reality check, the 58-year-old physician said in an interview at his Park Meadows home.

"I thought we would have learned from Vietnam that war is a very serious thing and you don’t go into it half-cocked," Bova said, adding that college deferments allowed him to skirt the Vietnam-era draft. "One of the problems is that the administration does not have any sons and daughters who are serving."

His son, 20-year-old Chris Bova, is slated to be in Park City for Christmas. In April, the Park City High School graduate is scheduled to arrive in Iraq with a Marine Corps reconnaissance unit.

"I grew up during Vietnam and the population went against the war," Charles Bova said. "We were trying to protest the war and stop it and the military didn’t have a good connotation for kids my age."

But the Sept. 11 attacks greatly impacted his son’s generation, explained the doctor.

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"An adult can put 9/11 in context with other events," Bova said. "They felt attacked."

He couldn’t dissuade his son from enlisting in the Marines.

"Up until that decision was made, I was going to try to talk him out of it," Bova said. "I challenged him in a boxing ring. I think it would have been tough. I was just counting on getting a good sucker punch in."

In 2003, Chris Bova joined the Marine Corps on his 18th birthday.

"He’s done extremely well," Bova said as his son trained this week in the jungles of Okinawa, Japan. "I think he has really shown he’s a leader, he’s smart and he’s very physical."

The return of his son to Park City Sunday will be "bitter sweet," Bova said as he examined photographs of his boy at Camp Pendleton and in the Philippines.

"Nobody wants to sacrifice their son or daughter in what they consider an unjust war," the father said.

Bova chose to enlist in the Marines against the wishes of his parents.

"Everybody was pushing for him not to do it," step-mom Jan Watts, 55, said. "This was his choice to do this and he is very well prepared."

Still, under the Bush administration Americans were misdirected, Charles said.

"There are so many other parents and families that are going through the same thing," he lamented. "I was not pro-military. But I’m now pro-military. Really our family is serving through Chris."

The military training rivals the rigors of medical school, Bova explained, adding that "he’s going to be in harm’s way."

"I was amazed at how tough their training is," he said. "Our children definitely teach us a lot. I grew up in different times. You were either in school or you were in Saigon."

"When Chris gets deployed to Iraq I want many people to know about him and hold him in their hearts and prayers," Charles said. "I want him to know that he’s loved and not to give up and make it back."