Today in Philippine history, April 1, 1989, Col. James Rowe was killed in an ambush in Quezon City

Monday July 18, 2016 ()

   Col. James Rowe

On April 1, 1989, Colonel James Rowe of the US Army was killed by hit squad ambush. He was the first serving US Army officer to be killed by a rebel group in the Philippines.

Rowe was being driven to work at the JUSMAG (Joint United States Military Advisory Group) headquarters in Quezon City shortly after 7 in the morning when gunmen fired more than 20 bullets into his vehicle.

He was pronounced dead at a nearby military hospital.

Today in Philippine history, April 1, 1989,  Col. James Rowe was killed in an ambush in Quezon City

Philippine officials believed the killers were members of the New People's Army's (NPA) Alex Boncayao Brigade, although no group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier, the NPA have threatened to attack American targets unless the United States closes its military bases in the Philippines and end its support of the Philippine military's fight against the insurgency.

Rowe was involved in helping the Philippine anti-insurgency campaign.

In the fall of 1963, Colonel Rowe, then a first lieutenant in the US Army Special Forces serving as an adviser to South Vietnamese irregulars, was captured by Vietcong guerrillas in the Mekong River delta. He was held in jungle camps from which he tried repeatedly to escape. For much of his captivity he was held in a bamboo cage and permitted to venture only 40 yards during the day. He busied himself chopping firewood and setting traps to capture small animals to supplement his diet of rice and fish.

On December 31, 1968, he succeeded in escaping and was spotted by a crew of an American helicopter, which lifted him to safety.

In 1985, Colonel Rowe was placed in command of the First Special Warfare Training Battalion at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, a post he held until last May 1985, when he went to the Philippines.

Colonel James Rowe was 51. He is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, USA.

Sources:

  1. Executive Intelligence Review, volume 16, number 18, April 28, 1989 (http://www.larouchepub.com/)
  2. Col. James Rowe, 51, War Hero, Is Killed in an Ambush in Manila by Glenn Fowler, April 22, 1989, nytimes.com

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