Samuel Alexander Bowerman
Coxswain, United States Navy
Samuel A. Bowerman 23, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel W. Bowerman, of Lima, Ohio entered the service on October 28, 1942. He trained as a gunner at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. He went overseas from San Francisco in 1943.
Samuel was attached to the U.S.S. Mullany (DD528) a destroyer. He served with credit in seventeen major operations. The Mullany fought the Japanese from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska in August of 1943 to Okinawa in April of 1945.
On April 6, 1945, the Mullany was in action off Okinawa. At 17:45 hours, all hell broke loose for the ship.
A squadron of Japanese Kamikaze planes sighted the Mullany. Four of them started a strafing attack. The first plane, a Nakajima Ki-43 fighter was hit by anti-aircraft fire from the Mullany. In flames it crashed into the aft deck housing. Depth charges began exploding and the ship was on fire from the quarter deck to the fantail. Forward gunners downed two of the other planes. The fourth flew away damaged.
There was little water pressure to fight the fire. At 18:29 hours, Captain Momm ordered “ABANDON SHIP.” The Mullany survived, but 21 of the crew were killed, 9 were missing. and 36 wounded. Samuel’s parents got the news in the following words of Captain Albert Momm.
USS Mullany (528)
April 12, 1945
My Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bowerman
Your Son Samuel has been officially classified as missing in action. At about 5:30 in the afternoon of April 6, 1945, he was at his battle station aiming a large anti-aircraft gun, when an explosion from an enemy hit occurred. He was then seen on the after part of the ship helping with the wounded. He threw off his life jacket, which had caught fire, and was later seen to have jumped into the water without a life jacket. A long scouring of the sea afterward failed to find a trace of him. He was not picked up by any of the rescue ships which remained in the area until the following morning. I feel that your son died in the last measure of devotion to the Navy and to his country.
Words cannot express the shock and sorrow of myself and the rest of Samuel’s shipmates in the loss of so fine a man. His willingness to work hard, to help his shipmates wherever possible, and his nonchalant nature made him popular on board ship. Often he spoke of you, of his fiancée Jean, and his brother who had been in the Army. He liked the farm, and had looked forward to going back again.
We are all proud of Samuel, and his sacrifice and devotion to duty will not be forgotten.
Albert O. Momm, Commander, U.S. Navy Commanding.
Samuel A. Bowerman’s name is among 28,000 etched in marble at the Courtyards of the Missing. The courtyards are a part of The Cemetery of the Pacific, also called Punch Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. The entrance marker says “In these gardens are recorded the names of Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country and whose Earthly resting place is known only to God.”
Samuel’s story was hidden in a family suitcase for over 60 years. Once discovered it became the inspiration for the documentary released on May 29, 2012. It can be found on You Tube and iTunes and is titled “Dan Rather Remembers Pearl Harbor.”