Service Number: 286460
Birth and Early Life:
Henry Kowal was born in New York in 1919. His father Joseph ran a restaurant in Mount Vernon; Henry studied for his real estate license and became a clerk in a local realtor’s office. He left that job in 1940 to join the Marine Corps.
Enlistment and Boot Camp:
Kowal traded his suit for a set of utilities on June 21, 1940. Although he joined the much smaller Reserve branch, he was soon on his way overseas to join Item Company, Seventh Marines at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Over the course of 1941, Kowal changed regiments three times – from the Seventh to the First to the Fifth Marines – each time remaining in the regiment’s Item Company. He was promoted to Private First Class shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and by April 1942 was a corporal with H&S Company, Fifth Marines, working in the intelligence section.
Kowal trained in North Carolina and New Zealand before landing on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. He was on the island for five days before being chosen for a night patrol led by Colonel Frank Goettge, the division’s intelligence officer.
Date Of Loss:
Corporal Kowal was killed in action in the early morning hours of August 13, 1942, when the Goettge patrol was ambushed by a Japanese garrison near the Matanikau river. His remains were never recovered.
Next Of Kin:
Wife, Mrs. Kerstin Kowal
Status Of Remains:
Buried on Guadalcanal
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Philippines.