Bowlan, David Orval, MSgt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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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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  1944-1945, POW Germany

Staff Sergeant
From Month/Year
May / 1944
To Month/Year
April / 1945
POW Germany Unit Page
Staff Sergeant
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Not Specified
 POW Germany Details

POW Germany
Combat - Other Types
Not Specified
Parent Unit
Prisoner Of War (POW)
Not Specified
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Mar 1, 2015
My Photos For This Unit
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213 Members Also There at Same Time
POW Germany

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Vanaman, Arthur William, Maj Gen, (1917-1954) A11 AAF MOS 9301 Brigadier General
Alkire, Darr Hayes, Brig Gen, (1924-1956) Colonel
Magoffin, Morton David, Col, (1937-1958) Colonel
Malmstrom, Einar Axel, Col, (1929-1954) Colonel
Smart, Jacob Edward, Gen, (1927-1966) Colonel
Spicer, Henry Russell, Maj Gen, (1933-1964) Colonel
Spivey, Delmar Taft, Maj Gen, (1924-1956) Colonel
Aring, Wilbur W., Brig Gen, (1931-1965) Lieutenant Colonel
Clark, Albert Patton, Lt Gen, (1932-1974) Lieutenant Colonel
Duke, Florimond J.D., Col, (1917-1963) Lieutenant Colonel
Gabreski, Francis Stanley, Col, (1940-1967) 01 Lieutenant Colonel
Greening, Charles Ross, Col, (1936-1957) Lieutenant Colonel
Hedlund, Earl Clifford, Lt Gen, (1938-1973) Lieutenant Colonel
Hillman, Donald Edison, Col, (1940-1962) Lieutenant Colonel
Reddell, William Harold, Maj Gen, (1941-1972) Lieutenant Colonel
Woods, Sidney Sterling, Col, (1937-1962) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Lieutenant Colonel
Zemke, Hubert A., Col, (1936-1966) Lieutenant Colonel
Andrew, Stephen Wallace, Lt Col, (1935-1951) Major
Beeson, Duane Willard, Lt Col, (1942-1947) Major
Caplan, Leslie, Maj, (1941-1946) A31 AAF MOS 3162 Major
Cole, Charles Harold, Lt Col, (1938-1966) Major
Egan, John Clarence, Col, (1940-1961) Major
Goodson, James Alexander, Lt Col, (1942-1959) Major
Johnson, Gerald Walter, Lt Gen, (1941-1974) Major
Jones, David Mudgett, Maj Gen, (1930-1973) Major
Koral, Walter Joseph, Lt Col, (1941-1968) Major
O'Connor, Frank Quinn, Col, (1940-1963) Major
Anderson, Sheldon Keith, Capt, (1942-1945) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Bennett, Joseph Houston, Maj, (1941-1946) Captain
Dahlberg, Kenneth Harry, Maj, (1941-1951) Captain
Emmer, Wallace Nathan, Capt, (1941-1945) Captain
Encinias, Miguel, Lt Col, (1939-1971) 112 1121Z Captain
Godfrey, John Trevor, Maj, (1943-1953) Captain
Griffin, Thomas Carson, Maj, (1939-1959) Captain
Krambo, Victor Peter, Capt, (1942-1945) Captain
Lay, Harry T., Capt, (1942-1944) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
McKeon, Joseph Thomas, Lt Col, (1941-1963) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Morris, James Madison, Lt Col, (1942-1969) Captain
Seitzinger, Bernard K., Maj, (1939-1951) Captain
Short, Robert B., Col, (1937-1970) 00 Captain
Starck, Walter Edwin, Col, (1942-1965) A23 AAF MOS 1055 Captain
Williams, Griffith Paul, Maj, (1940-1952) Captain
Winn, Rex Tremaine, Capt, (1942-1945) Captain
Agan, Arthur Columbus, Lt Gen, (1937-1970) First Lieutenant
Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt, (1940-1948) A08 First Lieutenant
Allen, Roy Walter, 1st Lt, (1941-1945) First Lieutenant
Aron, William E., 1st Lt, (1942-1945) A23 AAF MOS 1055 First Lieutenant
Barmore, Robert (Ken), 1st Lt, (1943-1945) A23 AAF MOS 1092 First Lieutenant
Beck, Levitt Clinton, 1st Lt, (1942-1944) First Lieutenant
Benefield, A. L., Lt Col, (1942-1967) A16 First Lieutenant
Berg, Warren H., Capt, (1942-1945) A08 AAF MOS 1034 First Lieutenant
Brown, Kirby Monette, 1st Lt, (1943-1944) First Lieutenant
Candelaria, Richard Gomez, Col, (1943-1964) A08 First Lieutenant
Cravey, John Thomas, Lt Col, (1942-1966) First Lieutenant
Cullerton, William John, Capt, (1942-1945) First Lieutenant
Curry, Loyal Bon, Lt Col, (1941-1961) First Lieutenant
D'Agostino, Louis James, 1st Lt, (1941-1945) First Lieutenant
Dallman, Howard Marvin, Col, (1942-1974) First Lieutenant
Dargue, Donald Salmon, Lt Col, (1939-1966) First Lieutenant

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