Cowan, Kay Kipling, COL

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
5505-Information Officer
Last MOS Group
Adjutant General (Officer)
Primary Unit
1967-1968, American Forces Information Service
Service Years
1938 - 1968

Infantry

Colonel



Five Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

3 kb

Home State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Year of Birth
1914
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Cowan, Kay Kipling, COL USA(Ret).
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Alexandria, VA
Last Address
Altus, OK

Date of Passing
Aug 29, 2005
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Sec: 64, Site: 4239

 Official Badges 

Office of Secretary of Defense Belgian Fourragere Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


Kay Kipling Cowan, 91, a retired Army Colonel and former military assistant to Senator Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), died Aug. 29 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital of respiratory arrest and complications of bladder cancer. He was a longtime Alexandria resident.


Colonel Cowan was born in Altus, Oklahoma, the youngest of nine children. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) in 1938 and was commissioned in the Army Reserve. He received a bachelor's degree in 1947 and a master's degree in 1948, both in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
 
In 1938, he became a reporter and sports editor for the Altus Times-Democrat, a newspaper he had delivered on horseback as a boy. He stayed at the Times-Democrat until June 1941, when he enlisted in the Army. After basic training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, he underwent ski training in Wisconsin.


A company commander, he led his unit into combat as part of the Normandy invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Wounded six days later while fighting in the French hedgerows, he returned in August to command B Company of the 2nd Division, 23rd Infantry, at Brest, France. He recalled the early days of the Battle of the Bulge in written accounts for his children: "My company was in fierce fights for several days holding off several German attacks, including tanks, with practically no antitank weapons, no artillery support and no air support -- cold, wet and snowing!"


Colonel Cowan stayed in the Army after the war and served as a military observer supporting the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. After completing advanced infantry and paratrooper training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1952, at 38, he served as secretary of the general staff at 1st Army headquarters on Governor's Island in New York. He also was chief of the public affairs division in Germany and commanding officer of the 2nd Battle Group, based in Bamberg, Germany.


He was deputy director of Armed Forces Radio and Television Service from 1962 to 1967 and deputy director of the Office of Information in the office of the secretary of defense in 1967-68. He retired in 1968.


His military awards included the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart and two awards of the Bronze Star.


In 1968, he became military assistant to Thurmond, a position that allowed him to combine his devotion to the Army and concern for the welfare of its soldiers with his interest in journalism. During more than two decades on the senator's staff, he helped write legislation that benefited service personnel, including the Survivor Benefit Plan. He retired again in 1991.


Colonel Cowan was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria. His pastimes included tennis, golf and bridge.


Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Maxine E. Cowan of Alexandria; four children, Nancy C. Joseph of San Antonio, Carol A. Daly of North Augusta, S.C., Carmen J. Fielding of Fairfax City and Mark S. Cowan of Columbia, S.C.; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

   
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Operation Overlord/D-Day Beach Landings - Operation Neptune
From Month/Year
June / 1944
To Month/Year
June / 1944

Description
The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.

Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, but postponing would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days in each month were deemed suitable. Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France starting at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beach. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialised tanks.

The Allies failed to achieve all of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, and Caen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five bridgeheads were not connected until 12 June. However, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day were around 1,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area host many visitors each year.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
June / 1944
To Month/Year
June / 1944
 
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  328 Also There at This Battle:
  • Accattato, Rocco, PFC, (1943-1945)
  • Amerman, Walter G., CPT
  • Beck, Carl, M/Sgt, (1942-1963)
  • Bolling, Alexander Russell, MG, (1939-1973)
  • Brooks, Elton E., 1LT
  • Brown (MOH), Robert Evan, CPT, (1918-1952)
  • Bush, William Douglas, 1LT, (1942-1951)
  • Clemente, Frank, MAJ, (1942-1945)
  • Coe, Jim, Sgt, (1942-1945)
  • Collins C, Glenn, PFC, (1942-1946)
  • Crager, Howard, LTC, (1942-1945)
  • Edlin, Robert Thomas, CPT, (1934-1954)
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