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Today in Aggie History, Oct. 31: Lt. Thomas Fowler was born

Today in Aggie History, Oct. 31: Lt. Thomas Fowler was born

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Thomas Fowler

Lt. Thomas Weldon Fowler Sr., class of 1943

Oct. 31, 1921: Lt. Thomas Fowler was born. Fowler graduated from Texas A&M in 1943 with a degree in animal husbandry. He was posthumously given the Medal of Honor in 1944 after he was killed in action during World War II.

Fowler graduated in February 1943, but was not commissioned because the academic calendar was accelerated to year-round for the duration of World War II. He was drafted into the Army and went to Armor Officer Candidate School at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for 13 weeks of basic training. Fowler and three of his brothers all served during the war.

In May 1944 as a tank officer, Fowler scouted 300 yards ahead of the infantry and discovered enemy soldiers hiding in foxholes. He was able to take the soldiers by surprise and take them prisoner. Shortly after, enemy tanks opened fire and set one of the Allied tanks on fire. Fowler ran through enemy fire to reach the burning tank and rescue the soldiers inside.

"With utter disregard for his own life, with shells bursting near him, he ran directly into the enemy tank fire to reach the burning vehicle … saving the lives of the wounded tank crew," according to the medal citation.

Ten days later, Fowler's tank was hit with explosives during another scout but was not disabled. Upon returning the tank to the platoon, Fowler stuck his head out the turret hatch and was shot by an enemy sniper. 

Fowler's Medal of Honor was presented to his wife Anne and his son at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on Nov. 11, 1944.

Oct. 31, 1931: Texas A&M played Centenary College in Shreveport. The Aggies won, 7-0. It was the first Corps Trip out of state, according to Keepers of the Spirit by John A. Adams Jr. A Corps Trip is when the entire Corps of Cadets makes an out-of-town appearance, typically for an away football game. Prior to kickoff, the Corps marches in.

Oct. 31, 1987: The SMU band played during the halftime performance of the Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech game, according to an October 1987 Eagle article. The Aggie Band and A&M officials invited the SMU band to perform at Kyle Field since Louisiana Tech's marching band was not traveling to the game. Because of NCAA rule violations, the SMU football team received the "death penalty," meaning the program's entire 1987 season was canceled.

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