Joseph E. Bugar, Jr. was born on September 9, 1948 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He had had three siblings..
Joseph was an avid golfer and member of the Scott High Schoo and won the ChestMont League Individual Gold Championship during his senior year in 1966. He also served as captain of the golf team that year. When Joseph wasn't golfing, he was working at the Coatesville Country Club’s clubhouse.
After completing studies at West Chester State College, Joseph entered the Army in October, 1968. He completed basic training at Fort Bragg, SC and advanced individual training at Fort Polk, LA.
On April 16, 1969, Joseph received orders to report to the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. He was assigned to Company “B” which conducted operations in the Rach Kien area, approximately 10 miles south of Saigon in Long An Province.