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First Name: Leonard

Last Name: Owens

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Metcalfe County, KY
Middle Name: W.

Date of Birth:

Date of Death: 12 August 1943

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Leonard W. Owens

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Leonard W. Owens
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

In April 1943, Staff Sergeant Leonard W. Owens was serving with the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, Seventh U.S. Army in Tunisia. After his platoon leader was killed in action, SSG Owens assumed command of the platoon, and skillfully led the troops forward across open terrain through heavy enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire. SSG Owens single-handedly attacked the machine gun position and silenced the gun. SSG Owens’ exceptional leadership, personal bravery and initiative, were an inspiration to his men at that time and earned him the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

On 12 August 1943, Staff Sergeant unit was in action against German forces near Messina, Sicily, during the German withdrawal. SSG Owens’ courageous actions and extraordinary heroism that day earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star Medal
Purple Heart
Army Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Pin and 3 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

Staff Sergeant Leonard W. Owens (ASN: 15045641), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 12 August 1943. Staff Sergeant Owens' intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, Seventh U.S. Army, General Orders No. 37 (1943)


Staff Sergeant Leonard W. Owens is buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy, in Plot D, Row 10, Grave 21.


Honoree ID: 206234   Created by: MHOH




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