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They Don’t Make ‘Em Like Louis Fowler Anymore

This week’s annual “Blue and Gold Banquet” for a Columbia, S.C.-area Cub Scout group was only scheduled to run for an hour (and if you’ve ever tried to hold the attention of a group of elementary school kids for much longer than five seconds … you understand why). But this…

This week’s annual “Blue and Gold Banquet” for a Columbia, S.C.-area Cub Scout group was only scheduled to run for an hour (and if you’ve ever tried to hold the attention of a group of elementary school kids for much longer than five seconds … you understand why).

But this banquet would up being quite different. More than two-and-a-half hours after the event began, a crowd of scouts (and their parents) stood in a tightly packed semi-circle around the guest speaker – literally under his spell.

The speaker? Louis Blanding Fowler, 88, a retired IBM executive from Fountain Inn, S.C. But it wasn’t Fowler’s four-decade career with a computer company which had this crowd transfixed, it was the story he told of the thirteen months he spent behind enemy lines in the deciding months of World War II.

Fowler, who volunteered and was assigned to the 15th Air Force based in Italy, was the right-waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber  which was shot down over Austria on March 19, 1944. Miraculously, the 20-year-old not only survived the initial attack on his aircraft – sustaining shrapnel wounds in his side, shoulder and neck – but also lived to tell of a fall from 18,000 feet in a bullet-riddled parachute.

“I heard a voice telling me ‘Fear Not,'” the devout Presbyterian said.

A B-24 "Liberator"
A B-24 “Liberator”

On the ground, Fowler’s adventure was only just beginning. After regaining consciousness, he joined a band of underground guerilla resistance fighters – at least until the rag-tage group was captured by German soldiers.

For the next thirteen months Fowler was a prisoner of war – beaten, berated, humiliated and nearly starved to death. The final two months were the worst, he says, as the Germans led the prisoners on a 500-mile death march through occupied Poland and (eventually) the Fatherland itself.

This was no march to lose time on, either, as stragglers were gunned down by soldiers of the Waffen SS.

“We lost hundreds of American soldiers that way,” Fowler recalls.

He also recalls the smell of the crematoriums at the Auschwitz extermination camps – and the faces on the train cars he saw heading toward the notorious facility.

Eventually, Fowler and three fellow allied soldiers were able to escape captivity during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945 – and fight their way to the lines of the 104th “Timber Wolf” Infantry division, which around that time was linking up with divisions of the Soviet Red Army.

His liberation date? April 26, 1945 – exactly four days prior to Adolf Hitler’s suicide and eleven days prior to the unconditional surrender of Germany.

This website prides itself on supporting non-interventionist foreign policy – and you’ll never be able to convince us America didn’t goad the empire of Japan into launching its sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 (thus dragging us into this conflict). But revisionist history aside, there is nothing – literally nothing – we can say to detract from the story Louis Fowler shared with an incredibly fortunate group of children and parents this week.

The guy is a hero of the first order … as evidenced by a chest full of medals and the Nazi flag he took from a Tiger tank during the Battle of Berlin (a flag which still contains traces of dried German blood on it).

“I’ll be if you took the DNA you could find out who it belongs to,” he joked.

It’s been estimated that 1,500 World War II veterans die every single day in this country … and at some point they’ll all be gone. In fact two years ago Frank Buckles, the last surviving veteran of World War I, died at the age of 110.

In other words we need to honor and cherish these heroes – and learn as much as we can from their stories – while we still can.

Anyway, thanks to Louis Fowler not only for his sacrifice, but for sharing his remarkable story with a group of children and parents who could have literally sat and listened to him all night.

***

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45 comments

Smirks February 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Awesome stuff.

Reply
Smirks February 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Awesome stuff.

Reply
W.T.K. February 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This article highlights the difference between real heroes with character and cowards that imitate them.

Glenn McConnell comes to mind.

Avoided Viet Nam, never joined the Reserves, dresses up in “Confederate general” costumes, and pulls an imitation antique cannon behind his Mercedez Benz to “Civil War battle re-enactments.”

Shame on us for electing that coward.

Reply
W.T.K. February 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This article highlights the difference between real heroes with character and cowards that imitate them.

Glenn McConnell comes to mind.

Avoided Viet Nam, never joined the Reserves, dresses up in “Confederate general” costumes, and pulls an imitation antique cannon behind his Mercedez Benz to “Civil War battle re-enactments.”

Shame on us for electing that coward.

Reply
shifty henry February 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Great story – I’d like to read more of folks like him. As a side note, perhaps you could research the claims that a pow camp was in Dentsville, just south of Decker Boulevard.

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Major Cordite March 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Very true. Mostly German officers and many were “leased” out to work on neighboring farms since that area was rural at the time. What is ironic is that Richland and Lexington County were settled by German immigrants and these prisoners were probably descended from the same families.

The area bordered by the Congaree River and the Saluda River was settled by Deutsch people (German folks) and the Scotts-Irish/English yeoman farmers couldn’t understand them and when they were saying they were “Deutsch Volks” (German Folks) the local residents thought they were saying “Dutch Forks.” So that is how the area Dutch Fork got its name. And now you know the rest of the story…

Reply
shifty henry February 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Great story – I’d like to read more of folks like him. As a side note, perhaps you could research the claims that a pow camp was in Dentsville, just south of Decker Boulevard.

Reply
Major Cordite March 3, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Very true. Mostly German officers and many were “leased” out to work on neighboring farms since that area was rural at the time. What is ironic is that Richland and Lexington County were settled by German immigrants and these prisoners were probably descended from the same families.

The area bordered by the Congaree River and the Saluda River was settled by Deutsch people (German folks) and the Scotts-Irish/English yeoman farmers couldn’t understand them and when they were saying they were “Deutsch Volks” (German Folks) the local residents thought they were saying “Dutch Forks.” So that is how the area Dutch Fork got its name. And now you know the rest of the story…

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sadly: FITS is the exact opposite of what this man represents. Fowler, if he ever read what you do, would be sickened.
Too much of America is just like FITS: A disgrace to men like this. Pop culture is more like the 60s cowards that were gutless, but this man fought for freedom and honor that FITS, Obama and co pervert on a daily baisis.

Reply
Squishy123 February 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I wonder where BigT fits in? He seems to come off as a big crybaby obsessed with responding to every comment.

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

You look kinda stupid responding to me, resonding to a comment..and that’s all you can come up with.
What a Dumb@$$…

Reply
M. Huckabee February 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Yeah, better ask Ted Nugent…Lol…

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Why not ask Bill Clinton Dumb@$$?…Nugent is a Rocker. Clinton posed as Commander in cheif. Clinton let Obama go AFTER the WTC was bombed the first time…Thanks for NOTHING Draft-Dodger…

Shades February 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Shit, Dawg! Clinton rocks a sax! So, it’s okay for the Nuge but not Clinton to draft dodge?

Squishy123 February 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

So you’re trying life off medications again I see. I don’t think it’s working.

Reply
Major Cordite March 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Well said BigT. One day, someone will discover they can’t serve two masters.

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sadly: FITS is the exact opposite of what this man represents. Fowler, if he ever read what you do, would be sickened.
Too much of America is just like FITS: A disgrace to men like this. Pop culture is more like the 60s cowards that were gutless, but this man fought for freedom and honor that FITS, Obama and co pervert on a daily baisis.

Reply
Squishy123 February 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I wonder where BigT fits in? He seems to come off as a big crybaby obsessed with responding to every comment.

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

You look kinda stupid responding to me, resonding to a comment..and that’s all you can come up with.
What a Dumb@$$…

Reply
M. Huckabee February 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Yeah, better ask Ted Nugent…Lol…

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Why not ask Bill Clinton Dumb@$$?…Nugent is a Rocker. Clinton posed as Commander in cheif. Clinton let Obama go AFTER the WTC was bombed the first time…Thanks for NOTHING Draft-Dodger…

Shades February 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Shit, Dawg! Clinton rocks a sax! So, it’s okay for the Nuge but not Clinton to draft dodge?

Squishy123 February 28, 2013 at 11:54 am

So you’re trying life off medications again I see. I don’t think it’s working.

Reply
Major Cordite March 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Well said BigT. One day, someone will discover they can’t serve two masters.

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I wonder how many Sixties Liberals, and the Obama-types they spawned, are Ashamed of themselves when they read of this man’s effort and selflessness for his country?

Reply
Ted Nugent February 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

If McConnell was a liberal, I’d say, start there.

Reply
BigT February 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I wonder how many Sixties Liberals, and the Obama-types they spawned, are Ashamed of themselves when they read of this man’s effort and selflessness for his country?

Reply
Ted Nugent February 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

If McConnell was a liberal, I’d say, start there.

Reply
EJB February 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I was absolutely fascinated with the HBO series “Band of Brothers”. My wife and I went to Tallulah Gorge one summer and stopped in Taccoa, Georgia and went to where their training base was at the base of Currahee Mountain. We hiked the road up Currahee Mountain, the same road those guys jogged up with full battle packs, and that is something to help you appreciate what kind of men they were. It is worth the trip, about 3 hours or so away.

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glennie March 9, 2013 at 2:11 am

My wonderful Daddy who I am so proud of. He is my HERO. Unconditional love

. I am so proud to be his daughter. You will NEVER meet another WWII POW HERO LIKE MY DADDY

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wynnette fraser January 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

Glennie, you have every right to be proud. I’ve known your Daddy since we were both about 18 and I have admired him for his bravery and his never-dying faith. I married his first cousin who, as a marine, served in the S. Pacific, but escaped the kind of experience Louis endured.

Reply
EJB February 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I was absolutely fascinated with the HBO series “Band of Brothers”. My wife and I went to Tallulah Gorge one summer and stopped in Taccoa, Georgia and went to where their training base was at the base of Currahee Mountain. We hiked the road up Currahee Mountain, the same road those guys jogged up with full battle packs, and that is something to help you appreciate what kind of men they were. It is worth the trip, about 3 hours or so away.

Reply
glennie March 9, 2013 at 2:11 am

My wonderful Daddy who I am so proud of. He is my HERO. Unconditional love

. I am so proud to be his daughter. You will NEVER meet another WWII POW HERO LIKE MY DADDY

Reply
Carolina_Cotton February 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Great post, Will. It’s good that those kids get to see what a real hero looks like.

Reply
Carolina_Cotton February 27, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Great post, Will. It’s good that those kids get to see what a real hero looks like.

Reply
Soft Sigh from Hell February 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I was astounded a few months ago when I read how many airmen were lost in WWII, both US and British, both actual numbers and percentages of all airmen.

Reply
Soft Sigh from Hell February 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I was astounded a few months ago when I read how many airmen were lost in WWII, both US and British, both actual numbers and percentages of all airmen.

Reply
Daniel Ahern February 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I love this man and am proud to call him my Grandfather

Reply
Blair Fowler March 6, 2013 at 12:48 am

Daniel – I agree and am proud to be called a granddaughter of this heroic man. I hope you and the whole family are doing well. Love and miss all of you!

Reply
Daniel Ahern February 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I love this man and am proud to call him my Grandfather

Reply
Blair Fowler March 6, 2013 at 12:48 am

Daniel – I agree and am proud to be called a granddaughter of this heroic man. I hope you and the whole family are doing well. Love and miss all of you!

Reply
9" March 4, 2013 at 12:31 am

much respect.my late father served ,but rarely talked about it.he left me a sword from the .’enemy’,but i threw it away,at his request-ashes to ashes …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5LODmWn1wA

Reply
9" March 4, 2013 at 12:31 am

much respect.my late father served ,but rarely talked about it.he left me a sword from the .’enemy’,but i threw it away,at his request-ashes to ashes …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5LODmWn1wA

Reply
Buddy Wilson March 4, 2013 at 9:45 am

My uncle was a Navy corpman/medic. He landed with the men storming the beachs. His letters home to his mother during the war told how the boys dieing of their wounds during the nights would cry out for their mothers. The horrors he must have seen.

Reply
Buddy Wilson March 4, 2013 at 9:45 am

My uncle was a Navy corpman/medic. He landed with the men storming the beachs. His letters home to his mother during the war told how the boys dieing of their wounds during the nights would cry out for their mothers. The horrors he must have seen.

Reply

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