• 84°
The Madison Record

Cowan served with 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam

Note: This article appeared in the Nov. 4 edition of the “Redstone Rocket.” This article was written by “Redstone Rocket” editor Skip Vaughn and reprinted by permission. (skip.vaughn@theredstonerocket.com)

MADISON – Looking back on his military service, Jerry Cowan believes “good soldiers go where you’re supposed to and do what you’re told to do.”

When he was 19 years old, Cowan was assigned to a helicopter unit at Camp Evans in Vietnam in January 1969. Cowan served in Vietnam until January 1970 with 158th Aviation Battalion formed at Fort Carson, Colo.

This remote base was located 30 miles north of Hue and about 20 miles from the Demilitarized Zone. He primarily filled sandbags, performed guard duty and other assignments, while dodging 122-mm rockets from the enemy.

“We had a lot of incoming,” he said. Cowan lost three good friends who were crew chiefs in Huey helicopters that got shot down in three separate incidents in February 1969.

Cowan saw more action there than at any time during his yearlong tour. “The other nine months went pretty well — nothing like the three months I was at Camp Evans,” Cowan said.

A Specialist Four, Cowan was promoted to Sergeant and then assigned to Hue and Phu Bai. He remained with the 101st Airborne Division but became a Technical Supply Sergeant. Six soldiers reported to him. Cowan’s role was ensuring the Chinook helicopters were ready to fly and to replace parts when necessary.

“We had infiltration of our perimeter lines a couple of nights while I was on guard duty,” Cowan said. “We were on full alert one night. We were expecting to get attacked. It rained all night on us.”

His commendations include Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Bronze Star. He left the Army as a Sergeant.

“(Vietnam) was something, a bad experience, but I was just there to do my time,” Cowan said. “(Vietnam veterans) really haven’t gotten the credit that they’ve been due . . . They sacrificed their lives but didn’t get credit.”

A Decatur native, Cowan now lives in Madison. After 33 years at the job, he retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2006.

Cowan has two sons: Jeremy of Moulton and Jason of Gardendale. His grandson Logan attends the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Cowan, 71, plays with Huntsville Senior Softball. Each week, he works at his 30-acre farm in Lawrence County.

For more information, visit theredstonerocket.com.

Harvest

Partnership giving away Fentanyl test strips

Madison

Sheriff: Man flees from Limestone deputies in stolen ambulance, stolen fire truck

Madison

Triana, Madison libraries offer Makerspace for hi-tech crafts and more

Harvest

Art Tour of Homes expands into Madison with Estes and Overcash houses

Bob Jones High School

Neha, Puja Chopade’s research with Harvard mentors published in journal

Madison

Wroblewski in 15-mile swimming challenge for Wounded Warriors

Huntsville

Huntsville Ballet Company announces new season

Digital Version

Check out the August 2022 issue of Madison Living

Madison

Madison teen charged with murder after allegedly shooting brother

Bob Jones High School

Madison Area Lions’ donations help school nurses

Madison

Trash Pandas hang on, beat Lookouts 3-2 in finale

Madison

NewsNation network lauds Rodney Smith’s free lawn care

Madison

UPDATE: Madison man accused of killing former girlfriend

News

RD3 Legacy 3-On-3 Basketball Tournament Set For August 13

Madison

Trash Pandas bounce back against Lookouts with 5-2 victory

Bob Jones High School

Beautification board issues awards for well-kept sites

Madison

Auburn alum Sonny DiChiara joins Trash Pandas

Madison

MPD: Family dispute leads to shooting in Madison

Business

Former Huntsville business executive charged with wire fraud

Madison

Man charged with ex-girlfriend’s murder in Madison area

Huntsville

HPD makes drug bust in traffic stop

Huntsville

City of Huntsville mourns loss of Huntsville Fire & Rescue cadet

Madison

Weather ends Trash Pandas’ comeback bid in 4-3 loss

Bob Jones High School

PTA advises starting now for Reflections entries

x