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Wilbur L. (T) Owen

Memorial Location

COLUMN:   ROW: 4

  • Staff Sergeant
  • Served: October 10, 1940 – November 29, 1945
  • World War II
  • Platoon Leader
  • Awarded: Service Stripe, 4 Overseas Service Bars, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Ribbon, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal

Deceased August 31, 2003

He joined the Army National Guard Unit – 106th Calvary Black Horse Troop in August 1940.  Readiness for World War II led to the mechanization of the unit into Federal Service on November 15, 1940. At Camp Livingston, Louisiana, he was sent to six weeks of cook’s school.  At Fort Riley, Kansas, he was sent to Cavalry school for a special course in motors.

In 1943 and early 1944, he was stationed in Iceland. Early in the Spring of 1944, his unit was deployed to Europe.  Upon arriving in England, the group was reorganized in 106th and 121st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadrons.  They were often in the lead of other units.  They scouted ahead to fix enemy locations.  The rest of his service was spent in Europe until his discharge at the end of World War II.

He was a Platoon Sergeant for 30 months of the war.  He trained and supervised training of new men under his control.  They guarded airports for security purposes and prepared ground defenses and made minor repairs to fuselages of airplanes.

He seldom talked about the war to anyone.  He once mentioned being in the English Channel for several hours.  He also talked to close friends of his about being lost in the jungle in Africa for almost three months.  His unit got separated and they hid in the jungle to survive.  This is confirmed in his discharge papers which shows 81 days of lost time.

His family stated that they never saw any results of his cooking certification. No one can recall him even making a sandwich.

His mother told the story of the day he came home after the war.  When he joined the Army he had a dog named Major, a mutt.  He was gone for five years and the parents took care of his dog.  He did not tell anyone when he was coming home on November 29, 1945.  Early that afternoon, Major started acting crazy, barking and jumping to be let out of the house.  When the door was opened he tore off running down the block, about five blocks away from home he found his master walking home.  They had a great homecoming.

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