Thomas J. McGowan was awarded a Silver Star (awarded for gallantry in action against an armed enemy of the U.S.) at a Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2000, at the L.A. National Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA. McGowan was awarded the Silver Star by Gov. Gray Davis, under the direct order of President Bill Clinton. It took 55 years for McGowan to be recognized for his courageous actions in World War II, because his case had been accidentally overlooked.
Although, Thomas wasn't born Jewish, he converted in 1950 when he married his wife, Arlene. He currently resides in Southern California.
The citation he was awarded reads as follows:
"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, has awarded the
For gallantry in action on 17 January 1945, in the vicinity of Oberwampach, Luxembourg, while serving as a Platoon Sergeant in Company C, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, during the Battle of the Bulge. Sergeant McGowan, while surrounded by enemy tanks and infantry, courageously maintained his position on a hill overlooking the town of Oberwampach and successfully called in accurate and effective artillery fire on the enemy tanks and infantry who were assaulting the town in a counterattack. Although seriously wounded by enemy tank fire, Sergeant McGowan continued laying down effective machine gun fire on the advancing enemy. Sergeant McGowan's heroic action, under severe enemy fire, contributed greatly to the successful repulsing of the enemy offensive. The gallant and courageous action displayed by Sergeant McGowan on this occassion reflects the highest traditions of military service, and reflects great credit on himself, the 358th Infantry Regiment, and the Army of the United States."