Lt. Col. Charles W. Rowan

Holder of the distinguished flying cross with oak leaf clusters, Lt. Col. Charles W. Rowan had a long and distinguished military career, first as a radio operator in a B-17 bomber flying 24 missions over Germany in WWII, then as a F-86 shooting star jet fighter pilot in Korea and finally as the pilot of a O1A Bird Dog spotting plane in Vietnam. That said, he was known to me, Jim Rowan, son of his older brother, James T. Rowan as "Uncle Shorty." Never missing a chance to tell some kind of tall tale, he did love to tell stories, always regaling us 'young-uns" with some sort of high jinks of one kind or another.

I can remember one time in the 1960's when visiting the farm in Berrien County, Georgia, Uncle Shorty had just come back from survival training. He had brought a parachute back with him which he had cut in half. Giving half to me and half to my Uncle Randy he proceeded to demonstrate how to make a tent out of it and how to use it as a pack. That half-parachute came with me to Auburn and hung from the ceiling of my apartment. 

Charles was born the second son of James Alvin Rowan and Carrie Robinson on September 22, 1924 in Nashville, Berrien County, Georgia.  He is seen in this image between his younger brother Burl Venton Rowan and his older brother, James Thomas Rowan. Sadly, his mother, Carrie Robinson died in 1927 of a ruptured appendix leaving the three very young boys in the care of their father who was soon remarried to Lois Amanda Vickers in 1930. These three boys eventually became the eldest of the 9 children in the J. Alvin Rowan - Lois Vickers Rowan family.

World War 2 as a B-17 radio operator

-24 Missions flown over Germany-


Williams Air Force Base: T-6 Pilot Training

Korean War Service as F-80 Pilot

-100 Missions flown-


Vietnam War Service as O-1A Bird Dog Pilot for Forward Air Command

-124 Missions flown-

January 24, 1967 

Recieved the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Clusters