Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) delivered a Silver Star and several other military decorations to Chief Warrant Officer Two James Bowen, United States Army (Retired) for his service during the Vietnam War.
“Chief Warrant Officer Two James Bowen served his country admirably as a Cobra Gunship pilot during the Vietnam War,” said Langevin. “I was proud to help obtain CW2 Bowen’s military decorations from the National Personnel Records Center to properly commemorate his incredible service to our nation.”
Bowen, a born and raised Rhode Islander, grew up in East Greenwich and currently resides in Narragansett. He enlisted in the Army in 1968, and served as a Cobra Gunship pilot in the Vietnam War where he averaged six missions per day from 1970 to 1971. Following his service, Bowen returned to Rhode Island to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island. After graduating in 1975, Bowen went on to enjoy a long career as a veterinarian before retiring in 2015.
Bowen contacted Langevin to request assistance in obtaining his military decorations from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and Langevin successfully acquired the following military decorations on Bowen’s behalf: Silver Star; Distinguished Flying Cross & Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze (Double); Bronze Star; Air; Medal & Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Large; Army Commendation Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal & Bronze Star Attachment (Triple); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/ Device (1960); Expert Badge & Rifle Bar; Sharpshooter Badge & Auto Rifle Bar & Pistol Bar; and Army Aviator Basic Badge.
The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration for valor that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces. A detailed account of the actions that earned Bowen a Silver Star during his combat experience in Laos can be found on Langevin’s website, summarized here:
“Chief Warrant Officer Bowen distinguished himself on 20 March, 1971 while serving as an aircraft commander of an AH-1G armed helicopter during combat operations in support of the army of the Republican of Vietnam troops in eastern Laos. When the two-lead aircraft were downed, he rushed to their aid engaging the enemy position with devastating suppressing fire. He continued to make low level attacks, destroying enemy positions and allowing the extraction to continue. When the command and control helicopter was shot down and visibility at the extraction site became extremely poor, he coordinated with lift and armed helicopters in order to direct them into the pickup zone and complete the extraction.”