Rowe, Bert (Interview transcript and video), 2017


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Rowe, Bert (Interview transcript and video), 2017



Smither, James (Interviewer)


Bert Rowe was born in April of 1930 in Saginaw, Michigan, and grew up with his mother in Muskegon Heights. Before graduating high school in 1948, Rowe attended civilian flight school. After graduating, he enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1949 with the expectation of being placed into the infantry. Rowe attended Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. After Boot Camp, he was stationed at a Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, where he began flying for the Corps. He was assigned to a crew of three other mechanics and worked with the Marine Corps’ Corsair ground attack aircraft. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Rowe’s unit was eventually sent to San Francisco, California, before being shipped to Japan. From Japan, Rowe’s crew from Jacksonville was flown to an airbase in Korea where he was appointed as Sergeant overseeing the maintenance of three fighter planes. The airbase would occasionally come under attack by groups of North Korean or Chinese fighter bombers, which prompted the personnel on the base to launch patrol squadrons in pursuit. At night, the base lived under threat of being attacked by a few, sporadic nighttime fighter bombers. In their free time, Rowe and the other troops played baseball while living in six-person tents. During the winter months, the troops relied on their sleeping bags, tent stoves, and outdoor fire pits for warmth. Rowe also recalled briefly visiting Seoul where he and the troops got along well with Korean civilians. Overall, his unit experienced little combat and spent much of its time repairing battle worn aircraft. After being shipped back to the United States in 1952 toward the end of his three-year enlistment, Rowe spent some time in Miami, Florida, serving with a different crew. In Miami, his crew maintained jet fighter aircraft--a newly introduced technology to the U.S. Armed Forces. Once officially discharged from the Corps in 1952, Rowe returned to Michigan, got married, and went to work for Clark Equipment Company as a General Foreman. Reflecting upon his time in the service, Rowe was proud about having served in the Marine Corps and was grateful for the GI Bill for helping him complete his higher education. He also believed that the Marine Corps helped him mature as an individual.




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Rowe, Bert, “Rowe, Bert (Interview transcript and video), 2017,” Digital Collections, accessed December 2, 2023,
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