A Memorial Day Tribute: Robert (Bob) P. Cowie
Today is Sunday, the day before Memorial Day in 2015. I have been thinking about putting something in my blog about Memorial Day and wondering what to anchor it with.
Last week, I was sent a video about Sergeant Roy Benavidez and while I encourage you to look him up and be inspired, I wanted something more personal to me, closer to home.
I want to introduce you to Robert P. Cowie, who I knew as Bob.
I met Bob when I moved to Phoenix 35 years ago. I was looking for work in Insurance and I had a background playing Polo. A friend said, “Bob Cowie needs a Benefits guy. Go to the Polo field and introduce yourself.”. I did that and it led to Bob hiring me and we played Polo together for over 10 years.
In all those years, I knew Bob as a gentleman, a man of consummate honor, and a man who valued friendship and honesty.
On one occasion, Bob and I argued vehemently over some business issue. Late that night I received a call at home from him. He told me he wanted to apologize for the argument, he had hired me to run that department and he knew I was an honest man. He told me to do whatever I had argued was the best direction. In fact, we were both wanting the same thing but we had gotten caught up in the argument not the solution. It was Bob’s character to not let animosity rule the day, dictate a business decision nor ruin a friendship.
So now you ask why would I use Bob Cowie for a Memorial Day blog? In all my years of knowing “Mr. Cowie”, I knew he had been a Pilot in World War Two but until I read his obituary lately, I was not aware of what I will share now.
Robert Pillow Cowie – Legacy.com
MAJ USAF WWII SILVER STAR DFC POW FIGHTER PILOT
SILVER STAR PRISONER OF WAR DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS:
Bob flew a P-38 lighting and aside from its dramatic difference in power and appearance from other World War Two fighters it had one other important distinguishing characteristic. The P-38 had its guns in the nose of the plane allowing it to shoot straight ahead. This meant it was not safe to go head on at a P-38 at any firing range (planes with the guns in the wings have a point at which the bullet paths cross and then diverge).
In one mission, another Pilot had aircraft trouble and was required to return to base. Bob accompanied him as protection and they encountered a German fighter group. Bob engaged the enemy and soon ran out of ammunition. He then continued to fly directly at the enemy fighters and threaten them as if he still had the power to shoot them down. Fearing the flight power and the guns of the P-38, they eventually broke off the engagement and Bob and his flight partner returned safe to base.
I knew Bob as my friend, my Polo partner, my employer and as an inspiration in my life.
Now you and I both know Bob as the Hero he was and I present him to you on this Memorial Day.