Bower, Frederick, MGySgt Deceased
 
 Service Photo 
 Service Details
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Last Rank
Master Gunnery Sergeant
Last Primary MOS
6533-Aviation Ord. Chief
Last MOSGroup
Aviation Ordnance
Last Unit
1943-1945, WW2-911, VMB-413
Service Years
1942 - 1968

Master Gunnery Sergeant

 
Six Hash Marks

 

 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 

174 kb

Home Country
United States
United States
Year of Birth
1918
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Taneytown, MD
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Aug 03, 2013
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Air Crew w/3 Stars
Pistol Expert

 

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin USMC Retired Pin


 Unofficial Badges 


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Deceased August 3, 2013.  Died while a resident of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, MS at age 94.
   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

 Recruit Training - Trainee/Instructor
  1942, Boot Camp - Parris Island, 00
 Unit Assignments
VMB-413
  1943-1945, WW2-911, VMB-413
 Combat and Operations History
  1944-1945 World War II/Consolidation of Solomon Islands
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign 8 March to 24 December 1965 VSM Streamer
 Military Association Memberships
Post 120Post 6658, Emmitsburg Memorial PostDisabled American Veterans (DAV)
  1946, American Legion, Post 120 (Paid Up For Life) (Taneytown, Maryland)
  1946, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), Post 6658, Emmitsburg Memorial Post (Life Member) (Emmitsburg, Maryland) [Verified]
  2010, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on MGySgt Bower's US Marine Corps Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE MARINE CORPS?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Marine Corps?World War II was in progress and like many other Americans I wanted to do my part. I chose to enlist in the U.S. Marines.

I was married (to Jean) with one young daughter, Patty Jean, and the Marine Corps required both members of a marriage to agree with the decision of one of the spouses to enlist. Therefore, I needed my wife's signature. After some discussion, she signed my papers.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK.
March 1942, I reported to Parris Island for my Boot training. When I graduated boot camp I was sent to Quantico, VA to dig a ditch in conjunction with a radio installation. Then I was sent to Jacksonville, Florida for Ordinance training for 3 or 4 months.

After ordinance training I MGySgt Frederick Bower - Whether you were in the service for several years or as a career, please describe the direction or path you took.reported to Yellow Water, FL. for Aerial Gunner School. I don't remember how long I was in training there but I enjoyed the training and learning how to master the machine gun.

After aerial gunner training I was Temporarily assigned to the Navy for 14 weeks, where in I received Bombardier training aboard a PBY, flying up and down the East coast, from 07:00 to 17:00 daily, looking for Submarines. We alternated our stays between Key West, FL and Charleston, SC.

Sometime later I was sent to the Pacific where I served as a Bombardier or a Tail Gunner, which ever was required, on a PBJ. My service in the South Pacific was devoted to the Solomon Islands area.

After serving in the Solomon Islands I returned to the states, entering at Treasure Island, California. From there, I took a train to Washington, DC. I remember arriving in DC on the day President Roosevelt died.

From DC, I returned to Cherry Point, NC where I spent some time in the back seat of a dive-bomber as a gunner..

I transferred into the Marine Corps reserves in 1945 and went home for two years. We had a couple more children, Ricky Jr, and Johnny.

In 1947, I was called back to active duty. It was either come back as a MSgt now or wait till I'm drafted and come back a Pvt, said the recruiting LT. I sure didn't let the door hit me on the way back in.

From 1947 to 1952, I was with the F-7F Night Fighters for a while, then received orders for Jacksonville, Florida. For three years I taught Ordinance at the Jacksonville NAS.

I received orders to Japan. In Japan I was a Master Sgt and served as a Wing Ordinance Chief. I was responsible for such things as ordering ordinance, scheduling cold weather training, etc. While in Japan, I was sent to Iwakuni and put in charge of an MP Company for 18 months.

After Iwakuni, I returned state-side to the Quantico, VA airfield where I was in charge of ordinance for 7 years. Then back to Cherry Point in charge of the bomb dump.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN COMBAT, PEACEKEEPING OR HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
I was sent to Cherry Point, NC in March 1943, for aerial training in the F4D.

Later I was assigned to the Marine Bombing Squadron VMB-413, which had been activated on March 1, 1943 and I was assigned to the squadron as a Bombardier and Tail Gunner .

In December MGySgt Frederick Bower - If you participated in combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian operations, please describe those which were the most significant to you and, if life-changing, in what way.1943, our squadron moved to California and awaited orders for deployment. On January 3, 1944, we departed from NAS North Island. We arrived at Espirito Santo on January 27, 1944, and stayed there till March 7, 1944, when we were sent to Stirling Island.

While we were on Stirling Island we flew a few nighttime "heckling" missions against the Japanese garrisons on Kahili, Bougainville, Rabaul and Kavieng Islands. These Islands were part of the Papua New Guinea region. Also known as the North Solomon Islands.

VMB 413 continued the bombing until July 1944, when we moved back to Espirito Santo. During that time the squadron lost five aircraft along with 32 crewmen.

During July 1944, we began operating from Munda from where we began to raid both Kahili and Choiseul on a regular basis until October 18, 1944, when we were removed to Emirau. From here the squadron ran missions against Japanese forces in New Ireland and New Britain until the surrender of Japan in August 1945.
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
After 67 years, I may not be able to recollect all outstanding memories this question may elicit. But I do recall one event that caused me some concern.

On one of my training flights, with the Navy, flying along the East coast, it was noticed that MGySgt Frederick Bower - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?something was making holes in the PBY's bomb bay doors.
After 67 years, I may not be able to recollect all outstanding memories this question may elicit. But I do recall one event that caused me some concern.

On one of my training flights, with the Navy, flying along the East coast, it was noticed that something was making holes in the PBY's bomb bay doors.

A makeshift special mount was made over the bomb bay doors for me to perch on and observe the dropping of our sand bag bombs in order to see what was damaging the doors.

It was a precarious observation position to be in while the doors were open. But it didn't take long to discover the culprit. The bungee cords securing our sand bag bombs were slapping the doors upon release with quite a force and accompanying noise.

It was the unsettling possibilities that surrounded the situation at the time that I remember most.


OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, QUALIFICATION BADGES OR DEVICE YOU RECEIVED, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE ONE(S) MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
My eight consecutive awards for good conduct are the most meaningful awards I received while serving in the Marine Corps.

The U.S. Marines' Good Conduct medal is awarded to any enlisted member of the Marine Corps completing three consecutive years of "honorable and faithful service". Such service implies that a MGySgt Frederick Bower - Of all the medals, awards, qualification badges or device you received, please describe the one(s) most meaningful to you and why?standard enlistment was completed without any non-judicial punishments, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses. If a service member commits an offense, the three-year mark "resets" and a service member must perform an additional three years of discipline free service before the Marine Corps Good Conduct may be authorized.

The ribbon itself or medal represents the initial award. each subsequent award up to 4 is represented by a bronze star device. On the 6th award, the silver star device takes the place of 5 bronze star devices.

So yes, my Good Conduct Ribbon/Medal with a Silver Star Service and two Bronze Star Devices are the most meaningful to me. Why?

It's the Marine Corps' way of acknowledging Honorable and Faithful service to the Marines and to my country. It makes me kinda proud to have served for so many years as a United States Marine! [1]
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - Which individual(s) from your time in the military stand out as having the most positive impact on you and why?From my service years I don't remember anyone having a major impact on me. I had good buddies and good officers through out my career.

My best friend, who I met while instructing at Jacksonville NAS, was Jack Harmon. While I taught Ordinance, Jack taught Electronics. He was an excellent instructor Jack was an Aircraft Mechanic at some point during his tour with the Marines.

I remember some of the good times we had. We pulled a lot of liberty together and kept each other out of trouble.

Jack was also an Aerial Gunner in the South Pacific in a torpedo squadron. He was a Rear Gunner in the Grumman TBF Avenger, a Torpedo Bomber. This was the same type aircraft that President George H.W. Bush flew in 1944. Paul Newman was a Rear Gunner in one to.

Jack retired a MGySgt. He died recently died of cancer from asbestos. He was a good friend.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - Can you recount a particular incident from your service which may or may not have been funny at the time, but still makes you laugh?This may not sound very funny to you but I found it to be rather amusing at the time.

In July 1944, VMB 413 would begin operating out of Munda. But, the Japanese occupied the island and there was no airstrip for our bombers to land on.

Intelligence had it that the Japanese were in the process of building an airstrip.

So, we stood down for 20 days to allow the Japanese to complete our airstrip. At the end of the 20 days, our Marine Grunts landed and took the island. We began landing on our newly completed unused airstrip.

Isn't that amusing?
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - What profession did you follow after your military service and what are you doing now? If you are currently serving, what is your present occupational specialty?After retiring from the Marine Corps, I went to work with General Electric (GE). I worked at GE for 11 years or so in their military weapons area.

GE has had a long time relationship with our military, designing and improving various weapons systems.

I gained an interest in machine guns early in my career with the Marines. But Gatling guns simply fascinated me.

It gave me great satisfaction when I was assigned to work on their Mini Gatling guns. I had the opportunity to work on all GE mini guns, wing mounted, tripod mounted, and ground mounted; For fixed winged, helicopters and infantry use mini guns.

So that's what I did at GE for 11 years.

The Photo for this segment of My Reflections is one of General Electric's mini guns. The XM214 Mini Gun. It fires a 223 NATO round at the rate of 1,000 -10,000 rpm.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - What military associations are you a member of, if any? What specific benefits do you derive from your memberships?Every year the Marine Bomber Squadron VMB-314, meets for a reunion. It's become an association of long lived Marines. We started with over 500 and 8 or 9 of us continue to meet.

My son Ricky is in the process of organizing this year's reunion. Ricky retired from the Air Force, a LtCol.

The benefits I receive from my association with the VMB-314 are simple but priceless. The reunions reinforce the brotherhood of a group of Marines who came together from various backgrounds, trained to become part of the world's most formidable fighting force from the air, then win a War together.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - In what ways has serving in the military influenced the way you have approached your life and your career?During my career in the Marine Corps I learned many things that would influence the way I approach my life and my career.

I learned the Marine Corps way of discipline in boot camp and leadership skills were picked up on the way by formal and informal training. I learned how to master the machine gun, especially the 30 and 50 cal and the 20 MM guns and acquired an abundance of practical application with them.

I also learned how to effectively teach what I know using Techniques of Military Instruction.

Upon retirement, these skills enabled me to be hired by General Electric in the mini gun area and apply the skills and experience I had acquired over the years in the Marine Corps.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE MARINE CORPS?
MGySgt Frederick Bower - Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give to those who have recently joined the Marine Corps?Be a Marine! (Just a reminder)

The checks and benefits are good. Just remember your training and get all you can. Then, use it! It'll pay off in the long run.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
MGySgt Frederick Bower - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.Marines.TWS provided a venue and format for the reflections of my Marine Corps Career. It's good to know that my inquiring family members and Marine brothers (old & new) will be able to know how I served. [2]

1 These reflections were completed with the assistance of Diane Short
2 These reflections were completed with the assistance of Sgt Lenard Bailes

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