His design for the pre-fabricated towers earned him the first of his three bronze stars and was even forwarded up to higher command for replication in other combat zones.
Not all of his time was spent on the ground building. Bowman also got to experience flying over the “hump” — a term referring to the Himalayan Mountain Range.
“I was scared to death”, he recalled.
During more pleasant travel, Bowman was able to see the Taj Mahal in Angra, India, and attend an event in which Mahatma Ghandi spoke.
When the war ended, Bowman was at an airfield in which a Japanese Zero had been parked. Recognizing a trophy opportunity, he quickly climbed into the cockpit and, with his tiny pocket knife, cut out the artificial horizon scope, bomb gauge, schematic and joystick to take home as spoils.
Bowman arrived back in the U.S. in late December of 1945, after having served 21 months overseas.
He was reunited with his wife and quickly set to work building that which would become most important to him —his family. Bowman and his first wife, Norma, raised three children: Lynn, Michael and Marilee. With his second wife, Kathleen, Bowman raised another son, Matt.
Bowman was reactivated and served stateside another eight months in 1951 in support of the Korean War.
He spent his civilian career working at his father’s lumber company in Indianapolis, eventually taking over the business along with his brother. Ever the craftsman, Bowman built a sturdy home for his family on Graceland Avenue in Indianapolis.
He operated the business until 1994 when it was destroyed by fire. He and son, Matt, then started another lumber company, from which Bowman retired in 2005 at the age of 85.
Summarizing his father’s lasting contribution, son Michael said, “He has been a hardworking, honest man who has always taken care of his family.”