BOWDEN, JOHN B., Staff Sergeant, # 33165137, USAAF

 

John Bartley Bowden was born 10 January 1913 in Searights, Fayette, Pennsylvania, to Eli Charles Bowden (1875-1946) and Sarah Cloressa “Sadie” (Baker) Bowden (1879-1926). He had several siblings, including Lawrence Edward Bowden (1897-1973), Ruth D. Bowden (1900-1977), Fredora Marion Bowden (1902-1975), Leslie M. Bowden (1904-    ), Louis Malcolm Bowden (1906-1976), Harry Bowden (1908-1923), Thomas Wilson Bowden (1910-1975), Jessie Allen Bowden (1915-1991), Orion Ulysses Bowden (1917-1982), Earle F. Bowden (1919-1970) and Doris Irene Bowden (1921-    ). In 1932 he graduated from Greensburg High School, Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania.

 

He was married to Grace Elizabeth Bowden in 1937 and they resided, upon his registration in 1940 for the WW II draft, in Uniontown, Fayette, Pennsylvania. He described himself as 5’5”, 130 lbs, with brown hair and gray eyes. He enlisted on 21 March 1942, in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. After his training on the maintenance of the engines and airframe of the B-25 Mitchell, he earned his crewman wings and qualified as an engineer on the B-25. On 22 February 1944, B-25G, # 42-64779, assigned to the 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, departed the 10th Air Force base at Kurmitola, India, on a combat mission of targets of opportunity on the railway south of Monywa, Burma. At 1145 hours, it was hit by anti-aircraft fire, burst into flames, and was seen to crash. All aboard were killed. He is remembered in a memorial at the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart with a second Purple Heart. The family placed a memorial marker in the Saint Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Trauger, Pennsylvania.

 

He had brothers who served in WW II as well, including (as of 9 April 1943), Private Fred Bowden, Keesler Field, Mississippi, Sergeant Louis M. Bowden, in Texas, and Private Earle F. Bowden, North Africa. Fred Bowden was born 28 December 1902 and served in the U.S. Army from 12 August 1942 to 10 April 1943. He died 18 June 1975. Louis M. Bowden, born 4 November 1906, enlisted the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina, on 7 December 1941 and served to 1 November 1959. He died 1 May 1976, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A community service marker to show respect to Pennsylavians who served was erected in August 1942 and include the names Louis M. Bowden and Earle F. Bowden. Earle F. Bowden, born 15 February 1919, enlisted on 24 July 1941 at Fort Meade, Maryland. He was awarded a Purple Heart. He died 14 May 1970.