Troy native to be honored in February for World War II heroics
Published 3:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2015
Albert Flowers, Sr. was born in Troy in 1925. He served proudly in the United States Navy during World War II and received a Bronze Star and Ribbon for his heroic deeds in the face of the enemy.
Until now, Flowers’ service to his country and his heroics have gone unrecognized.
On Feb. 21, Albert Flowers, Sr. will be honored with a Brick Laying Ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Center in Crestview, Florida, where he made his home until his death in 2001.
Albert Flowers, Jr. takes responsibly for the long delay in recognizing his dad’s service to country.
“I guess I would say that it just took me a while after his death to get up the gumption to locate his service records,” Flowers said. “I was talking with a friend whose grandfather was in the Navy during World War II and I decided it was time.”
Flowers said it took time and effort to locate his dad’s Navy records. And, what he learned was more than worth the time and effort.
“I had found a note, handwritten by my dad, and it said that he had received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and Medal of Honor,” he said. “His house had burned and he lost everything including any records or medals he might have received.”
Flowers wasn’t sure if memory served his dad right or if he were confused about the medals he received.
In searching his dad’s military records, Flowers said he was able to find verification of only the Bronze Star and Ribbon.
“My dad signed up with the U.S. Naval Reserve on June 14,1943,” Flowers said. “He was assigned to the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Intrepid as steward’s mate and was promoted to steward’s mate first class in 1944.”
Flowers said his dad was assigned as a crewman of a 20-mm, anti-aircraft armored cannon post.
“The U.S.S. Intrepid was attacked by Japanese suicide bombers or Kamikaze planes,” he said. “The crewman that was manning the armored cannon post was shot and my dad pulled him from the tub, grabbed the gun and started shooting and didn’t stop.”
Flowers said his dad was facing certain death by staying on the post but he stayed and kept shooting. He brought down the Kamikaze plane that was coming right in on the ship.
“Had he not shot the plane down and it has crashed into the ship’s deck, many lives would have been lost,” Flowers said. “For his actions, he received the Bronze Star for bravery under fire.”
Files from the Secretary of the Navy verified Flowers heroics on Oct. 29, 1944 during a “violent attack against the Intrepid.” The file stated, “by Flowers’ determined and courageous efforts in the face of almost certain death, he materially aided in diverting the enemy plane from crashing on the flight deck and his conduct throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Flowers said he would like to further honor his dad’s service to country by visiting the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York to see the aircraft on which his dad served so gallantly during the attack launched by a group of Japanese dive bombers.