Mr. Jerry Owens graduated from the 17-week Armored Basic
School at Fort Knox with the MOS as Tank Gunner. Upon graduation, he was
assigned to the 16th Armored Division. At that time, the 16th was beefing up
for deployment to the ETO. The Division participated in maneuvers in the
Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. After returning from field exercises one
evening, several men went to one of the on-base theaters. At the theater
were some paratroopers who were making a pitch about volunteering for the
Airborne. So, Mr. Owens volunteered for airborne training and was sent to
Ft. Benning Georgia where he attended the Army's Airborne School. He
graduated on December 8, 1944.
After several more weeks of intensive infantry training he
was sent to the PTO was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division. As the
transport ship left from the Port of Oakland on the first leg of the 23-day
trip to the Philippine Islands, the ship passed under the Golden Gate
Bridge. Mr. Owens remembers that the saying on the transport that moment was
"The Golden Gate in forty-eight". The implied meaning, at the time, was we
don't think we will return home until 1948 (if at all).
Upon return from the PTO, he enrolled in College and
received a degree from Centre College of Kentucky. Shortly after the start
of the Korean War he was called into Military service. Mr. Owens received a
Direct Commission and went through the Armored Officer's Basic course at
Fort Knox and went on to Korea.
When Lt. Owens arrived at the Repple Depple (Replacement
Depot) in Pusan he was sent to 25th Infantry Replacement Company. Upon
reaching the 25th Infantry Replacement Company, as fate would have it, he
ran into Major Walding who had been his Battalion Executive Officer at Fort
Knox. Major Walding saw to it that Lt. Owens was assigned to his Battalion
(the 89th MTB) and sent to the 14th Regimental Tank Company. Upon arrival at
the 14th Regimental Tank Company he eventually was attached 14th Infantry Regiment for the duration of his tour.
He is currently living in Raleigh, North Carolina with
his wife Betty.