February 28, 2014
Jeremy Boltus, Denver Outlaws/United States Military Academy.
Photo by Jamie Sabau
Jeremy Boltus, Denver Outlaws/United States Military Academy. Photo by Jamie Sabau

Boltus, 2011 Tewaaraton Award Finalist, Deploys to Afghanistan

By Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive

Jeremy Boltus, a 2011 Tewaaraton Award finalist and former MLL rookie of the year, deploys to Afghanistan with the Army on Friday. (Courtesy Jeremy Boltus)

Former Army star and Major League Lacrosse rookie of the year attackman Jeremy Boltus deploys to Afghanistan on Friday with the U.S. Army for an expected nine-month term.

Boltus, a 2011 Tewaaraton Award finalist, is a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division based out of Fort Collins, Colo.

They are deploying to the Kandahar District in the central part of Afghanistan, and Boltus, a first lieutenant, is in charge of a group of 25 who will occupy a M777 howitzer firing point.

"To the lacrosse world, I am really humbled and blessed about everyone who has reached out before I deploy," Boltus said Friday morning. "You really don't understand the lacrosse community until you have spent many years being connected to it from college and into the MLL. The players in the league genuinely care about one another and even people I haven't met have reached out and extended their support."

Boltus, who finished his Army playing career second all-time in program history in points (214) and assists (124), dropped all the way to an eighth-round pick of the then-Hamilton Nationals in 2011, because of concerns about his availability given military commitments. But he was named MLL rookie of the year after tallying 30 points in just 12 games. He was left unprotected in the expansion draft and the Charlotte Hounds, with the second pick in the first round, took him.

Boltus played 11 games that season, oftentimes missing Friday practices because of travel from Oklahoma, where Army artillery officer training was located, before tearing his ACL late in the summer. In the offseason, Charlotte traded him to Denver to get him closer to his next military assignment in Colorado.

"We hated to have to trade him, but you try to do right by the players. It's just part of the game," Charlotte Hounds general manager Wade Leaphart said. "He's a good dude."

Boltus had 10 goals and six assists in 10 games for Denver in 2013, while balancing his military commitments.

"Your military commitment is your first priority," Boltus said in a August 2013 Lacrosse Magazine story about four U.S. Military Academy graduates — Boltus, Garrett Thul, Brendan Buckley and Tim Henderson — on active MLL rosters last summer. "But you also want to be able to commit to your team. Sometimes you have to call and tell them that you just can't make it on a given week. Even though everybody understands, you still hate to do that."

Boltus said Friday he hopes to watch some lacrosse while in Afghanistan, and thanked the fans.

"The fans are awesome," he said. "You guys are the ones taking this game to new heights and everyone who has played this game or currently plays this game appreciates all that you do. Thank you again for all the support. I look forward to watching a few games on the Armed Forces Network when I am down there and will be rooting for all the guys."

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