WASHINGTON, D.C. — The person who hatched the concept to convey a bit of historical past to Morgantown was honored by the Nationwide Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Jack Bowman, a former regulation college professor at WVU, was the coed physique president at West Virginia College in 1959, discovered by way of a letter of plans to scrap the united statesS. West Virginia. He started the marketing campaign to get a bit of the ship to placed on everlasting show on campus as a tribute to all who served.
“Mr. Bowman contacted the Navy and requested for one thing, a bit of memorabilia, to be housed on campus,” defined Elizabeth Hotchkiss, Chair of the DAR’s Historic Preservation Committee through the group’s 132nd Continental Congress in Washington D.C. final week.
Bowman was introduced the DAR’s Historic Preservation Medal for his efforts to protect the mast of the well-known warship at his alma mater. It was a challenge Bowman believed was worthy of the hassle contemplating the ship’s legacy and affect on the Conflict within the Pacific.
“I organized the college’s pupil authorities and determined to convey the ship’s mast again to the campus as a memorial to all West Virginians who’ve died serving our nation in conflict time,” mentioned Bowman in accepting the DAR’s award.
The ship was closely broken within the assault on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941. Aboard the West Virginia, two officers, together with the commanding officer, and 106 enlisted males had been killed. She was towed to a shipyard in Bremerton, Washington the place repairs had been made. She was again on the excessive seas and again within the struggle by 1944.
Throughout the Battle of Surigao Strait in October 1944, the West Virginia sank the Japanese battleship Yamashiro. It was the final battleship engagement in historical past. From there the West Virginia supported U.S. landings at Mindoro, Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The united statesS. West Virginia put in 223 days of fight after her repairs. She was the one ship which survived Pearl Harbor to be available in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered aboard the united statesS. Missouri.
Bowman acquired a letter in 1959 which introduced the West Virginia could be scrapped on the similar shipyard in Washington the place she had been rebuilt after Pearl Harbor. The brand new mast, which had been put in after Pearl Harbor, was provided up.
“All he needed to do was get it moved throughout the nation to West Virginia,” mentioned Hotchkiss.
Initially, Bowman had loads of assist. However it wasn’t an in a single day process and the momentum he loved early on for his concept began to bitter.
“I introduced our intention to safe the mast and the information unfold shortly by way of a really excited pupil physique. Nevertheless, after a few weeks when the mast had not arrived, I grew to become the goal of ridicule,” Bowman defined.
In actual fact, it was a course of which took a number of years, however at some stage in his tenure as pupil physique president, Bowman stayed the course and endured withering criticism.
“I defined in useless we needed to wait first till the Navy would give us the mast. Then till the ship had been scrapped sufficiently so the mast could possibly be eliminated and at last till we discovered some method to convey the mast from the west coast to Morgantown. I mentioned we couldn’t ship two guys in a pickup truck out to Bremerton, Washington,” he mentioned.
Bowman left workplace within the spring of 1961 and was nonetheless the goal of ridicule for what many perceived as a folly. Nevertheless, within the spring of 1963, the mast lastly arrived and was put in on the downtown campus on the nook of Faculty and College Avenues. At the moment it stands as a beacon overlooking the downtown campus.
Though honored for his work, Bowman provided credit score to many extra who continued to work on the challenge to make it occur. Bowman famous his successor at Scholar Physique President Darrell McGraw who was in workplace when the mast was devoted. He additionally credited his Vice President on the time in addition to Congressman Harley Staggers, U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, and WVU Vice-President Joe Gluck who Bowman mentioned served as a private confidant throughout some tough days.
“I’m proud to be remembered because the Scholar Physique President who started the hassle to convey the mast again to our campus, but it surely’s essential to grasp this was a joint effort that concerned an amazing many individuals. I proudly settle for this honor personally and on behalf of many others on and off our campus,” Bowman informed the group.
He additionally thanked Hotchkiss, Dr. Joan Gibson, Regent of the Woodburn Chapter of the DAR, and West Virginia State Committee Chair April Norris in his acceptance speech.