Saturday, December 26, 2009


This is a long overdue tribute to my personal hero...a very good
and kind man with a great sense of humor and my teacher. He
was known to me as 'Chief', but his name is Paul Bowers, Sr.

I have always had the greatest respect for him, and instinctively
knew upon meeting him that he was the best in the platoon, if not
the company or battalion...I grew up in a rough environment, and
had to have sharp instincts to survive my childhood. I played in
swamps as a boy too... But, I would've been dead if not for Chief,
and not written this.

I'm so used to thinking of 'him as 'Chief'. I was in his fire team with
Golf 2/3 for a bit. Chief/Paul saved mine and many lives...more than
once, and I not only wish to thank him,(how do you thank a man for
saving your life multiple times?) but to tell everyone how much he
meant to this FNG(guy).

I was walking point once when Chief stopped me to point something
out and I think to remind me of the dangers as I was coming over the
top of a hill (ambush territory-I had a bad feeling about the layout of
the place-this part is new- the hill was flat and had chest high
grass, and was ringed by trees
). But, I really think that it was for
Chief to take a look for himself. He saved many lives by doing so.

I was waiting for Chief to get back into his spot when I was told to
'freeze', or words to that effect. Chief came back, and motioned me to
step back. He carefully went through the bushes I’d been pushing through,
and showed me a green vine that was flat against my chest. It was a trip
wire. My next half-step and I’d been blown to bits by an anti-tank mine
on one side of me and an anti-personnel mine on the other side.

It could've taken 8-12 men dead and wounded; that would have bothered
me more than my own death! If we were ambushed as well, then much of
the platoon could be gone. That’s how sharp, or aware of everything around
him he was. He had seen something and came back. I and others are alive

I learned from everything that he did...and tried not to 'piss him off'
as I didn't want to see his anger;-)

Chief was important to the platoon. It was a special to see him laugh
or smile.

I was with him for a bit on FSB Cunningham in the A Shau valley, and he
saved many lives...(Chief do you remember our first LP there-for the
reader an LP is
a listening post...the most forward and exposed
just outside the perimeter wire)? Others
got blown away, but Chief/Paul had a plan...and we survived! We almost
got blown away by our own men as we came back into the perimeter.

Paul you may not have been keeping count, but I sure did. I felt so
bad leaving Chief and our platoon that I volunteered again, but was
sent to 3/1.

Whenever people have asked me how I survived I have always told
them this:

First, I know that there is a God, because I can't explain the times
I was almost killed...and Chief wasn't around:-)

Secondly, there was Chief who handled everything else when God
was too busy with everyone else!

Thirdly, I was lucky.

Fourth, and again, there was Chief.

And then my own instincts...and Chief again to correct and hone
those skills.

On this holiday there are those who can walk, talk, laugh, see
children and grandchildren, enjoy life...because of one man
Paul Bowers Sr.,

To me he is and will always be
My Chief.

Paul Meuse...the FNG radioman

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