Honoring Our Heroes
October 1, 2023 | View PDF
The valiant veteran, Col Henry P. Fowler, served 26 years in the united States Air Force. As a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, he was shot down, captured and survived six years as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. His Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) was fighter pilot and Staff Judge Advocate. His 19 medals, decorations, ribbons and citations included: Silver Stars (two), the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Hearts (two) and Air Medals (three).
He was selected as one of the outstanding young men of America in 1994, and he was chosen to be an "Eagle' by Air Command and Staff College's prestigious "Gathering of Eagles" which recognizes heroes past and present. In 2017, Maxwell Air Force Base honored him by dedicating its courtroom in his name.
Col Fowler was born at Washington., D.C. March 6, 1939 to his parents, Henry and Madeleine Fowler. He was reared at Bethesda and Chevy Chase, MD, and graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. He enlisted and served in the u.S. Navy Reserve during 1964-1967. He graduated from George Washington university with a B. A Degree in Sociology and Psychology, and while attending college, he worked in apartment rentals and in construction.
Col Fowler's military career as an officer began when he received his commission February 10, 1965 as a distinguished graduate of the u. S. Air Force Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, Tx. He completed undergraduate Training and was awarded his pilot's wings at Williams AFB, AZ, in May 1966. This was followed by Pilot Systems Operator Training and F-4 Phantom II Combat Crew Training from May to December 1966.
His first assignment was as an F-4 Pilot with the 433rd Tactical Squadron at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, from January 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken Prisoner of War on March 26, 1967. Col Fowler spent 2,157 days in captivity, and he was released during Operation Homecoming February 18, 1973.
POWs in Vietnam struggled to survive horrid conditions, physical pain and psychological deprivation often for years on end. Conditions were appalling. POWs were isolated often for years on end. POWs were isolated, beaten, tortured and paraded for propaganda. American POWs in North Vietnam were released in early 1973 as part of Operation Homecoming, the result of diplomatic negotiations concluding u.S. military involvement in Vietnam. On February 12, 1973, the first of 591 u.S. prisoners began to be repatriated, and return flights continued until late March. After Operation Homecoming, the u.S. still listed roughly 1,350 Americans as prisoners of war or missing in action but whose bodies were not recovered.
After his release, Col Fowler was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries, and then he completed C-141 Starlifter transition training before serving as a C-141 pilot with the 86th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis AFB, CA from February 1974 to October 1975.
He received an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his Juris Doctorate Law Degree from Cumberland University of Law from October 1975 to August 1978. Upon completion of his Law Degree, Col Fowler served in the Civil Law Division at Maxwell AFB, AL, from August 1978 to June 1980.
Upon completion of his Law Degree, Col Fowler served in the Civil Law Division at Maxwell AFB, AL, from August 1978 to June 1980. His next assignment was as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate at Maxwell AFB April to November 1979 and then as Chief of the Military Affairs Division at Maxwell AFB November 1979 to June 1980. Col Fowler then served as an Instructor at the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School (JAG) at Maxwell AFB June 1980 to 1983.
Col Fowler was then deployed to Ramstein AFB, Germany, to serve as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate July 1984 to July 1987. He returned for service in the U.S.A. and served as Staff Judge Advocate at Offutt AFB, NB.
Col Fowler's military career ended August 1, 1991 at Headquarters at Maxwell AFB where his final assignment was Staff Judge Advocate.
Since his military retirement, Col Fowler taught law at the Jones Law School at Faulkner University and at South University both located in Montgomery, AL.
He retired from all employment in 2023 completing exemplary military and law careers.
Col Fowler and his wife, Carol, have been married 10 years. He has two children and four grandchildren by a previous marriage. He has been a member of First Baptist Church, Eastmont Baptist Church and Vaughn Forest Baptist Church at Montgomery. AL. He enjoys reading as well as shooting his pistol at a shooting range.
Col Fowler's is quite modest about his heroic military service and survival. He states, "I am extra proud to have served my country. It was an honor to serve.