Master Chief Boesch joined the Navy in 1944 and became one of the first SEALs in 1962. He served two combat tours during the Vietnam War, received honors including a Bronze Star and retired from the Navy in 1990.
Before his retirement, Master Chief Boesch was honored as chief SEAL, or bullfrog. The title marks his time as the longest-serving SEAL still on active duty. He remained involved after he left the Navy, serving on the board of directors of the UDT-SEAL Association.
“He was a legend in the SEAL teams long before ‘Survivor,’ ” Gonzalez said.
At 72, Master Chief Boesch was the oldest contestant ever on the hit CBS reality series, taking third place on its first season, known as “Survivor: Borneo,” in 2000, and becoming a close ally of winner Richard Hatch.
He proved so popular as a no-nonsense but lovable character that he was invited back for the eighth season, “Survivor: All-Stars,” released in 2004.
Rudolph Ernst Boesch was born in Rochester, N.Y., on Jan. 20, 1928. His father was a butcher, and both of his parents were Austrian immigrants. He dropped out of high school at 16 and served in the Merchant Marine before joining the Navy.
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His wife of 53 years, Marjorie Thomas, died in 2008. They had three daughters.
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