PFC Rex Merrill Bowers
Co. C, 134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division
Killed in Action 25 January 1945
at Weiswampach, northern Luxembourg
-- Marilyn Bowers Jensen --
My father, Rex Bowers, was born December 18, 1920 in Burley, Idaho. He is one of five children of Elias and Hannah Bowers. He graduated from Burley High School
in 1938 and married his high school sweetheart, Myrtle Smith. He affectionately called his young wife "Smitty." They had three children, Marilyn Jean, Gary Rex
and Diana Gail. I was five years old when my father was killed. Gary Rex was three years old, and my sister, Diana Gail was six months old. Dad saw Diana for
the first when he was home on furlough in November of 1944, prior to being sent overseas.
Dad received his induction notice in the spring of 1944 and took his basic training at Camp Hood, Texas. Following basic training and a short furlough home in
November of 1944, he was shipped overseas on December 22, 1944, aboard the British cruise liner, the Aquitania, to the Port of Grenock, Scotland.
Landing at LeHarve on New Year's Eve of 1944, he was transported by train and truck to the front line, joining General Patton's Third Army during the Battle of the
Bulge as a rifleman and a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man. On January 18, 1945, in his last letter home, Dad wrote,
On January 25, 1945, units of the first battalion, which included Company C, of the 134th Infantry Regiment, of the 35th Division approached Weiswampach in northern
Luxembourg at about 3:30 in the afternoon. They had jumped off before daylight that morning and had walked through waist deep snow all day.
"It is really rough and I don't mean maybe. A lot of the time a
guy goes on sheer guts. See you someday." Love Rex"
The village sits on a high point, overlooking meadows and heavily wooded forests to the west. In 1945, the Germans had an excellent observation point from the steeple
of the church at the edge of town. From that steeple and the church yard they could observe the Allied troop movement. In a final desperate move, this village became
the perfect place for the Germans to hold up until they could get their men and equipment across the Our River into Germany.
As the troops struggled through the deep snow, the fire got heavy and accurate. The battle lasted until 5:30 in the evening. Throughout the night, the people could
hear cries from the soldiers in the field. Twelve men from Company C were killed that day, including my father, PFC Bowers, 1st Lt. Larrieu, S.Sgt. Cooper, S.Sgt. Crider,
Tec 5 Show, Tec 5 Stacey, Cpl. Polsen, and PFCs Jones, Kanapka, Palladine, Patrick and Scott. They came from across the United States Ñ from Mississippi to South Carolina,
Pennsylvania to Kansas to Idaho.
Dad found peace in a temporary U.S. Military Cemetery at Grand Failly, France. In December, 1948 he was shipped home to Burley, Idaho where he was buried in the family plot.
The people of Weiswampach are, to this day, extremely grateful to their American liberators. A bronze and stone monument serves as a reminder of America's sacrifice for
their freedom. They remember. More importantly, my dad and his buddies who slugged through the deep cold snow with duty, honor and courage are remembered and honored.