Owen Douglas Huls was a crewman on a Navy PBM-5 bomber float plane stationed at Tawi Tawi in the Philippines. Owen was an Aviation Radioman Second Class. He kept the aircraft in communication with their base through both voice and Morse code radio. Owen's plane was forced down on June 4, 1945 after receiving fire from a Japanese warship and made an emergency landing near the island of Celebes, now known as Sulawesi, Indonesia.
The crew went ashore and the following day they engaged the Japanese land forces in an all day battle. The commanding officer told the men to scatter and try to meet later on the north end of the island. Owen and three other crewmen took refuge in a swamp and stayed submerged up to their necks while the enemy passed within a few feet. When night fell the men made a crude raft from logs using their clothes to tie the logs together. They paddled out of the harbor. As they tried to pass through the surf the raft came apart and they held on to one single log. One crewman was badly injured and it was feared he would not survive on the log. Owen volunteered to swim back to shore and look for a native canoe and get some coconuts. Just as he reached the shore he was captured by the Japanese land forces. He yelled to his mates "they've got me" so the men wouldn't follow.
Owen was forced to dig his own grave near the shore line. He was bound and forced to sit in the grave and was shot to death by the Japanese captors.
Owen's body was not recovered and his name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila National Cemetery at Ft. William McKinley, Manila, Philippines.
Owen was awarded the silver star, the air medal and the purple heart among other combat medals.
Owen was a true hero, giving his own life to try to save the life of one of his comrades.
Entered the service from Ohio.