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Jay Dee Cowan

Military

Jay Dee Cowan was born on October 11, 1919 in Loredo, Texas.

Grammar School 1926-1933
Dallas Technical High School 1933-1937 (National Honor Society and Commercial Art Club)
1937-1940 for the American Poster & Program Company in Dallas Texas
1937 to 1940 Cowan was in the Texas National Guard (Corporal)
College N.T.A.C. from 1939 to 1940

September 1940 at the University of Texas A&M. He attended the Medical Administration Corps as part of the Calvary Headquarters Troop. He was also an Art Assistant in the Art Department. In 1941 he was promoted to Corporal and was a member of the Houston A&M Club.

Cowan enlisted into the United States Army Air Force on March 31, 1942 (serial# 18083741). He originally applied for a position as an Air Corps Cadet to be a pilot on January 31, 1942 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. On February 1, 1942, Cowan was approved to be an Air Corps Cadet after being cleared. Cowan remained in the Army Air Force as a mechanic for bomber aircraft after realizing he became sick while flying.

He was assigned to the 851st Bombardment Squadron of the 490th Bombardment Group in the 8th Air Force.

Cowan was a ground crew chief in charge of repairing and maintaining the aircraft of the 851st Bombardment Squadron at RAF Eye. As described in his Bronze Star Citation, the aircraft he was tasked with maintaining completed sixty four (64) bombardment missions against the enemy from May 31, 1944 to January 14, 1945.

February 9, 1945 - Bronze Star Citation
“JAY D. COWAN, 18083741, Master Sergeant (then Technical Sergeant and Master Sergeant), Army Air Forces, United States Army. For meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy from 31 May 1944 to 14 January 1945. During this period, extensive battle damage was sustained by the aircraft assigned to him, but despite the handicaps of working in the open air and frequent shortages of equipment, Sergeant Cowan expertly and efficiently supervised all repairs and quickly returned his aircraft to perfect operational condition. As a result of his capable, patient workmanship, the aircraft he maintained completed sixty-four (64) bombardment missions against the enemy without being forced to return because of mechanical difficulty or failure. His technical skill and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.” - Signed by Captain F. E. Fitzpatrick

He also became an aircraft nose artist. Confirmed artwork include:
Booby Trap (B-24H-20-FO 42-94802)
Carolina Moon (B-17G-75-BO 43-37907)
Alice Blue Gown (B-17G-85-BO 43-38400)
5 Pounds with Breakfast (B-17G-95-BO 43-38728)
Looky Looky (B-17G-70-DL 44-6893)
Bobby Sox (B-17G-50-VE 44-8158)

August 26, 1945 Cowan was honorably discharged as a Master Sergeant
1945 school year he was the Art Editor for the university paper
1946 He married Barbara Ellen Cramer
1947 member of the Architecture Society and drew the sketches for the Admissions Office booklet called “The Senior Sells Himself”.
1948 he graduated with a bachelors degree in architecture, later he obtained a masters degree.

By the 1950’s he worked at Burns & Rowe Architect and Engineering as the head architect in Los Angeles.
By the 1960’s he agreed to take a contract with the United States government for one year in Frankfurt, Germany
He later took another one year contract with the United States government in Afghanistan to design schools and office buildings.

1978 he retired officially
1979 he took a six month contract to supervise construction of an Alaskan pipeline
7/2015 - hospice care
7/30/2015 he passed away peacefully at the age of 95
10/25/2017, posthumously awarded the Jubilee of Liberty Medal by the 8th Air Force Historical Society.

Service

Units served with

  • 490th Bomb Group

    490th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 490th Bomb Group, like the 486th and 487th Bomb Groups transitioned from flying B-24 Liberators to B-17 Flying Fortresses, which were used in combat missions from late August 1944. Based at Eye, Suffolk, the Group were focused in the early months...

  • 851st Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 43-37907 Carolina Moon

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 3/6/44; Kearney 17/6/44; Grenier 30/6/44; Assigned 851BS/490BG Eye 2/7/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 9/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 5/12...

  • 43-38400 ALICE BLUE GOWN

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/7/44; Hunter 8/8/44; Grenier 3/9/44; Assigned 851BS/490BG Eye 12/8/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 16/7/45; 4185 BU Independence 18/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 15/12/45. ALICE...

  • 43-38728

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 21/9/44; Dow Fd 15/10/44; Assigned 851BS/490BG Eye 19/10/44; Returned to the USA Bradley 9/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 11/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 9/11/45. £5 WITH...

  • 44-6893

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Lincoln 12/12/44; Grenier 20/12/44; Assigned 851BS/490BG Eye 7/1/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 12/7/45; Independence 18/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 21/12/45. LOOKY LOOKY.

  • 44-8158 BOBBY SOX

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 24//6/44; Langley 27/7/44; Dow Fd 17/8/44; Assigned 4BS/34BG Mendlesham 18/4/44; transferred 850BS/490BG Debach 20/8/44; 332BS/94BG [XM-Q] Rougham 5/45; Returned to the USA 593 BU Charleston 28/10/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation...

  • 42-95282 Booby Trap

    B-24 Liberator

Associated Place

  • Eye

    Military site : airfield
    Eye air base was not a Class A base but was constructed to a less demanding standard by the 827th and 859th Battalions of U.S. Army Engineers in 1943 and was finished in early 1944. Unusually, a group of its hardstandings were on the other side of the...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Loredo, TX, USA 11 October 1919

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 19:22:57 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

family

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 19:20:25 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

Family

Date Contributor Update
07 January 2019 02:38:47 Bluejay89 Changes to biography, events and unit associations
Sources

Grandson and DD214 forms

Date Contributor Update
02 January 2017 00:50:09 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

By his grandson

Date Contributor Update
10 February 2016 22:44:57 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

grandson

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2016 21:17:46 Bluejay89 Changes to role and biography
Sources

his grandson

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2016 22:33:27 Bluejay89 Changes to highest rank and biography
Sources

grandson

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2016 03:58:43 Bluejay89 Changes to awards
Sources

grandson

Date Contributor Update
04 February 2016 02:14:59 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

his grandson

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2016 20:33:32 Bluejay89 Changes to awards
Sources

grandson

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2016 20:26:59 Bluejay89 Changes to middlename and awards
Sources

His grandson has the medals and papers

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2016 19:50:44 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

http://usaaf-noseart.co.uk/artist.php?artist=cowan

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2016 18:28:13 Bluejay89 Changes to role and biography
Sources

His grandson

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2016 18:24:58 Bluejay89 Changes to service number, highest rank, role and biography
Sources

His grandson

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2016 17:31:49 Bluejay89 Changes to biography
Sources

His grandson

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2016 17:27:32 Bluejay89 Changes to biography, person associations and place associations
Sources

I am his grandson who has his medals, papers, and conducted a WW2 biography about him at my High School who honored him and his service in 2006.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:15:05 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit History

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