282,645 Pages

Donald W. McGowan
Major General McGowan as National Guard Bureau Chief
Born (1899-08-30)August 30, 1899
Died September 24, 1967(1967-09-24) (aged 68)
Place of birth Orange, New Jersey
Place of death Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1916–1963
Rank Major General
Unit New Jersey National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Commands held 102nd Cavalry Regiment
50th Armored Division
Army National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Battles/wars Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
Bronze Star Medal
Other work President, United States Armor Association

Donald Wilson McGowan (August 30, 1899 – September 24, 1967) was a United States Army Major General who served as commander of the 50th Armored Division and Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

Early life[edit | edit source]

McGowan was born on August 30, 1899, in Orange, New Jersey. He graduated from high school in Orange in 1916, and enlisted in the New Jersey National Guard’s Company I, 5th Infantry Regiment. He served with his regiment in Texas during in the Pancho Villa Expedition.[1]

World War I[edit | edit source]

McGowan was promoted to Sergeant Major of the 114th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division in 1918. He served in Europe, and took part in the Meuse-Argonne and Alsace campaigns. In late 1918 the Army asked commanders to recommend students from the ranks for attendance at the United States Military Academy, and McGowan's brigade commander, John McAuley Palmer, recommended him. McGowan attended West Point from 1919 to 1922, but resigned without graduating and returned to the New Jersey National Guard.[2]

Post World War I[edit | edit source]

In 1922 McGowan received a commission as a Second Lieutenant. He held a variety of command and staff positions as he advanced through the ranks, primarily with the 44th Infantry Division. In 1935 he graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College. He was a Lieutenant Colonel when he served as New Jersey’s Assistant Adjutant General from 1936 to 1941.[3][4]

World War II[edit | edit source]

In 1941 he was appointed to command of the 102nd Cavalry Regiment. He served in Europe, and participated in the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach.[5]

Later in 1944 he was assigned as Provost Marshal for the Normandy Base Section, and his responsibilities expanded to include Britanny, the Lower Seine, Belgium and the Netherlands.[6] After the war McGowan returned to his position as New Jersey’s Assistant Adjutant General. He was subsequently appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Department of Defense.[7]

Post World War II[edit | edit source]

In 1947 McGowan was promoted to Brigadier General. From 1948 to 1955 he was commander of the 50th Armored Division as a Major General.[8]

From 1955 to 1959 McGowan was Chief of the Army Division at the National Guard Bureau.[9] In 1959 he was named Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and he served until 1963.[10]

During his tenure the National Guard successfully mobilized more than 65,000 members during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. In addition, the number of state Officer Candidate Schools increased from 5 to 51. The National Guard also converted its anti-aircraft weapons to Nike-Ajax and Hercules missiles and organized its first Special Forces units.[11]

At his retirement McGowan was the last known Villa Expedition veteran to still be serving in the U.S. military.[12]

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

McGowan’s awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal (Army), and the Bronze Star Medal (2).[13][14]

Retirement and death[edit | edit source]

After retiring from the military McGowan served as President of the United States Armor Association.[15] He died at his home in Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey on September 24, 1967 from the effects of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.[16] He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 3, Site 2067-E.[17]

Family[edit | edit source]

McGowan was married to Helen Margaret S. Schoeffel. They had four sons and one daughter, and all the sons all served in the military. Their daughter Margaret graduated from the University of Vermont and was a teacher in Vergennes and a writing instructor at the University of New Hampshire.[18][19]

Donald McGowan (died December 15, 1966) was a career member of the New Jersey Army National Guard.[20]

Colonel Robert Silber "Bob" McGowan (died November 4, 2001) graduated from West Point in 1952 and served as an aide to General Maxwell D. Taylor. He served 3 tours in Vietnam, including one as commander of 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division. His was the most decorated member of his West Point class, and his awards included: Distinguished Service Cross; Silver Star (4); Legion of Merit; Distinguished Flying Cross (2); Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor (5), and Purple Heart (3).[21][22]

John "Jay" McGowan flew helicopters as a casualty evacuation pilot during the Vietnam War.[23] After his military service he flew for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving as chief pilot of the authority's police helicopter operation until retiring shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.[24]

After his military service Duncan McGowan became an architect in Concord, New Hampshire. He and his artist wife Mary raised two daughters, one who became an architect and one who became professor of South Asian studies at the University of Vermont.[25][26][27]

General McGowan's other grandchildren have continued the family legacy of public service. J. Stuart "Stu" McGowan, Jay's oldest son, is a successful real estate developer in Burlington, Vermont, and has been active in creating neighborhoods which promote affordable housing and socioeconomic diversity.[28]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald’s Legislative Manual, 1960, page 322
  2. National Guard Association of the United States, The National Guardsman, Volume 21, 1967, page 10
  3. National Guard Association of the United States, Official Proceedings, Volumes 84-86, 1962, page 164
  4. New Jersey Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1937, page 10
  5. Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald’s Legislative Manual, 1960, page 322
  6. Army and Navy Journal Inc., Army, Navy, Air Force Journal, Volume 93, Issues 1-26, 1955, page 178
  7. Thomas F. Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald’s Legislative Manual, 1955, page 322
  8. National Guard Association of the United States, Proceedings, 1963, page 164
  9. United States. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Hearing record, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1964, 1963, page 107
  10. U.S. Air Force, Air Force Magazine, Volume 46, 1963, page 91
  11. National Guard Bureau, Biography, Donald W. McGowan, accessed April 18, 2013
  12. Associated Press, Ocala Star-Banner, National Guard Bureau Chief to Leave Post, August 30, 1963
  13. Military Times, Hall of Valor, Distinguished Service Medal Citation, Donald W. McGowan, accessed April 18, 2013
  14. Headquarters, U.S. Forces, European Theater, General Orders 307, 10 November 1945, page 2
  15. Association of the United States Army, Army magazine, Volume 14, 1963, page 22
  16. New York Times, Gen. D.W. M'Gowan Found Dead in Home, September 25, 1967
  17. Arlington National Cemetery, Gravesite locator, entry for Donald W. McGowan, accessed April 18, 2013
  18. Army and Navy Journal Incorporated, The Journal of the Armed Forces, Volume 105, Issues 1-26, 1967, page 86
  19. Margaret Shirley, University of Vermont, Vermont Quarterly magazine, From 1955 to 1979 to 2010, Spring 2010
  20. Bucks County Courier Times, Obituary, Donald McGowan, December 16, 1966
  21. United States House of Representatives, House Concurrent Resolution 112, Commending the Life of Robert Silber McGowan, 2001
  22. Trevor Armbrister, A Matter of Accountability: The True Story of the Pueblo Affair, 2004, page 238
  23. James R. Chiles, The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks: The Story of the Helicopter, 2008, page 167
  24. Aviation International News, Port Authority pilot speaks out on 9/11, July, 2002
  25. Sarah M. Earle, Concord Monitor, Gallery's Founder Steps Down: Mary McGowan Brought a Down-Home Air to Her Downtown Space, September 22, 2011
  26. Concord Historical Society, The Clock Tower, 2013
  27. University of Vermont, Facultu biographies: Abigail McGowan, accessed July 11, 2013
  28. Kathryn Flagg, Seven Days, Burlington's King Street Neighborhood Looks to Build Up — Without Gentrifying, September 9, 2012

External links[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
MG Winston P. Wilson (Acting)
Chief of the National Guard Bureau
1959 – 1963
Succeeded by
MG Winston P. Wilson

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.