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Remembering Lt. Nowlin

Remembering Lt. Nowlin

     I noticed a letter from the family of Lt. Frank Nowlin in the recent Checkerboard, followed by Henry Marmande's response. Along with Henry, John Rarick, J.P. Waddell, and I were in Lt. Nowlin's platoon. We all admired him for his thoughtful and humane leadership.

     The one personal encounter I had with him was just after our first engagement with the enemy. Several of us were anxious to communicate our thoughts on this matter to the folks at home. (The affected platoon was the first platoon and they suffered several casualties and wounded.)

     Of course, our V-mail and letters were censored by the platoon leader and one day after the firefight, he encountered me, took me aside, and quietly explained to me how the effect of my description of the encounter with the enemy was somewhat grossly embellished and really did not convey a positive picture to the homefolks.

     I immediately saw his point and offered to tear up the letter which he returned to me. I apologized and he told me it was OK, we were all uptight about our first casualties. We shook hands and went our ways. Then on Dec. 16 the enemy came with 10 to one or worse superiority. I was fortunate to be overlooked, but my comrade John Rarick was nearby when the rest of the platoon that survived was taken prisoner.

     After the war I became aware of the 99th Division Association and hastened to join and attend my first meeting in Dallas. I was most anxious to meet up with Lt. Nowlin and Captain Nathan and renew old times. My hopes were turned to ashes when I learned they had both died.

     I believe all of us in the second platoon had the greatest respect for Lt. Nowlin. He was a fine man.

Al Boeger C/393