Ross E. Rowell
Ross Erastus Rowell was born September 22, 1884 at Ruthven, IA.
He died September 6, 1947 at San Diego, CA. He was educated at Iowa State College and the University
of Idaho, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering.
He was commissioned in the Marine Corps August 3, 1906.
Rowell received his primary flight training at Pensacola,
FL and advanced training at the Army Air Corps school at
Kelly Field, TX.
He served in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Philippines and
in France. He was in command of the air squadrons during
the 1927-1928 Nicaraguan campaign, and was decorated for
his service there (below).
Newark Star-Eagle, DFC Ceremony, October 25, 1929 (Source: NASM)
Review this PDF
download (937KB) to learn some of the details of his
air service in Nicaragua. The documents in this download
give a sense for what it was like to manage logistics
and tactical activities and to report on battle in a remote
location. Rowell and a fellow Marine received the DFC
for the engagement documented for July 16, 1929. The news
article, right, is from the Newark Star-Eagle of Friday,
October 25, 1929. It documents the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
On the light side, he kept a pet monkey while in Nicaragua. The Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of May 30, 1928 reports the following.
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, May 30, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)
Rowell landed at Tucson three times, each time flying Marine
Corps aircraft out of San Diego. One of his flights (his
first landing on Tuesday, December 14, 1926) was an east-to-west transcontinental trip. He landed solo in the Boeing FB-1, A-6888 (c/n 742). He noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Transcontinental flight."
About three years later, his second and third landings were in a Curtiss OC-1 Falcon observation plane, A-7945. He landed solo eastbound from San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX on Tuesday, November 19, 1929. On Wednesday he turned around and flew back to San Diego carrying as passenger one Captain Shearer. No reason was given for this round-robin through Tucson. However, these visits were documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of December 4, 1929, shown below. Perhaps this flight was the first leg of Shearer's tip to Seattle, WA via Oakland, CA.
Two Tucson Visits Documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, December 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Soon after he landed at Tucson he became commanding officer
of the aircraft squadrons of the West Coast Expeditionary
Force stationed at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA. He
received a commendation there for his safety record, 8,315
flights of 8,084 hours without a serious crash.
He enjoyed a 40-year career with the Marine Corps. He served as Director of Marine Corps Aviation from May 30, 1935 until March 10, 1939. His WWII experiences are documented on Wikipedia. He rose to the rank of Major General.
UPLOADED: 01/15/07 REVISED: 08/31/11