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Joseph  Rutledge
Major Joseph Edward Bower
Major Joseph Edward Bower was a true hero as were all of the pilots flying during Vietnam. To set the record straight he was a Major not a Colonel on 3, August, 1965. He is my uncle and I will always remember him. I would like to say thank you to the other pilots flying with him that day. Pilots Koenitzer, Holmes, and O'Neil. I know you did everything possible to try and ensure his safety. My only hope is that one day he will no longer be listed as MIA.
May 18, 2015

Lois  Blaylock
I also wore an MIA bracelet for Col Joseph Bower, I no longer have the bracelet as it was in a storage unit which I lost. But I never forgot my soldier and just today have read the details on what they think happened to him. Peace and Prayers for him, thank you for your service. Love to you always my soldier.
Mar 30, 2015

Roy  Spencer
Vietnam Veteran-Air Force Pilot
Lest We Forget Our Heroes
Major Joseph E. Bower was an F105D pilot assigned an operational mission over North Vietnam on August 3, 1965. During the mission, Bower's aircraft may have been was struck by hostile fire but his wingman reported 'perhaps, but the aircraft had problems with the turbine blades fracturing due to metal fatigue, or something of that nature.' In any case, Bower radioed that he was heading for sea (to facilitate easier rescue). Shortly afterward, the aircraft became uncontrollable. His element followed him as he attempted to make it to the sea. A wingman stated that he 'was able to get within a thousand feet of him off his left wing. When I observed that his A/C was on fire, I radioed Joe that his aircraft was on fire and to bailout (, “JOE! YOU’RE ON FIRE… BAILOUT NOW!!!). Up until the telltale 50-foot long orange flame appeared coming from the tailpipe, a flame usually indicative of failed turbine blades (buckets), the aircraft flew normally. He immediately responded to my instructions for ejection. I observed that before he separated from his chair, which occurs shortly after ejection, his aircraft exploded into several burning pieces. His chute opened immediately after chair separation. After full deployment of the canopy, I observed that a shroud line crossed over the canopy, which produced two canopies. This condition could have been corrected if Joe was conscious by cutting the errant line(s). I reduced my airspeed to 220 knots and lowered my flaps. I circled him until he hit the water. I noted a pronounced “shockwave” of water as he entered the sea, which appeared to me that he had fallen much faster than normal. His chute settled on him and all evidence of his chute disappeared rapidly.' He was at that time about 20 miles southeast of the city of Vinh in Ha Tinh Province, North Vietnam, very near the coastline. Bowers was d Missing in Action. On August 9, unspecified information was received by U.S. intelligence that Bower died at the time of the incident. He was then d Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. Because his remains have not been recovered and returned, Bower is listed by the Department of Defense as unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.
Aug 3, 2014

John  Plumhoff
Fellow Vietnam Vet
Lest We Forget
Major Joseph Bower's name was read this evening at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC in remembrance of his and his family's sacrifice
Nov 7, 2012

Denise  Berger
Wearing braclet
Brewster MA 02660 USA
I have been wearing Col Joseph Bower's bracklet since 1972. The only time I have taken if off was for operations but as soon as I could I placed it back on my wrist. I truly believe that they will some day find his remains which will put his family to ease. This was started to support the troops and today the troops still need our support.
Sep 12, 2011

Karen  Ward
I wore his POW bracelet in the 1970
Reading MA 01867 US
Colonel Joseph Bower POW Bracelet
I have a POW/MIA bracelet I have had since the 1970's with Colonel Joseph Bower engraved on it. During the war, I wore this proudly. I learned later that he had been killed in action when his plane was shot down over the ocean. I have always kept this in his honor. I recently found this website and discovered that it is customary to return the bracelet to the serviceman's family. Does anyone know how to reach them? I realize it has been a long time but I would like to find out if his family would like to have this bracelet. If anyone can put me in contact, I would appreciate it. You can email me at and put Colonel Joseph Bower in the subject line. I would like to extend my thanks and blessings to all veterans. You will always be in my heart.
Jun 12, 2010

Malcolm  Kirby
USAF Veteran - 191st photo recon.
Rest in Peace, my Brother
You will not be forgotten...
Aug 3, 2008

manny g
Fellow Veteran 69-70 An Khe
Union Gap, WA. 98903
“You are Remembered”
Peace and condolence, to the family and friends. “He which hath no stomach, to this fight, let him depart. But we in it, shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers!! For he today, that sheds his blood with me, shall always be my brother.” Rest in peace brave soldier, you have not been forgotten. (W.Shakespeare) May God Bless you, for your Sacrifice!!!
Aug 3, 2007

Bill Gallenstein
USAF Veteran
Zephyrhills FL 33541 USA
A very proud cold war USAF veteran remembers you on this day. My God bless you and your family always. I salute you, Thank you
Jun 20, 2007

Carl Burgess
Fellow, Air Force, Vietnam Vet.
Sir, Thank You, For Your Service. You, are not forgotten. May, God Bless You.
August 3 2006.

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