Lieutenant General Alpha L. Bowser



Lieutenant General Bowser was born 21 August 1910 at Crafton, Pennsylvania, and graduated from high school there in 1928. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy that year, and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant upon graduation, 2 June 1932.

Second Lieutenant Bowser completed basic school at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in June 1933, and later saw duty on the USS Texas. In July 1934, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade, Quantico, Virginia. He served there until July 1935, when he was promoted to first lieutenant.
First Lieutenant Bowser then entered the Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and upon completing the course in June 1936, returned to Quantico. In June 1937, he joined the Marine Detachment on the USS Nevada. He was promoted to captain in October 1938.

Detached from the USS Nevada in January 1939, Capt Bowser was transferred to San Diego, California. He served on the 2d Brigade Staff and commanded artillery batteries there until June 1940, when he returned to Quantico to serve as an artillery instructor for two years. He was promoted to major in May 1942.

In July 1942, Maj Bowser joined the 3d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, serving initially as Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 12th Marines, and later as Assistant G-3. He moved with his unit to San Diego that October, and sailed for the Pacific area in January 1943. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1943.

Lieutenant Colonel Bowser served as an observer during the New Georgia operation in August 1943, and as Assistant G-3 and G-3 of the 3d Marine Division during the Bougainville operation in November and December 1943. For heroic achievement in the latter assignment, he was awarded his first Bronze Star Medal.

In February 1944, LtCol Bowser was given command of the 3d 105mm Howitzer Battalion, 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division. He was awarded a second Bronze Star Medal for outstanding service in this capacity during the recapture of Guam, and his first Legion of Merit with Combat "V" during the Iwo Jima campaign.

Following his return to the United States in May 1945, LtCol Bowser was stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps as Chief, Records Branch, Personnel Department, until May 1946. He then served for three years on the Staff of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico. He was promoted to colonel in August 1949.

That September, Col Bowser joined the Staff of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in Honolulu, Hawaii, as Assistant G-3 and Naval Gunfire Officer. He served in this capacity until July 1950 when he was ordered to Korea. There he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Marine Division. For outstanding service during the Inchon-Seoul and Chosin Reservoir actions, respectively, he was awarded a second and third Legion of Merit with Combat "V".

After his return from Korea in May 1951, Col Bowser served at Camp Pendleton, California, as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, of the Marine Corps Base, until February 1952, when he became Chief of Staff of the 3d Marine Division. In July 1952, he was ordered to Paris, France, where he served until July 1954 as Staff Officer, Plans Branch, and Senior Marine Officer, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE). On his return to Washington, he entered the National War College in August 1954, completing the course in June 1955.

Transferred to San Diego that July, Col Bowser began a year's duty on the Staff of Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, as Assistant Chief of Staff for Troop Operations and Training, and Force Marine Officer. In August 1956, he assumed command of the Recruit Training Command, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. He was promoted to brigadier general in September 1956.

Brigadier General Bowser served in San Diego until June 1958, when he became Assistant Division Commander, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton. In January 1959, he was assigned as Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Twentynine Palms, California. While serving in this capacity he was promoted to major general in July 1960.

In October 1960, MajGen Bowser was transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, and later as Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs. Upon his detachment in July 1963, he served for two years as Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune.

Nominated for three-star rank by President Lyndon B. Johnson in March 1965, LtGen Bowser began his last active duty assignment as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, with headquarters at Norfolk, Virginia, in July 1965. For service in this capacity from 1 July 1965 until 30 June 1967, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. He retired from active duty the same day.

Lieutenant General Bowser died at his home in Kailua, Hawaii, on 13 July 2003 at the age of 92. A memorial service was held for him at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

A complete list of LtGen Bowser's medals and decorations include: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" and two Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards, the Bronze Star Medal with Gold Star in lieu of a second award, the Air Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars indicative of a second and third award, the Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze stars indicative of second and third awards, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with silver star in lieu of five bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Korean Service Medal with silver star in lieu of five bronze stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and three Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

Marine Corps University