Mowery, Harry W. (607th)

Harry W. Mowery

Biography: Harry William Mowery was born on April 25, 1916, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Chester R. Mowery and Francis Partsch. His mother died in from pneumonia 1919 and the family went to live with his grandparents in Upper Yoder Township, PA. He completed schooling through the 7th grade and the 1940 U.S. Census shows he was working as a mill hand at Bethlehem Steel. His enlistment record indicates he was working as a nursery and landscaping laborer in 1942.

Harry entered the Army on March 16, 1942, at New Cumberland, PA. At some point, he was assigned to Company B of the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He trained with the unit at a number of locations including: Camp San Luis Obispo, Hunter Liggett Military Reservation and the Desert Training Center, all in California, along with Camp Hood, Texas and Camp Cooke, CA.

Arriving at Liverpool, England, on April 21, 1944, they continued training. Company B landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, on June 23rd and supported the advance on Cherbourg, fighting along the Seves River in July. They joined the drive to Le Mans and envelopment of the Falaise Pocket in August. On August 19th, near Ste. Eugenie, France, one of the 3rd Platoons 3” anti-tank guns received direct hostile small arms and artillery fire which could not be effectively returned from its concealed location. Harry was part of the crew which, in the face of enemy fire, seized the trails of the gun and pushed it forward by hand to an exposed position one hundred yards from the enemy’s line. From this location, the gun destroyed an enemy tank, four other vehicles, and an enemy self-propelled gun which had prevented the advance of our troops. For their heroic action, Harry and all members of the crew received the Silver Star Medal. On the 20th, Harry was LWA (Lightly Wounded in Action) but returned to duty the same day.

Advancing to the Moselle River in September, they supported operations against Metz through November. The unit converted to a self-propelled battalion equipped with M36 tank destroyers in time for the final assault on Metz. Continuing the drive toward the Saar River, they participated in the attack on Saarlautern, Germany, in December.

On December 5th, three Company B tank destroyers (TD’s) were knocked out in the Saarlautern bridgehead. Harry was Lightly Injured in Action (LIA) that day, receiving 1st and 2nd degree burns on his face and hands and was likely a crew member in one of these TD’s. He was evacuated to the 109th Evacuation Hospital and dropped from assignment as a battle casualty. He returned to the unit, from the 53rd Replacement Battalion, and was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company on December 21, 1944.

The unit was deployed to the Ardennes sector in January, 1945, and again committed against the Siegfried Line in February in the Schnee Eifel. Supporting the capture of Koblenz, Germany, in mid-March, they crossed the Rhine River at Boppard on March 25. The 607th continued to drive east through Hessen and Thüringen during April and reached the Czechoslovak border near Plauen by mid-April. Thereafter, they remained in defensive positions until VE Day. On August 4, 1945, Harry was transferred to the 500th Armored Field Artillery Battalion.

In addition to the Silver Star, Harry was awarded a Purple Heart Medal, with Oak Leaf Cluster, the EAME Medal, with credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France and Rhineland, along with the American Campaign, Good Conduct and WWII Victory Medals. He was discharged at the rank of PFC on November 12, 1945, at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA.

Harry returned home and at some point, he married the former Elizabeth R. Lucas who was born in Windber, PA. She was the daughter of Steven J. Lucas and Mary A Hornyak. The couple had four children, Velma E., born in 1946, Barbara A. in 1948, James W. in 1952, Richard T. in 1953 and another daughter. Harry worked as a landscape laborer for the Johnstown Department of Parks and Public Property.

Harry passed away on April 25, 1998 and was buried in the Grandview Cemetery, Southmont, PA. Thank you to Harry’s granddaughter, Tracy, for use of the photos of her grandfather. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor B. Felix for use of the grave marker photo.