Richard Cowan (soldier)

Richard Cowan (Soldier)

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Richard Cowan (soldier)

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Richard Eller Cowan (December 5, 1922–December 17, 1944) was a soldier in the United States Army who posthumous received the United States militaries highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during World War II.

He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and after growing up and going to college in Wichita, Kansas he enlisted in the Army. He was sent to Europe to fight in World War II and was killed in the Battle of the Bulge after killing approximately 100 German soldiers. It was for this action that he received the Medal of Honor, which was presented to his family by the President of the United States at a White House ceremony.

Early life and education

Cowan was born December 5, 1922 in Lincoln, Nebraska but grew up in Witchita. After attending school in Witchita he transferred from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, his hometown, to the Oberlin College, in October 1942. His father, grandfather, and uncles were all graduates of Oberlin College, and his greatest wish was to be the third Cowan generation at Oberlin.

Military career

At the time of his death, Cowan was a 22-year-old private first class in M Company, 23rd Infantry, Second Infantry Division. On December 17, 1944, the second day of the Battle of the Bulge, the last great German effort to split the Allied front and reach the English Channel, he was a heavy machine gunner attached to I Company near Krinkelter Wald, Belgium. The company was attacked by a superior force of Wehrmacht infantry and tanks....
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