Thomas W. Fowler

Last updated
Thomas Weldon Fowler
MOH Thomas W. Fowler.JPG
Thomas Weldon Fowler and a specimen Medal of Honor on display at Texas A&M University [1]
Born(1921-10-31)October 31, 1921
Wichita Falls, Texas
DiedJune 3, 1944(1944-06-03) (aged 22)
Carano, Italy
Place of burial
Crestview Memorial Park, Wichita Falls, Texas
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1943 - 1944
Rank Second Lieutenant
Unit 191st Tank Battalion (United States)
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart

Thomas Weldon Fowler (October 31, 1921 June 3, 1944) was a student of the Texas A&M University, a United States Army officer, and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Texas A&M University Public research university in College Station, Texas, United States

Texas A&M University is a public research university founded in 1876 and located in College Station, Texas. In 1948, Texas A&M University became the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. As of 2017, Texas A&M's student body is the largest in Texas and the second largest in the United States. Texas A&M's designation as a land, sea, and space grant institution–the only university in Texas to hold all three designations–reflects a range of research with ongoing projects funded by organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research. In 2001, Texas A&M was inducted as a member of the Association of American Universities. The school's students, alumni—over 450,000 strong—and sports teams are known as Aggies. The Texas A&M Aggies athletes compete in 18 varsity sports as a member of the Southeastern Conference.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Medal of Honor United States of Americas highest military honor

The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress. Because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is often referred to informally as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor". Within the United States Code the medal is referred to as the "Medal of Honor", and less frequently as "Congressional Medal of Honor". U.S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, and while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are "MOH" and "MH".

Contents

Fowler joined the Army from his birth city of Wichita Falls, Texas in January 1943, [2] and by May 23, 1944 was serving as a Second Lieutenant in the 191st Tank Battalion. On that day, he led a combined armor-infantry attack near Carano in the Anzio Beachhead Italy. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on October 28, 1944, for his actions during the battle near Carano.

Wichita Falls, Texas City in Texas, United States

Wichita Falls is a city in and the county seat of Wichita County, Texas, United States. It is the principal city of the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Archer, Clay, and Wichita Counties. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 104,553, making it the 38th-most populous city in Texas. In addition, its central business district is 5 miles (8 km) from Sheppard Air Force Base, which is home to the Air Force's largest technical training wing and the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, the world's only multinationally staffed and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for both USAF and NATO.

Infantry military personnel who travel and fight on foot

Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers or infanteers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Carano Comune in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy

Carano is a comune (municipality) in Trentino in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Trento.

Thomas Weldon Fowler, aged 22 at his death, was buried in Crestview Memorial Park in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas, [3] where American Legion Post 169 is named in his honor.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 1st Armored Division. Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, May 23, 1944. Entered service at: Wichita Falls, Tex. Birth: Wichita Falls, Tex. G.O. No.: 84, October 28, 1944.

Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, on 23 May 1944, in the vicinity of Carano, Italy. In the midst of a full-scale armored-infantry attack, 2d Lt. Fowler, while on foot, came upon 2 completely disorganized infantry platoons held up in their advance by an enemy minefield. Although a tank officer, he immediately reorganized the infantry. He then made a personal reconnaissance through the minefield, clearing a path as he went, by lifting the antipersonnel mines out of the ground with his hands. After he had gone through the 75-yard belt of deadly explosives, he returned to the infantry and led them through the minefield, a squad at a time. As they deployed, 2d Lt. Fowler, despite small arms fire and the constant danger of antipersonnel mines, made a reconnaissance into enemy territory in search of a route to continue the advance. He then returned through the minefield and, on foot, he led the tanks through the mines into a position from which they could best support the infantry. Acting as scout 300 yards in front of the infantry, he led the 2 platoons forward until he had gained his objective, where he came upon several dug-in enemy infantrymen. Having taken them by surprise, 2d Lt. Fowler dragged them out of their foxholes and sent them to the rear; twice, when they resisted, he threw hand grenades into their dugouts. Realizing that a dangerous gap existed between his company and the unit to his right, 2d Lt. Fowler decided to continue his advance until the gap was filled. He reconnoitered to his front, brought the infantry into position where they dug in and, under heavy mortar and small arms fire, brought his tanks forward. A few minutes later, the enemy began an armored counterattack. Several Mark Vl tanks fired their cannons directly on 2d Lt. Fowler's position. One of his tanks was set afire. With utter disregard for his own life, with shells bursting near him, he ran directly into the enemy tank fire to reach the burning vehicle. For a half-hour, under intense strafing from the advancing tanks, although all other elements had withdrawn, he remained in his forward position, attempting to save the lives of the wounded tank crew. Only when the enemy tanks had almost overrun him, did he withdraw a short distance where he personally rendered first aid to 9 wounded infantrymen in the midst of the relentless incoming fire. 2d Lt. Fowler's courage, his ability to estimate the situation and to recognize his full responsibility as an officer in the Army of the United States, exemplify the high traditions of the military service for which he later gave his life. [4]

See also

Notes

  1. Memorial Student Center Archived 2004-08-25 at the Wayback Machine Aggie Traditions Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. WWII Army Enlistment Records
  3. "Thomas W. Fowler". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave . Retrieved December 5, 2007.
  4. "Medal of Honor recipients - World War II (A–F)". Medal of Honor citations. United States Army Center of Military History. 2004-09-01. Retrieved December 5, 2007.

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References

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Find a Grave is an American website that allows the public to search and add to an online database of cemetery records. It is owned by Ancestry.com.

United States Army Center of Military History directorate inside the United States Army

The United States Army Center of Military History (CMH) is a directorate within TRADOC. The Institute of Heraldry remains within the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The center is responsible for the appropriate use of history and military records throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the army in both peace and war, while advising the army staff on historical matters. CMH is the flagship organization leading the Army Historical Program.