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Otto A. Boehler

Philippine American War


Otto A. Boehler was born on Oct. 15, 1873, in Germany. After successfully traveling to America, he practiced carpentry. In his twenties, he joined the US Army as a private to fight in the Philippine-American War (Feb. 4, 1899 – July 2, 1902). A part of the 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry, Boehler was hand-picked to join a special task group called “Young’s Scouts”.

This group, under Captain William E. Birkhimer, was tasked with being at the head of the American column while moving in enemy-occupied zones. On May 16, 1899, Young’s Scouts spotted a group of Filipino soldiers burning a strategically important bridge over the Rio Grande de Pampanga, in an attempt to stop the advancing American forces. 19 out of 22 of Young’s Scouts began firing on the 600
entrenched Filipino force providing covering fire for Boehler, who decided to push ahead with
two other men to put out the fires.

Boehler’s death-defying charge not only saved the bridge but routed the opposing 600 Filipinos.
Once the war was over, Boehler returned to America where he married Bernardia Smart in 1902, and had three children: Charles, Elizabeth, and Fredrick.

For his outstanding bravery, Otto Boehler was awarded the Medal of Honor on May 17, 1906. He died four years later on Oct. 15, 1910. Otto Boehler’s memory lives on in his loved ones.

Written by Jon Hutton

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