b. 13/09/1920 Greenville, South Carolina. d. 01/11/1943 Bourgainville, Papua New Guinea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01/11/1943 Bourgainville, Papua New Guinea.
World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. Born at Greenville, South Carolina and enlisted in the Marine Corps on February 10, 1942. He served as a Sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, at Bougainville, Solomon Islands. During the beach landing at Cape Torokina, November 1, 1943, a strategically placed Japanese 75 millimeter regimental gun seriously threatening the success of the operation.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a marine division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during extremely hazardous landing operations at Cape Torokina, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, on 1 November 1943. Forced to pass within disastrous range of a strongly protected, well-camouflaged Japanese 75-mm. regimental gun strategically located on the beach, our landing units were suffering heavy losses in casualties and boats while attempting to approach the beach, and the success of the operations was seriously threatened. Observing the ineffectiveness of marine rifle and grenade attacks against the incessant, devastating fire of the enemy weapon and aware of the urgent need for prompt action, Sgt. Owens unhesitatingly determined to charge the gun bunker from the front and, calling on 4 of his comrades to assist him, carefully placed them to cover the fire of the 2 adjacent hostile bunkers. Choosing a moment that provided a fair opportunity for passing these bunkers, he immediately charged into the mouth of the steadily firing cannon and entered the emplacement through the fire port, driving the guncrew out of the rear door and insuring their destruction before he himself was wounded. Indomitable and aggressive in the face of almost certain death, Sgt. Owens silenced a powerful gun which was of inestimable value to the Japanese defense and, by his brilliant initiative and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, contributed immeasurably to the success of the vital landing operations. His valiant conduct throughout reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service.
BURIAL LOCATION: MANILA AMERICAN CEMETERY, MANILA, PHILIPPINES.
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