Thomas Anthony Gowers

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
06 February 1951 - 21 May 1970
Depauw, Indiana
Panel 10W Line 075


Army Engineers

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Thomas Anthony Gowers

27 May 2002

"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
is never to have died."
(Thomas Campbell, circa 1888)

A memorial initiated by a friend,
Rebecca S. Allen

A Note from The Virtual Wall

In early May 1970, Delta Company, 815th Engineer Battalion and the 102nd Engineer Company moved from the area around Dak To and Kontum to an isolated base camp adjacent to the village of Phu Hiep. Resupply support was from the Army complex at Dalat and was accomplished by convoys on highway QL-20. On 21 May such a convoy departed Phu Hiep for Dalat.

Just short of Dalat a civilian truck collided with the convoy's lead truck, bringing the entire convoy to a halt. Most of the troops dismounted and relaxed, waiting for the accident to get sorted out. Instead, the vehicles and soldiers were violently attacked with small arms, automatic weapons, and rocket-propelled grenades. The convoy commander, realizing they were in an untenable situation, ordered that the accessible wounded should be put aboard the vehicles and a run made for Dalat. This was accomplished, although a number of men could not be brought aboard the trucks. At Dalat the wounded were off-loaded, and an MP platoon mounted out to return to the ambush site.

On arrival they found the enemy (and the civilian truck) gone, recovered the men who had been left behind, and accounted for everyone who had been aboard the convoy vehicles. Two men had been killed in the ambush - and one was missing:

  • 102nd Eng Co
    • SP4 Keith A. Albert, Thibodaux, LA (MIA)

  • D Co, 815th Eng Bn
    • SP5 Stanley R. Hansen, West Bend, WI (KIA)
    • SP4 Thomas A. Gowers, Depauw, IN (KIA)
There seemed little hope that SP4 Albert could be recovered, since the NVA/VC routinely executed captured junior enlisted personnel, and searches of the area failed to turn up any sign of him. But there was a happy ending for him and his family - almost three years later, on 12 Feb 1973, SP4 Keith Albert was released by the North Vietnamese.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Rebecca S. Allen

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 27 May 2002
Last updated 10/20/2007