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Harold Gardiner Bowen, Jr.
Vice Admiral, United States Navy
Harold G. Bowen Jr., 87, a retired Navy Vice Admiral who had served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Research and Development and commanded the anti-submarine warfare force of the Pacific Fleet, died of cancer August 17, 2000 at home in Alexandria, Virginia.
Vice Admiral Bowen served in 1969 as president of the Naval Court of Inquiry that investigated the 1968 surrender of the U.S. spy ship Pueblo to North Korea without firing a shot in its own defense.
He had served as Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence before retiring in 1972 after more than 40 years of Navy service.
He was born in Annapolis, the son of a retired Navy Vice Admiral, and he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1933.
During World War II, he was a destroyer commander in the Pacific and participated in combat operations against the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Rabaul and Kavieng. During the Korean War, he commanded a destroyer division in combat operations.
He received a master's degree in metallurgical engineering at Carnegie Institute of Technology, and he had served at the Naval Gun Factory, the Bureau of Ordnance and as an ordnance specialist in an American aid mission to Turkey.
In the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, he had been director of the Atomic Energy Division and commander of the operational test and evaluation force.
As president of the Pueblo Court of Inquiry, Vice Adm. Bowen led the official Navy investigation of the surrender of the lightly armed intelligence-gathering ship Pueblo to Communist naval and air units off the North Korean coast on Jan. 23, 1968.
The Pueblo's captain, Lloyd M. Bucher, testified that resistance would have been futile and that he had an obligation to save the lives of his crew. Bucher and his men spent 11 months as prisoners of the North Koreans, and his decision to surrender set off a heated debate in and outside the Navy.
The Court of Inquiry recommended Bucher be court-martialed, but the Navy did not follow that recommendation, and Bucher retired in 1973.
In retirement, he was a co-founder of Virginia's Dominion Federal Savings and Loan Association and was president of Sparcom, an intelligence analysis company. He was a consultant to Hudson Wire Co. and DuPont Co. in electrical wire and cable technology.
He was an avid sportsman, and in 1998 and 1999, he held the U.S. championship title for squash singles over the age of 85.
His wife of 61 years, Constance Baker Bowen, died in 1999.
A daughter, Edith Easley, died earlier this month.
Survivors include three daughters, Constance Bowen-Camp of Mountain View, Calif., Kathryn Wilder of Soquel, Calif., and Charlotte Phelps of Denver; and six grandchildren.
Note: His father, Harold Gardiner Bowen, Sr., Vice Admiral, United States Navy, is also buried in Arlington National Cemetery.