Average NCO who apparently spends all his time reading obituaries across the country, sends us a link to the obituary of one Jackie “Jack” McGowan from Kokomo Indiana;
Jackie “Jack” McGowan Sr., 86, Kokomo, passed away at 1:21 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2013, in his home. He was born April 14, 1927 in Blunt County, Ala. to the late William M. and Leona L. (Elkins) McGowan. On Oct. 9, 1946, Jack married Annie B. Todd, and they were happily married until her passing Jan. 30, 2006.
Jack served with the Navy early in life, and was a prisoner of war during World War II. During his military career he earned 17 Bronze Stars, three Silver Stars and several other medals.
OK, if his birthday is correct, he turned 18 three weeks before VE Day and four months before VJ Day. There was a POW named John McGowan in the Navy who was lost in 1942 when Jackie was 15, but John’s remains weren’t recovered. While it’s entirely possible that McGowan enlisted before VJ Day and therefore qualified to be in the VFW, it doubtful that he saw enough action to earn 17 fricken Bronze Stars or be a POW. And yes, it’s certainly possible that he enlisted at 17 or sneaked into the service at 16, but a 16 year-old POW might have been news even then. He’s wearing the POW medal on his ribbon rack, so that’s not his family getting something wrong out of ignorance in the obit. And there are a couple of Vietnamese medals in there, too, but the obit doesn’t say anything about Vietnam.
The 17 Bronze Stars and Silver Stars I’ll chalk up to the family getting his record wrong, but the rest of it just has a funny smell to it.