Rank and organization:   Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Birth:   13 September
1920, Greenville, S.C.
Accredited to:   South Carolina.
Citation:   For conspicuous
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty while serving with a marine division, in action against enemy
Japanese forces during extremely hazardous landing operations at Cape Torokina,
Bougainville, Solomon Islands, on 1 November 1943. Forced to pass within
disastrous range of a strongly protected, well-camouflaged Japanese 75-mm.
regimental gun strategically located on the beach, our landing units were
suffering heavy losses in casualties and boats while attempting to approach
the beach, and the success of the operations was seriously threatened.
Observing the ineffectiveness of marine rifle and grenade attacks against
the incessant, devastating fire of the enemy weapon and aware of the urgent
need for prompt action, Sgt. Owens unhesitatingly determined to charge
the gun bunker from the front and, calling on 4 of his comrades to assist
him, carefully placed them to cover the fire of the 2 adjacent hostile
bunkers. Choosing a moment that provided a fair opportunity for passing
these bunkers, he immediately charged into the mouth of the steadily firing
cannon and entered the emplacement through the fire port, driving the guncrew
out of the rear door and insuring their destruction before he himself was
wounded. Indomitable and aggressive in the face of almost certain death,
Sgt. Owens silenced a powerful gun which was of inestimable value to the
Japanese defense and, by his brilliant initiative and heroic spirit of
self-sacrifice, contributed immeasurably to the success of the vital landing
operations. His valiant conduct throughout reflects the highest credit
upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)