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Stephen L. Fowler

CM Sgt (USAF Ret) Stephen L. Fowler passed away unexpectedly at his home in San Antonio, Texas February 6, 2018. He was recovering uneventfully at home from a leg fracture and both he and his family were looking forward to celebrating his 98th Birthday on May 21. He was interred on February 27 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas with Military Honors. Chief Fowler was one of a dwindling number of remaining WWII Veterans.
Chief Fowler was born in Gainesville, Texas May 21, 1920 to Stephen L. and Sadie M. Fowler (Grant) and grew up in the Gainesville, Whitesboro, and Pilot Point area. He often reminisced of his service in the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) from January to December 1939. He often told of his building the rock fireplace in the golf club house at TWU. His two eldest sons played the TWU course many times while students at NTSU but were unaware of their father building the fireplace. After discharge from the CCC he purchased a small farm in the Pilot Point area and was actively farming when he was drafted into the US Army in early 1944.
He was initially assigned to the U.S. Army Combat Infantry in Germany, Eight Infantry Division, 28th Infantry Regiment, First Battalion, Company B in January 1944 as a Private First-Class Rifleman where he was in combat until the end of WWII in Europe. He was wounded by sniper fire soon after arrival at Warsaw, Germany while on a search-and-destroy patrol but recovered sufficiently to allow him to remain in Theater. Toward the end of the war in Europe, Chief Fowler said that one of the biggest problems they had was managing the large numbers of German soldiers surrendering up to 3,000 plus in one day. On June 29, 1945 Fowler departed Le Havre, France to the United States arriving back in Newport News, Virginia July 6, 1945. After 30 Days of convalescence leave was reassigned to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to receive additional training for the planned invasion of Japan. History shows this did not happen, and he was discharged from active duty and returned to his family in Whitesboro, Texas in early 1946. In 1947 he returned to active duty in the newly formed United States Air Force where he was assigned as a mechanic in the motor pool and subsequently was assigned as an acting Squadron First Sergeant. He remained in the First Sergeant Career Field until his retirement in 1971. He served a tour in Korea during the Korean War and two tours in South East Asia at Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, and a second tour at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand during the South East Asia Conflict.
His awards and decorations include:
U.S. Army Battle Stars with one Bronze and five Silver Oak Leaf Clusters; WWII Victory Medal; Army of Occupation Medal Germany; American Campaign Medal; Korean Service Medal; European- Africa-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Battle Star; United Nations Service Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak leaf Clusters; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; National defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with V device for Valor; Vietnam Service Medal; Air Force Longevity Service Award with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one Bronze Star; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.
Chief Fowler often said the highlight of his military career was having served in the South East Asia Theater at the same time in 1970-71 as his two eldest sons, Stephen (then a Capt. in the USAF), and second Eldest Son Donald (then a USAF First Lt.). Chief Fowler and Son Stephen were both assigned at the same time to Nakhon Phanom AFB where Stephen became the Acting Commander of the Headquarters Squadron, and Chief Fowler was the First Sergeant. Don managed to get a couple of military hops from his base at Pleiku, Vietnam to Nakhon Phanom AFB, and the three Fowlers spent Christmas and New Year's Day together.
He is survived by his Eldest Son, Stephen, Lt Col USAF (Ret), and his wife Cristine, Lincoln, CA, and Middle Son Donald, Lt Col USAF (Ret), and his wife Diane, New Braunfels, Texas, former Wife Marcia Ann Fowler, San Antonio and their oldest daughter Laura Craft, and Husband Todd, of Biloxi, Mississippi, and their Youngest Son Les of the home in San Antonio, former wife Doris Wilson, San Marcos, Texas and numerous Grandchildren, Nephews, Nieces and Cousins. He was predeceased by his Sisters Sadie May Vaughn, Tioga, Texas, and Ada Grace Cecil, Garber, Oklahoma, Youngest daughter, Stephanie, daughter of Marcia Ann and Stephen, of San Antonio, his former wife Virginia Whitten Draper, of Whitesboro and their Son Jimmy Tom Fowler, San Diego, Calif.

Published in Auburn Journal on May 17, 2018
bullet Bronze Star bullet Korean War bullet U.S. Air Force bullet U.S. Army