Bowlan, David Orval, MSgt

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Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 737-Flight Engineer
Last AFSC Group
Air Crew (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1946-1950, Air Force Reserve Command
Service Years
1941 - 1953
Enlisted Collar Insignia
Master Sergeant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A3C Michael S. Bell to remember Bowlan, David Orval, MSgt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Carlisle, AR
Last Address
Redfield, AR

Date of Passing
Feb 29, 2012
Location of Interment
Hamilton Cemetery - Carlisle, Arkansas
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Civil Air PatrolVeterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)
  2012, Civil Air Patrol [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2012, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

David Orval Bowlan, 89, of Redfield, Arkansas, joined the Church Triumphant on February 29, 2012.  Loving father, grandfather, brother, friend, and American hero, David Bowlan was a true example of the strength, tenacity, and fierce loyalty to family and country displayed by “The Greatest Generation.” From the rural farming community of Hamilton (near Carlisle) to a German Stalag, from the skies of Korea to aircraft manufacturing factories in Kansas and Alabama, from days of flying for the Civil Air Patrol in Little Rock to his last years in Redfield where David and his wife Brinda lived next door to their daughter Melissa. David Bowlan lived life with grace, courage, integrity, and humility fitting the true Southern gentleman and patriot his family, colleagues, and friends knew and respected.

At the onset of World War II, 19-year-old David Bowlan enlisted into the Army Air Corps.  He would later remember the day in which he and his fellow Corpsmen were summoned into formation, given new caps, and then dismissed.  This was the day they became members of the United States Air Force.  He was later deployed to Italy.  On his 25th flight over Weinemeustad, Austria as a Tech Sergeant, Top Turret Gunner, and Flight Engineer, his B-24 took enemy anti-aircraft fire.  With the plane ablaze David parachuted to safety as one of three survivors out of a twelve man crew, but was later apprehended by German soldiers.  He was imprisoned in German Stalag IV after being hospitalized for two months in Frankfurt for injuries sustained from the burning plane and subsequent jump.  While imprisoned, a Red Cross parcel would lend him one of his greatest life “treasures,” a pocket Bible.  During the 342 days as a German prisoner of war, David read his Bible from cover to cover. When the little Bible became so tattered it was in danger of falling apart, David sewed the tail of his shirt to the cover to keep the pages together.  He kept the Bible for the remaining years of his life, even carrying it on the forced prisoner, “March Across Germany,” or “Black March.” The prisoners of war were liberated by the English Army on April 16, 1945. 

Following his release from the Air Force, David returned home to farm in Carlisle and later moved to Conway to attend Arkansas State Teachers College (now the University of Central Arkansas ) and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  When the Korean Conflict began he was called up as a Reservist and became a Flight Engineer for planes that carried food and ammunition to the troops on the front line in Korea.  During a routine mission, David’s plane took enemy fire and he was wounded in the arm.  For his distinguished military service, David was awarded three Purple Hearts, an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, an “Areas of Operation” medal (American, European, and VFW), a POW medal, a presidential citation from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a Korean theatre work medal. 

Following the Korean Conflict, David moved to Wichita, Kansas and married Lee Cowan on February 4, 1951.  She preceded him in death on November 29, 1987.  Two sons were born to this marriage, Ronald and Richard.  David continued his commitment to government service by working as a quality assurance specialist in the manufacturing of aircraft for the government. After retirement, David continued to work in the aircraft industry. At the age of 65 he finally decided to earn his pilot’s wings and would later greatly enjoy flying for the Civil Air Patrol and with his son, Rick. 

David became a Mason in 1946 and has been active in the Shrine since 1947.

David married Brinda L. Hawes on July 1, 1989.  They have a daughter, Melissa Vernor, and a son, Richard Crane. In the years following his move to Little Rock and later Redfield, David enjoyed speaking to elementary school children, telling the stories of his service, but more importantly conveying to the youngest generation the importance of freedom.  Interviewed in 2005 after speaking to his daughter’s first grade class, David remarked, “I hope the children will consider every week ‘Freedom Week’ in this wonderful country in which we live.” After his visit that day, and the visits that would come, many children (and now adults) may do just that.

Survivors include his wife, Brinda, of the home; three sons, Ronald E. Bowlan (Dolores) of Harleysville, PA, Richard K. Bowlan (Debra) of Alachua, FL, and Richard E. Crane (Misty) of Rose Bud, AR; daughter, Melissa Vernor (Jeff) of Redfield; three grandchildren, Ashley Crane, Gabi Vernor, and Logan Crane; and sister, Thelma Bowlan Miller of Troy, TN. 

David was preceded in death by wife, Lee Bowlan; his parents, Atlee B. and Olive Bowlan; and brother, T.B. Bowlan.

Visitation will be Friday, from 5-8 p.m. at Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Home in Pine Bluff.  The funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Hamilton Baptist Church (south of Carlisle) with Rev. Donald Lee Ruffin, officiating. Interment will follow at Hamilton Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the David O. Bowlan Memorial Scholarship Fund, Pine Bluff National Bank, Attn: Janice Acosta, P.O. box 7878, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71611.

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  1946-1950, Air Force Reserve Command
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Air Force Reserve Command Unit Page
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 Air Force Reserve Command Details

Air Force Reserve Command
The Air Force Reserve Command is a Major Command of the United States Air Force, with its headquarters stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. It is the federally controlled Air Reserve Component of the U.S. Air Force, consisting of duly appointed commissioned officers and enlisted airmen.
AFRC supports the Air Force mission to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of air and space by supporting Global Engagement. AFRC also plays an integral role in the day-to-day Air Force mission and is not strictly a force held in reserve for possible war or contingency operations.

The federal reserve component of the United States Air Force, AFRC has approximately 450 aircraft assigned for which it has sole control. as well as access to several hundred additional active duty USAF aircraft via AFRC "Associate" wings that are collocated with active duty Air Force wings, sharing access to those aircraft.. The inventory includes the latest, most capable models of aircraft that are also assigned to the active-duty U.S. Air Force. On any given day, 99 percent of AFRC's aircraft are mission-ready and able to deploy within 72 hours.

The purpose of the Air Force Reserve as derived from Title 10 United States Code is to:
Provide combat-ready units and individuals for active duty whenever there are not enough trained units and people in the Regular component of the Air Force to perform any national security mission.

HQ/ Command Element
Parent Unit
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Last Updated: Aug 30, 2018
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Air Force Reserve Command

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Baird, Frank Edward, Maj, (1942-1972) [Other Service Rank]
Bentsen, Lloyd Millard, Col, (1942-1962) [Other Service Rank]
Bertrandias, Victor Emile, Maj Gen, (1917-1955) [Other Service Rank]
Boley, Lyle T., Maj, (1939-1959) [Other Service Rank]
Champlin, Fredric Fay, Lt Col, (1940-1974) [Other Service Rank]
Feuerriegel, Karl Theodore, Col, (1942-1974) [Other Service Rank]
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Holloman, William Hugo, Lt Col, (1943-1972) [Other Service Rank]
Hopkins, James Richard, Col, (1941-1974) [Other Service Rank]
Karibo, John Michael, Brig Gen, (1948-1981) A01 AAF MOS 747 [Other Service Rank]
Knudsen, Arthur J., Lt Col, (1943-1966) [Other Service Rank]
Manske, Joseph William, Col, (1939-1973) 00 [Other Service Rank]
Mrizek, Emil August, Lt Col, (1935-1955) [Other Service Rank]
Nirmaier, Mary Louise Burch, Capt, (1944-1967) [Other Service Rank]
O'Neill, Eugene Walter, Col, (1941-1964) 00 [Other Service Rank]
Peckham, Walter Lamar, Maj, (1942-1962) [Other Service Rank]
Salan, Morton Lee, Maj, (1941-1949) [Other Service Rank]
White, Robert Michael, Maj Gen, (1942-1981) [Other Service Rank]
Zaniewski, Felix J., Brig Gen, (1942-1979) [Other Service Rank]
Alison, John Richardson, Maj Gen, (1935-1972) 200 2 Major General
Bennett, John Mirza, Maj Gen, (1936-1960) Major General
Cannon, Howard Walter, Maj Gen, (1940-1970) 66 00066 Major General
Howard, James Howell, Brig Gen, (1937-1966) 200 2 Brigadier General
Adams, Burnell William, Col, (1941-1969) Colonel
Aldrin, Edwin Eugene, Col, (1917-1956) Colonel
Beaver, Wilfred, Col, (1942-1957) Colonel
Cochran, Jacqueline, Col, (1942-1970) Colonel
Coffey, Robert Lewis, Col, (1939-1949) Colonel
Cohen, Sydney M., Col, (1942-1980) Colonel
Coler, Eugene Seeley, Col, (1942-1953) Colonel
Grubaugh, Neal, Col, (1942-1982) Colonel
Heller, William Charles, Col, (1943-1980) 11 Colonel
Lay, Beirne, Col, (1932-1952) Colonel
Morgan, Robert Knight, Col, (1941-1960) 11 Colonel
Wilder, Rodney Ross, Col, (1940-1962) 260 26 Colonel
Woods, Sidney Sterling, Col, (1937-1962) Colonel
Callaway, Raymond Leonard, Lt Col, (1941-1967) 102 1021A Lieutenant Colonel
Campbell, Clayton John, Lt Col, (1940-1963) 153 1531A Lieutenant Colonel
Conger, Paul Albert, Lt Col, (1941-1958) Lieutenant Colonel
Fillingame, Lyman Carlton, Lt Col, (1943-1963) Lieutenant Colonel
Gladen, Cyrus Raymond, Lt Col, (1940-1968) 11 Lieutenant Colonel
Goodson, James Alexander, Lt Col, (1942-1959) 00 Lieutenant Colonel
Horne, Francis Willard, Lt Col, (1942-1971) 102 1021A Lieutenant Colonel
Johnson, Robert Samuel, Lt Col, (1941-1962) Lieutenant Colonel
Joyce, Richard Outcalt, Lt Col, (1937-1955) 102 1021A Lieutenant Colonel
Kinnard, Claiborne Holmes, Col, (1938-1966) Lieutenant Colonel
Love, Nancy, Lt Col, (1942-1952) Lieutenant Colonel
Macia, James Herbert, Col, (1940-1973) Lieutenant Colonel
Murphy, John Byrd, Col, (1939-1964) Lieutenant Colonel
Muse, Charles Amacie, Lt Col, (1943-1975) 152 1525A Lieutenant Colonel
Peoples, Henry R., Lt Col, (1943-1963) 102 1021A Lieutenant Colonel
Schuh, Duerr H., Lt Col, (1942-1968) Lieutenant Colonel
Shaw, Donald Edwin, Lt Col, (1943-1984) 11 Lieutenant Colonel
Stanborough, Zachariah T., Lt Col, (1942-1975) Lieutenant Colonel
Turner, David, Lt Col Lieutenant Colonel
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