THOMAS WELDON FOWLER (1921 ~ 1944). Medal of Honor Recipient Thomas Fowler was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, on October 31, 1921. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (Texas A&M University) in 1943.
He joined the First Armored Division and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in May 1943, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He married his high school sweetheart, Ann Oakes, shortly afterward on May 12, 1943.
On May 23, 1944, near Carano, Italy, Fowler came upon two disorganized infantry platoons halted in their advance by a minefield. Though a tank officer, Fowler reorganized the men and cleared a route through the minefield, removing the mines one by one with his bare hands. After clearing a path, he returned to the squad and led them through the minefield before scouting out a route for them to continue their advance. He crossed the minefield again to lead the tanks through and directed them to positions to support the infantry. Fowler then went ahead of the infantry to scout and captured several German soldiers.
Detecting a gap in the American advance, he directed the infantry and tanks into position to fill it. The enemy counterattacked with tanks, setting one of Fowler's tanks on fire. Disregarding his own safety, Fowler tended to the wounded tank crew. Fowler and the tank crew were under intense enemy fire for thirty minutes before the German tanks were almost on top of their position. After being forced to withdraw from the tank, he gave first aid to nine soldiers while still under enemy fire.
For his actions on May 23, Fowler was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Fowler was killed near Rome in combat by an enemy sniper only ten days later. His Medal of Honor was presented to his family at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by Major General Ralph McPennel. Fowler is buried in Crestview Memorial Park, Wichita Falls. A dormitory at Texas A&M University was named after him in 1964.
Bibliography: "Above and Beyond: The Medal of Honor in Texas," Capitol Visitors Center, State Preservation Board of Texas. The Battalion, Texas A&M University, March 5, 1997. Dallas Morning News: July 28, 1948. The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, University of Texas, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/FF/ffodp.html, September 26, 2005. Houston Press: April 16, 1946. Wichita Falls Record News: November 10, 1944. "Presentation Ceremony of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Second Lieutenant Thomas Weldon Fowler, Posthumously," Fort Sill, Oklahoma, November 11, 1944.