CW3 "Sonny" Owens was born on 25 April, 1960 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In December 1978, after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. His training included antisubmarine warfare operations, Search and Rescue Combat Swimmer School, and SERE training. His interest in aviation became more intense as he was exposed to more air operations and aircrew training. He graduated from flight school in June, 1983 and immediately reported as a WO1 to Giebelstadt, West Germany as an aerial scout. He was assigned to the Third Attack Helicopter Battalion for 38 months. He joined Task Force 160 in 1986 and was assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion. He advanced to become a Fully Mission Qualified AH-6 Instructor Pilot. He was known as one of the best shots in the Little Bird guns.
Some of his awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Air Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1 OLC).
He distinguished himself by gallantry in action on 20 December, 1989 while assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion as an AH-6G light attack helicopter gunship pilot during Operation Just Cause. Although his helicopter sustained hits from enemy anti-aircraft fire, he remained in an intense battle to support the exfiltration of friendly ground forces. After firing his ammunition, he quickly rearmed and, showing a complete disregard for his own personal safety, he returned to the engagement to ensure the successful mission accomplishment of the ground forces. His aircraft, #678, sustained a crippling hit and crashed.
Elizabeth B (Libby) Owens
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