Harry Thomas Bowman II was the son of Harry and Gertrude Bowman. His home of record is Wood Ridge, NJ. He had two sisters, Judith and Patricia. He graduated from Wood Ridge High School in 1963.
Harry spent two years at Tusculum College and had many friends among the Class of 1968 that celebrated their 50th reunion this year. He also spent one year at the University of Knoxville. While in college, he was in the ROTC. In 1966, Harry left college and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was a Hospitalman and served as a medic with M Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. He had a deep and abiding faith; he acted as a Chaplain for his Marines in the field.
On May 9, 1968, during Operation Houston II, at Hai Van Pass, Thua Thien Province, Republic of South Vietnam, Harry’s unit came under intense fire from a well-entrenched force. Observing three injured Marines lying in an open area exposed to the hostile fire, he maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain and carried the most seriously injured man to a position of safety. Returning to the hazardous area, Harry moved the second Marine to a position of relative safety. Before reaching the remaining casualty, he was wounded. Despite his injuries, he steadfastly continued toward his fallen comrade until he was mortally wounded by heavy enemy fire.
Harry was promoted posthumously to the rank of Hospitalman Third Class. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, the Cross of Gallantry/w Palm and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Harry was awarded the Silver Star Medal posthumously. His citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Corpsman with Company M, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. On 9 May 1968, HM3 Bowman’s unit came under intense fire from a well-entrenched force wounding several Marines. Observing three Marines lying in an open area exposed to the hostile fire, he courageously maneuvered across the fire-swept terrain and carried the most seriously wounded Marine to a position of relative safety and, before reaching the remaining casualty, was wounded. Despite his injuries, he steadfastly continued toward his fallen comrade and was mortally wounded by heavy enemy fire. By his extraordinary courage, determination, and devotion to duty despite extreme personal danger, HM3 Bowman saved the lives of two Marines and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.”
The Marines of the 3/5 honored Harry with a memorial presentation at their reunion in Georgia in May 2002.