The Great Charles Taylor formed a Veterans Committie to meet monthly although nothing ever gets done. Jim, A Democrat was on it and worked tirelessly to help us Brother vets. If no one has a objection I would like to honor my fellow Dem & friend. I cant get to rest tonight until it is said and you are my family. Danny
A Tribute to Major. James Bowman By Danny Siler-Joint Service Officer/PAO Past Commander, American Legion Post 192 On Saturday Afternoon, I found out by way of my Commander that I had lost a true friend and Brother! A man who was a patriot and warrior if the truest form. A man who loved this country and was so very proud of it and what it stood for. A man who helped me to understand the true meaning of the words Duty, Honor, Country. He was also a native American who was very proud of his Cherokee Heritage and his people.
It seems like yesterday that I first met Jim. Some brave soul got a bright idea and had talked us into joining the N.C. State Militia due to our military Background to do civil preparedness work while the National Guard was in Desert Storm & Desert Shield. This is where I first saw jim in his natural element. We had been called to Fort Bragg for a training exercise. This event would place Jim back in his old home turf.
We were in his environment then. I remember we had my stepson with us, young & impressionable. As Jim gave him the grand tour of Bragg before we had to report in we drove around base. Jim showed him the Delta Force Compound and then JFK Center for Special Forces. Jim was being Jim, All lit up like a Christmas tree, with joy & pride in his eyes and his smile as he explained everything. This really gave him great pride to do this!
To those of you unfamiliar with Jim he served 24 years in the US Army, most of it with Special Forces working his way to Sgt. First Class and then receiving a battlefield commission to 2nd Lt. Out of his multiple tours in Vietnam he received the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart and Air Medal.
Jim never talked about Vietnam much but he did relate one story to me. I personally feel this story go’s a long way in showing what kind on man my friend was. He had his team in the infamous Ahe Shau Valley. It was almost sunset when the chopper came for them. His team was heavily wounded leaving only four of them intact. As the chopper sat down the left door gunner was also hit by NVA fire. Jim made sure the seriously wounded were place in the chopper first which now had a weight problem. They just happened to be on a small rise so as the chopper got about a foot off the ground Jim and his remaining three good soldiers hopped on the skids, standing there providing covering fire as they flew out.
I know this story to be true because a couple of years later one of his friends who was there told it to me. Jim also taught me other things, How to honor and be at peace with my God, and the best was teaching me to fly fish! We had many enjoyable moments together.
Moments I will forever cherish. To Judy, David & Brenda,I wish I had the words to say to make things right again, But I don’t. I remember how proud Jim was of you and especially when David went into flight school. He was full of pride! A space inside me is now empty with his loss and I will honor him & remember him for whom he was & what he taught me. A nation reveals its character by those it honors. I choose to honor him with this simple poem. Jim first taught it to me and I think he would be honored that I use it. Jim, my Brother Vertran Hero and friend, I shall never forget you!
If you are able, save for them a place inside of you ,and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep if with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind. Major Michael Davis O'Donnell 1 January, 1970 Dak To, Vietnam