Downer, John Walker, COL

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Service Branch
Field Artillery
Last Primary MOS
1193-Field Artillery Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Field Artillery (Officer)
Primary Unit
1917-1923, 1st Field Artillery Brigade/6th Field Artillery (155's)
Service Years
1901 - 1943

Field Artillery

Colonel



Two Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
1881
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Justin Davis to remember Downer, John Walker, COL.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Charleston
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Jan 28, 1977
 
Location of Interment
Spring Grove Cemetery - Cincinnati, Ohio
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Wound Chevron (1917-1932) US Army Retired (Pre-2007)


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Distinguished Service Cross
Awarded for actions during the World War IThe President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Field Artillery) John W. Downer, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 6th Field Artillery, 1st Division, A.E.F., near Beaumont, France, 11 March 1918. While commanding a battalion of artillery in support of an extensive raid, Colonel Downer was severely gassed. Despite his sickness and suffering from pain, he remained at his post, which was subjected to several direct hits, and directed the fire of his battalion. He rendered invaluable aid to the advancing infantry, holding his men at their posts during the intensity of the continual gas bombardment, lasting one entire night.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 32 (1919)
Action Date: 11-Mar-18
Service: Army
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Regiment: 6th Field Artillery
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces

Silver Star Citation
Awarded for actions during the World War IBy direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), Major (Field Artillery) John W. Downer, United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. Major Downer distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with the 6th Field Artillery, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, conducted on the 11th day of March, 1918. During the operations , this officer, although severely gassed, remained at his post, directing the firing of his battalion until so completely overcome that his removal to the hospital became necessarily.

General Orders: Headquarters, 1st Division, A.E.F., General Orders No. 13 (March 16, 1918)
Action Date: 11-Mar-18
Service: Army
Rank: Major
Regiment: 6th Field Artillery
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces

Silver Star Citation
Awarded for actions during the World War IBy direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 9, 1918 (Bul. No. 43, W.D., 1918), Major (Field Artillery) William Bowers, United States Army, is cited by the Commanding General, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, for gallantry in action and a silver star may be placed upon the ribbon of the Victory Medals awarded him. Corporal Bowers distinguished himself by gallantry in action while serving with Battery B, 16th Infantry, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces, in action during World War I. Major Downer answered a call for a barrage in exceptionally quick time and continued in action although subjected to an extremely heavy fire.

General Orders: Headquarters, 1st Division, A.E.F., General Orders No. 13 (March 16, 1918)
Action Date: World War I
Service: Army
Rank: Major
Company: Battery B
Regiment: 16th Infantry
Division: 1st Division, American Expeditionary Forces
   
Other Comments:
U.S. Army World War I Officer, U.S. Olympic Games Participant. Born in Charleston, West Virginia, he was the son of Dr. John Trevor Downer. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1902 and served as an officer in the United States Army until 1943. During World War I, Downer commanded the battalion that fired the first American artillery shell in combat. A member of the U.S. Riding Team at the 7th Olympic games in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium, he was also a representative of the Olympic Committee. Downer had a long and illustrious military and equestrian career. He died in 1977 at the Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington, Virginia when he was 96 years old. An oil painting of him was completed by Asen in 1920 and is displayed at the Preston Library at VMI on the sixth floor. 
   
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 Unit Assignments
13th Coast Artillery 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment1st Infantry Division
1st Division (Big Red One)
  1901-1904, 13th Coast Artillery
  1904-1907, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment/HHC
  1907-1916, 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment
  1916-1917, 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment
  1917-1919, 1st Infantry Division
  1917-1923, 1st Field Artillery Brigade/6th Field Artillery (155's)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1901-1901 Moro Rebellion (Philippines)
  1904-1905 Moro Rebellion (Philippines)
  1917-1918 World War I
  1918-1923 Occupation of Germany, 1919 to 1923
 Colleges Attended 
Virginia Military Institute
  1898-1902, Virginia Military Institute
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