Cowan, Richard Eller, PFC

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
72 kb
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Last Rank
Private First Class
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
521-Basic Soldier
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1944, 521, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment/HHC
Service Years
1943 - 1944

Private First Class



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

41 kb

Home State
Nebraska
Nebraska
Year of Birth
1922
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Clentis D. Turnbow to remember Cowan, Richard Eller, PFC.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Lincoln
Last Address
Krinkelter Wald, Belgium

Casualty Date
Dec 17, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Belgium
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Wichita Park Cemetery and Mausoleum - Wichita, Kansas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
37.7278, -97.2947

 Official Badges 

Belgian Fourragere


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenThe National Purple Heart Hall of HonorCongressional Medal Of Honor SocietyMedal of Honor
  1944, World War II Fallen
  1944, The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
  1945, Congressional Medal Of Honor Society
  1945, Medal of Honor [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 
 Unit Assignments
1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment
  1943-1944, 521, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment/HHC
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
 Colleges Attended 
Friends UniversityOberlin College
  1940-1942, Friends University
  1942-1943, Oberlin College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Served during World War II in the United States Army as a Private First Class in Company M, 23rd Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery near Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, on December 17, 1944. 


   
Comments/Citation

moh_army.gif (14215 bytes)

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
to

*COWAN, RICHARD ELLER

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company M, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944. Entered service at: Wichita, Kans. Birth: Lincoln, Nebr. G.O. No.: 48, 23 June 1945.

Citation
He was a heavy machinegunner in a section attached to Company I in the vicinity of Krinkelter Wald, Belgium, 17 December 1944, when that company was attacked by a numerically superior force of German infantry and tanks. The first 6 waves of hostile infantrymen were repulsed with heavy casualties, but a seventh drive with tanks killed or wounded all but 3 of his section, leaving Pvt. Cowan to man his gun, supported by only 15 to 20 riflemen of Company I. He maintained his position, holding off the Germans until the rest of the shattered force had set up a new line along a firebreak. Then, unaided, he moved his machinegun and ammunition to the second position. At the approach of a Royal Tiger tank, he held his fire until about 80 enemy infantrymen supporting the tank appeared at a distance of about 150 yards. His first burst killed or wounded about half of these infantrymen. His position was rocked by an 88mm. shell when the tank opened fire, but he continued to man his gun, pouring deadly fire into the Germans when they again advanced. He was barely missed by another shell. Fire from three machineguns and innumerable small arms struck all about him; an enemy rocket shook him badly, but did not drive him from his gun. Infiltration by the enemy had by this time made the position untenable, and the order was given to withdraw. Pvt. Cowan was the last man to leave, voluntarily covering the withdrawal of his remaining comrades. His heroic actions were entirely responsible for allowing the remaining men to retire successfully from the scene of their last-ditch stand.

   
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