Seventy-three years after his death, Cpl. Freddie Stowers was awarded the Medal of Honor
for his valor during World War I. He was the first African American to receive this honor for service
during this war.
"It's been said that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge," said President George H.W. Bush
at the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor in 1991. "On Sept. 28, 1918, Cpl. Freddie
Stowers stood poised on the edge of such a challenge and summoned his mettle and his courage."
Stowers' military career began at Fort Jackson, where he joined the First Provisional Infantry Regiment (Colored) on Oct. 4, 1917. He was born and raised in Sandy Springs, South Carolina, and was part of the first military draft of World War I.
According to his Medal of Honor citation, on Sept. 28, 1918, while serving as squad leader of
Company C, 371st Infantry Regiment, 93rd Division, Stowers went above and beyond the call of
duty when his company led the attack at Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, France.
Shortly after the attack began, the enemy came out of the trenches leading Stowers and his
company to believe they were surrendering. However, soon after the American forces came
out of their trenches, the enemy resumed fire.
Stowers led his company to the enemy trench line to take out a machine gun post which
was causing a majority of the casualties.
As Stowers and his men moved forward he was mortally wounded. He continued to go on
with his company and encouraged his men to go forward without him.
The members of Stowers' squad pressed on, motivated by his heroism, they continued the attack; leading to the capture of Hill 188.
The Single Soldier Complex on Fort Jackson is named in his honor.