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Claude Douglas Clower
Birth: Nov. 30, 1930
Belzoni
Humphreys County
Mississippi, USA
Death: Oct. 3, 2010
Bleiblerville
Austin County
Texas, USA

Claude Douglas Clower, CDR.USN (Ret), age 79 passed away October 3, 2010 at his home in Bleiblerville, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Maurine Brown Clower; grandsons, Michael Dyer, Joseph Dyer; five great granddaughters, Caroline, Allyson, Shelby, Ellisa and Madison Dyer. Funeral and graveside services will be held with Military Honors. Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, 2010 with a chapel service to follow at Forest Lawn Funeral Home. (Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on October 6, 2010)

Doug Clower earned two engineering degrees from Lamar University and masters degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a Naval Aviator and spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, flying fighter aircraft, including the F8U Crusader and F4 Phantom. He had over 900 carrier landings, of which 200 were at night. He was shot down on November 19, 1967 near Haiphong, North Vietnam and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war. He was the senior ranking officer for five of those years, and narrowly missed being rescued when he and his fellow prisoners at Son Tay prison were moved to another location shortly before the U.S. raid on Son Tay took place. He was released on March 17, 1973 and has been awarded 34 medals, including 2 Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, 5 Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. He retired at the rank of Commander and spent 27 years in the oil and gas engineering and construction business. He retired to his farm in Bleiblerville, Texas, where he was an active member of the Welcome Lutheran Church and the Industry West End Lions Club.

Attention on Deck!

By Frank W. Parker, CDR, USNR

Presented at Doug Clower’s 75th birthday celebration, 2005


The Navy tradition of “Attention on Deck!”
Calls for us to stand to pay a senior officer our respect
So I invite you to stand for a moment this hour
While we pay our respect to CDR Doug Clower

He was raised in the South, among fields of cotton
And the lessons he learned there were never forgotten
Lessons from caring parents – here is a sample:
Work hard, pull your load, be fair, and lead by example

These strong leadership traits were soon acknowledged
When his classmates elected him their president at college
He applied for flight training, and the Navy concurred
And sent him to Pensacola to learn to fly like a bird

He learned Immelmans and wingovers, how to climb and to dive
And proudly earned his wings with the class of ‘55
They taught him that Navy runways seldom stand still
And to fly off an aircraft carrier demanded all of his skill

But he was up to the job and relished the high
That he got flying the best planes the Navy could buy
Cold-war operations in the 50’s could be calm
But the 60’s brought a hotter war in a place called Viet Nam

Doug’s squadron deployed on the USS Coral Sea
Sailing in harms way for the South China Sea
It was on the 19th of November in ’67, for instance
When the carrier Intrepid asked the Coral Sea for assistance

The need was for fighter escorts to come along
On a mission to strike the foe near Haiphong
Doug had the lead flight in his F4B Phantom
And headed for combat, thinking “Let me at ‘em”

But the odds were not good for his flight that day
Four MiGs to one Phantom just wasn’t fair play
His plane lost a wing and Doug quickly ejected
And soon he was captured, unhurt but dejected
His captors rejected the Geneva Convention
To label him a war criminal was their intention
He was tortured and beaten and asked to confess
To things that could damage our nation’s progress

Though they broke him both physically and mentally
He never betrayed his shipmates or his country
Instead, as senior officer of his POW unit
He provided the leadership that would get them all through it

Their food was vile, their prison cells cold
Care for the sick and wounded was marginal I’m told
To combat these conditions Doug required each of the guys
To perform regular mental and physical exercise
These organized measures would help them recover
But Doug knew that the key was their love for each other

Communication was forbidden between the prison stalls
So they talked in code by tapping on the walls
Though a beating was certain if caught, and no less
Each day ended with tapping “Good Night and God Bless”

More than 5 years captivity Doug did endure
Moved from prison to prison, his whereabouts not sure
Then on St. Patrick’s Day in ’73
Doug and his shipmates were finally set free

While languishing in prison, Doug composed a poem
Which he put on paper as he headed for home
The last lines of which he addressed to his wife
What he said to her tells us much about his life. “Though all my love for you will long remain
You know when duty calls I’ll go again”

Stateside, the doctors around him did hover
But Doug knew that in Viet Nam the job was not over
So a month after returning to the USA
Declared fit, he put to sea again to rejoin the fray

When the conflict was over, Doug retired from the Navy
And launched a career in the gas industry
As before when in uniform, he was called on to lead
And managed engineering projects to meet every need
For the 27 years that his new career spanned
If a Gas Turbine expert was needed, Doug was your man

Now he’s put out to pasture with the horses and hay
And drinks coffee at Lindemann’s to start off each day
His country life might seem to be an idle man’s trip
But my guess is that the Clower Farm is a tightly run ship
Though it’s been many years since he piloted a jet
He’d be first off the catapult if called on, I’ll bet

Doug, you did your duty, and much, much more
Because you knew your country was worth fighting for
We salute you and your family for the sacrifices you made
And our thanks seems inadequate for the price that you paid
So on your 39th birthday (i.e. its 36th anniversary!)
We wish you fair winds and a following sea


Epilogue

Presented at Doug’s Memorial Service, 2010


Five years have now passed since that last get together
Where we toasted Doug’s health and wished him fair weather
We all stayed in touch by sending e-mails
To cuss and discuss the world’s current travails

But among Doug’s submittals we noticed that he’d
Made some changes in themes that he sent us to read
His messages told us what he valued the most -
His family, his friends, and his heavenly Host

With his Friday-night friends he would eat out each week
And would never let on that he was not at his peak
Nineteen years had gone by since his heart was mended
And he’d made it last twice as long as intended

But old Father Time had not stopped, but kept moving
And we all could see that Doug wasn’t improving
As much as he’d like to keep cutting and baling
We knew that this time his stout heart must be failing

But you don’t take to your bed if your name is Clower
Instead, you look for ways you can fill up each hour
By helping your church or helping your neighbors
Regardless of what may result from your labors.

So it was at his church that he labored that day
Presiding at meetings very stressful, they say.
And there at the church his body rebelled,
With frightening symptoms which would not be quelled.

A few days in the hospital got his heart stable
And he headed for home as soon as he was able
But the damage was done - his strength not complying
And pray though we did, our good friend was dying.

The Lord had his own plan for Doug that day
And soon took Doug home in His most gentle way
And it’s we, his friends, who are suffering still
From the loss of a man who’s shoes we can’t fill

So with humble hearts we give thanks to God
For giving this country a man such as Doug
Whose life story will live for generations to come
As an example of what each of us could become
If we choose to step forward when challenges arise
And ask our Lord’s help to do what is right in His eyes


(This poem was presented to honor Doug at his 75th birthday celebration. His family asked that it be read again at his services, and I added an epilogue. Doug was a loving husband and father, a patriot in the finest sense of the word, and my dear friend.)


 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Vivian Maurine Brown Clower (1932 - 2012)*
 
 Children:
  Virginia Maurine Clower Dyer (1954 - 2009)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home
Beaumont
Jefferson County
Texas, USA
 
Maintained by: Frank Parker
Originally Created by: Judy Blacksher
Record added: Oct 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59682968
Claude Douglas Clower
Added by: Joel Farringer
 
Claude Douglas Clower
Added by: Pasadena Girl
 
Claude Douglas Clower
Added by: Frank Parker
 
 
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Happy Valentines Day in Heaven Doug XO
- Melinda
 Added: Feb. 14, 2017
Happy New Year Doug
- Melinda
 Added: Dec. 31, 2016
Christmas Eve Blessings in Heaven Doug XO
- Melinda
 Added: Dec. 24, 2016
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