Bowen, Harold, Sr., VADM

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Last Rank
Vice Admiral
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1935-1939, Bureau of Steam Engineering
Service Years
1905 - 1947
Vice Admiral
Vice Admiral

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Bowen, Harold, Sr., VADM.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Providence, Rhode Island
Last Address
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/06/1883
DATE OF DEATH: 08/01/1965

Date of Passing
Aug 01, 1965
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1914, American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE)
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Harold Gardiner Bowen, Sr.
Vice Admiral,  United States Navy

Harold G. Bowen was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on 6 November 1883. Graduating from the Naval Academy in 1905, he was commissioned in 1907, and in 1914 received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. This set him into a lifelong naval career with the mission to improve the Navy’s machinery. Throughout the 1930s he served as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Engineering (1931-1935) and then as Chief of the Bureau (1935-1939). In that position he modernized the Navy with such changes as high-pressure, high-temperature steam for propulsion, high-speed turbines, and alternating current. Appointed Director of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1939, Bowen was also Technical Aide to the Secretary of the Navy. As such Bowen proposed, on 11 October 1940, a program for development of radio ranging equipment (radar) which formed the basis for the Navy’s pre-war development program. In addition to identification equipment and ship-based radar, this program included an airborne radar for surface search.

When his assignment to the NRL came to an end, Bowen became Special Assistant to James V. Forrestal, Undersecretary of the Navy (1942-1944) and then Secretary of the Navy (1944-1947). Sec. Forrestal established the Office of Research and Inventions (ORI, soon renamed Office of Naval Research [ONR]) on 19 May 1945 and appointed Radm. Bowen as its first Chief. On 26 January 1946 Bowen sent a six-point policy proposal to the Secretary of the Navy and the CNO, on the subject "Nuclear Energy for the Navy." Although Admiral Bowen did not succeed in making the NRL a center of nuclear research, he secured for the Laboratory the right to do the kind of basic research that would earn it respect in the scientific community at large. Bowen relinquished his post in 1947 and retired with the rank of Vice Admiral. Vadm. Harold G. Bowen died on 1 August 1965 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Admiral Bowen Award, named after him, annually honors one patent which is determined to have had a significant impact upon the operation of the Navy.

NOTE: His son, Harold Gardiner Bowen, Jr., Vice Admiral, United States Navy, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Other Comments:
Harold Gardiner Bowen, Senior (1883-1965) 
Born on November 6, 1883 in Providence, Rhode Island. 
Graduated from Annapolis in 1905 and commissioned in 1907.
M.A. from Columbia University in 1914.
Assistant Chief, then Chief of the Bureau of Engineers 1931-1939. Rear Admiral in June 1938. 
Director of the Naval Research Laboratory 1939-1942. Special Assistant to the Under Secretary, then Secretary of the Navy 1942-1947.  Vice Admiral in July 1946. Retired in June 1947.
Decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal. 
Died on August 1, 1965.

USS Bowen (DE 1079) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
USS Bowen (DE-1079/FF-1079) was a Knox-class frigate in the United States Navy. She was named for Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen, Sr. (1883-1965), former chief of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, who was safely and honorably deceased at the time. Admiral Bowen's son and namesake, Harold G. Bowen, Jr., also retired as a Vice Admiral and presided over the U.S. Navy's 1969 inquiry into the Pueblo incident.

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)US Navy
  1901-1905, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1935-1939, Bureau of Steam Engineering
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval AcademyColumbia University
  1901-1905, United States Naval Academy
  1912-1914, Columbia University
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