Harmony County

2011 & 2009 Winner of "Best Humor Column" awarded by the SC Press Association

A Veterans Day salute

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   Seeing how it is Veterans Day, I thought I would regale you with a few stories about the veterans in the McGowan family. The history goes back quite a distance. We have a saying that goes, “A war without a McGowan in it would be un-American”.

   Starting with the Revolutionary War there were two McGowans participating. One was in the 3rd Virginia Line and the other in the 5th Virginia Line. Both started out, as Private Soldiers and five years later when they got out they were still Private Soldiers. They did not have to do a lot of sewing-on of stripes.

   Seeing how it only makes sense that after five years of service one of these guys should have at least got a promotion one can only assume that these two were not stellar performers. The word ‘dumb’ comes immediately to mind. To paraphrase, “They also serve who dig latrines and muck out stables”.

   Things get a little hazy up until The War Between The States. As trite, as it sounds I did have relatives on both sides. The first was Captain J. McGowan, USN. He was the skipper of “The Star of the West”, the relief ship that tried to supply Fort Sumter. An artillery battery manned by Citadel Cadets drove her off. My two sons are Citadel grads, kinda ironic.

   Ever since then an annual award called “The Star of the West” is given at the Citadel for the best drilled cadet. My sons, were never in danger of getting that award. It had to do with the problems associated with walking and chewing gum simultaneously.

   Major General Samuel McGowan, CSA did excellent service. He was from Lauren County. He participated in many battles, but had one small problem. He was tagged as a non-electric pop-up target four times. Some guys never learn.

   Moving on to WWI my grandfather Jake was a blue jacket on the USS Arizona. When she went down at Pearl Harbor Jake was first in line at the recruiting office to reenlist. He was turned away for age, but later managed to get a job as a translator at a POW compound holding captured Germans.

   Even the most recalcitrant, hardcore Nazi was a choirboy when Jake got through with them. They all could hit the high notes.

   My dad was a belly gunner on a B29 on Saipan. He was injured in the shoulder. After landing after a mission, someone yelled, “Last one out buys the beer”, and he cut it while jumping out the bomb bay.

   I myself have some distinction in being an E12. The highest enlisted rank is E9, but I made E4 three times, hence the E12. As I said before, some guys never learn. Must be a family trait.

   So, here is a big Airborne salute to all vets. Thanks for your service. Whether it was as mundane as walking a guard post on some cold, rainy night or picking up debris on a runway on a blistering, hot day. You made a difference.© 2010, Harmony County

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Written by harmonycounty

November 11, 2010 at 4:42 p11

Posted in Americana, Humor

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