COLLEGE PARK – Spc. Samuel M. Boswell had a plan for his future: He wanted to attend college, possibly become an engineer. He joined the National Guard as a stepping stone – a chance to explore his adventurous side.
“He loved life, adventure and fun,” said sister Annette Shymansky, “and this was a part of it. It was a way for him to be wild,” and to earn some college money as well.
Boswell’s plans were snuffed out Oct. 14 in Al Taji, Iraq, when an 18-wheel tractor trailer accidentally hit the back of his Humvee, starting a fire and causing ammunition to detonate, according to Maj. Charles S. Kohler, spokesman for the Maryland National Guard.
Boswell, 20, of Fulton, died alongside two other Maryland Army National Guardsmen, Sgt. Brian R. Conner, 36, and Spc. Bernard L. Ceo, 23.
The three men were part of the 243rd Engineer Company based at Lt. Col. Melvin H. Cade Armory in West Baltimore. It was assigned to provide security for convoys transporting supplies, Kohler said.
Boswell had enlisted in the National Guard after graduating in 2003 from River Hill High School in Clarksville, Shymansky said. She said those who knew Boswell would call him fun-loving and jovial.
“He was never down,” Shymansky said. “He always lifted people’s spirits.”
He was the clown of their family, which included eight children in all, she said.
“In 95 percent of the pictures growing up through the years, he’s got the bunny fingers up, and he’s got this huge grin,” she said.
Shymansky said her brother had lots of friends.
“He was adorable and sensitive and chicks loved it,” she said. “All the nieces and nephews clung to him like he was the second coming.”
Don White, assistant principal at River Hill High School, said Boswell was a good student and a nice kid.
“He was kind of quiet, but had a great smile, one of the best smiles I’ve ever seen on any student,” he said.
Scott Pfeifer, former principal of River Hill and now principal of Centennial High School in Ellicott City, said Boswell was popular and social during his high school years.
And, he said, “He was honest to a fault.”