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US Army

Remembering Pfc Paul H. ROWLEY “Packey”

Remembering Pfc Paul H. ROWLEY “Packey”
 
 By Sgt Robert K. PACIOS
 "A" Company, 
36th Armored Infantry Regiment
 3rd Armored Division
 
It was getting to be Christmas time and Company “A” had been defending the Belgian Ardennes town of Amonines for the better part of a week against attacks by the 506th Volksgrenadier Division aided and abetted by elements of the crack 116th Panzer Division.  The weather had been very cold with a light layer of snow covering the ground and the nearby pine forests. 
 
Suddenly we received good news; we were to be relieved soon by the 75th Infantry Division.  We hoped that they had brought tanks with them when they finally showed up since we had none with us in Amonines.  Our sole protection from a tank attack was a sole 75mm anti-tank gun positioned along the road to Dochamps.  Meanwhile we just had to sit tight, fight off the occasional enemy patrol and continue to freeze off our butts. 
 
The second platoon sat astride the road to Dochamps, a key crossroad junction.  The 75th Infantry Division marched into town all wearing clean clothes, shiny helmets with their officers prominently and proudly displaying the insignia of their rank on their helmets and collars.  They told us, as if we couldn’t tell, that they had just arrived from the States. 
 
I was the platoon sergeant of the 2nd Platoon and was in charge since our platoon leader, Pete Colbert, was away at a training center learning how to be an officer and a gentleman. 
 
“Packey” was the 2nd Platoon radio operator and we rode together in the track A-21.  Paul Rowley had joined “A” Company as a replacement a short while after the battle for Stolberg, Germany.  He was about 34 years old and from Johnston, New York, where he owned and operated a tavern before he was drafted.  He had fought a number of professional boxing matches (1).  That he had taken a lot of punches was attested to by his flattened nose.  He was a great guy and kept us laughing with his many “true” stories. 
 
After the 75th Infantry Division had taken over our positions we moved back into houses in the town to spend the night while we backed up the 75th Infantry Division.  Usually in order to get protection from enemy artillery, you don’t seek shelter above ground floor of a building.  However “Packey” and I discovered a large bed, complete with a deep feather mattress and a down comforter, on the second floor of a house.  We said the heck with it --- after spending a week outside in the snow and freezing our butts off --- we were going to be comfortable.  We spent the night sleeping soundly in the luxurious bed and awoke refreshed.  Later that day we walked out to the halftracks that transported us back to the small village of Ochain where we met up with a belated Christmas turkey dinner, a buzz bomb and some well needed replacements. 
 
Unfortunately, Paul “Packey” Rowley was killed in action on April 2, 1945 in the attack of Paderborn, Germany. 
 
He is buried in American War Cemetery Margraten, Netherlands, Plot D, Row 21, Grave 21.
 
(1) Paul H. Rowley was born in Troy, New York, July 7 1909.  He was a featherweight boxer with a record of 18 matches.  12 wins with 5 being KO’s, 2 loses and 4 draws.  His nickname of “Packey” shows up in the records.  He did work in a tavern in Johnstown and was married 
 
Photo from http://www.36air-ad.com
 
Source: The Spearhead Doughboy October 2016
To Pfc Paul H. ROWLEY

 

Photo: Paul H. ROWLEY

1st Battalion, "A" Company

36th Armored Infantry Regiment

3rd Armored Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium