More detail on this person: Died from Diabetes Mellitus.
Robert Howard Cowen was a good friend of mine. He was 57 years young when he passed away on Thursday, 09 January 2003, at the family home in Pacific Grove, California. Howard Cowen, Bob's Father, was overseas serving in the Navy during WWII, at the time of the birth of his first born on April 10, 1945, in Monterey. Bob was a lifetime resident of Pacific Grove, excluding the years he lived in Big Sur and his four years in the military. Bob and I went to school from kindergarten through 8th grade. We were competitors, we would raised the bar for each other. He'd push, I'd push back. I would do something well, Bob would do it better. Bob would kick fanny, I would top that, or try to. Our teacher, Mrs. Spangenberg, had us work together in the 3rd grade, laying out the playground for the volley ball courts, tether ball, four square, and other school yard games. We did a good job. At least they let us back into the classroom. And that was good! Bob helped me win the SERGEANT AT ARMS council position in the sixth grade. He designed a skit in the school assembly during the speeches and turned the tide my way. We topped the two other 6th grade classes in flag football: Bob was the quarterback, I was one of the halfbacks. We kicked the other teams' "asspirations" all to heck. And back. We had a great teacher and coach in Mr. Nelson, who showed us how to organize, and to win.
Unfortunately, Mr. Nelson passed away the next year. My family left the Monterey Peninsula in 1959 and I lost track of Bob. He graduated from Pacific Grove High School in 1963, and joined the U.S. Army in 1964. He completed his basic training at Ft. Ord and Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course (WORWAC) with Class 65-1W (Helicopter Flight Training) at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. He completed his flight training in the top ten of his class, just two days before his
20th birthday. After the Official Graduation Ceremony on April 13th , he took the routine leave time and then was sent to Southeast Asia. Bob served in Vietnam and received the Army Aviation Badge, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and one Overseas Bar. He also received a special award of the Air Medal with V Device for Heroism (Sixth Oak Leaf Cluster) on Oct. 23, 1965. He obtained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. Bob returned from Vietnam and worked as an Instructor Pilot at Fort Wolters for the Army for two years until his Honorable Discharge in 1968.
He then worked for Southern Airways of Texas, Inc. as a Contracted Flight Instructor to teach Primary Flight Training to Army Student Pilots at Fort Wolters Primary Helicopter School for two years, until July 1970. He also was a member of The National Guard of the State of Texas for a time while living in Texas with the rank of CWO2. He later worked as an Instructor Pilot for Doss Aviation, Inc., at Fort Rucker, Alabama, teaching Primary Flight training to Army flight students. . He also worked for Columbia Helicopter Inc. in support of logging operations in Northern California and transported surveyors for the James Bay Hydroelectric Project out of Quebec, Canada, as a Helicopter Pilot for Trans Quebec Helicopters, Ltd. Bob and his brothers worked together in their business, "Tub Technics", in Pacific Grove for about seven years. Bob was a past member of the Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scout Troop 115, Monterey Peninsula Order of DeMolay, Pacific Grove Kiwanis Club and was a past director of the Pacific Grove High School Alumni Association. The next time I ran into Bob was when we had High School Class Reunions in 1988 and 1993. It was very good to see Bob again, to shoot the BS, compare notes and life. It was interesting how our lives had continued to parallel each other: the Army and Helicopter Flight School, Fort Wolters and Fort Rucker. We probably passed each other at Wolters in 1968, without realizing we both were there at the same time. I tried to get Bob to come to the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Reunion in Santa Clara, California, in July 1996. It didn't work out for him at the time, and that was the last time I was in touch with him. Bob had just recently been diagnosed for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and given 100% disability from the VA, and was finally able to make great plans for his future. But his health had considerably
deteriorated by the time this was determined. His death certificate listed "Diabetes Mellitus" as a "contributing cause of death". The VA representative noted it could be caused by Agent Orange for which Bob was continuously being tested. This Diabetes showed up just a few months before his passing. Bob is survived by his parents, Howard and Wynette Cowen of Pacific Grove; two sisters, Barbara Seubert of Windsor and Kathy Ireland of Lakewood, Colo.; three brothers, Ron Cowen of Seaside, Gary Cowen of Prunedale and Ken Cowen of Big Sur; and nine nieces and nephews. The family suggests that any memorial contributions be made to Alcoholics Anonymous, 1015 Cass St., Monterey 93940, any Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter, or to the Pacific Grove High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 51396, Pacific Grove 93950-6396. A Memorial Celebration was held at the family home on 18 January 2003.
The Cowen Family asks that any "Memories of Bob" be sent to their Family Home at 507 Beaumont Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 - 4905. I wish I had tried harder, had done more to stay in touch with Bob. Life is precious, Life is fragile, Life is uncertain, and can be gone much too quickly. Reach out and contact your buds, today. Life is uncertain and can be far, far too short.
From: Jim Carroll Jones, 1LT, US ARMY, ORWAC 68-36, "Captain Magic"
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 06/10/2022
Copyright © 1998 - 2022 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association