GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Decades after serving in the Army, the late Master Sgt. John Krowl and the late Master Sgt. Ben Snowden have been recognized for their valor and bravery to their country.

Maj. Gen. Warren Phipps Jr., First Army Division West commanding general, presented the Krowl Family with the Prisoner of War Medal and the Snowden Family with the Silver Star in a posthumous awards ceremony at the Ben D. Snowden Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8587 here March 16.

The Silver Star is the third highest award given for valor in combat and the POW Medal is given to any person who served in the Armed Forces was taken prisoner and held captive after April 5, 1917.

While serving with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Vietnam, Snowden was killed by enemy fire June 15, 1967, when he was attempting to pull a Soldier aboard a helicopter.

While serving as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps' 93rd Bomber Squadron in the Philippines during World War II, Krowl was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Malaybalay, Mindanao, May 10, 1942. He was held as a prisoner of war for three years before being released back into the U.S. military's control.

"We have the esteemed honor of participating in today's ceremony at this great facility to formally recognize the sacrifices of two American heroes," said Phipps. "I am grateful that we acknowledge Master Sgt. Krowl and Master Sgt. Snowden for what they gave to their country."

Snowden was born and raised in Georgetown. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. Many of his Family members who attended the ceremony still live in Georgetown.

"I'm proud that my dad was a part of something so big and so major," said Sharla Green, Snowden's daughter. "We've always been proud of him, but today, especially."

Snowden was the first Soldier from Georgetown to die in Vietnam. He served 12 years in the Army before his death.

Krowl immigrated to the United States from Poland at the age of 14 and, at age 22, he enlisted in the Army to become a U.S. citizen. Later in his military career, he also served in the Air Force.

"We feel especially honored because there are so many people here to recognize our father for what he did and the service he gave to his country," said Ivan Krowl, Krowl's son. "This is truly overwhelming, and we thank everyone that came today."

Krowl eventually retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant. He died Nov. 28, 1983.
Division West's 479th Field Artillery Brigade took the lead in ceremonial duties for the two veterans.

"The preparation of this event started two weeks ago," said Master Sgt. James Arnett, 3-395th Armored Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade. "It's been a three-year process to get both of these awards presented to these Families, but it was well worth it."

Everyone should want to be remembered like this, Arnett said.

"I'm glad that we recognize that our country is built on the shoulders of what our veterans have done," said Arnett.