View Full Version : A Great SF Officer and Soldier

04-21-2009, 11:35
On this date, 21 April, in 1989 we lost a true SF Soldier who was a close friend and Brother - James "Nick" Rowe. He was ambushed by communist terrorists on his way to work in Quezon City, the Phillipines. Nick set a high standard for all of us and future SFer's. I have fond memories of working with him, one of the best was during the development and construction of the SERE site at Camp Mackall. Nick had a deep faith in GOD and in a conversation with him, I asked what kept him going while he was in captivity for 62 months. He replied, "My faith in GOD and trust in my country." He had a profound impact on my life, and it was an honor to serve with him and spend some time socializing with him.


The Reaper
04-21-2009, 11:43
RIP, Sir.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.


04-21-2009, 11:55
I was privledged to work at the Special Warfare Center when Col Rowe was the Training Battalion Commander. He was a reserved, polite man, very kind and professional; inspirational yet unassuming. I was returning to Ft Campbell from Washingto DC and heard of his murder on the radio, while travelling the Interstate early in the morning. Terribly sad and a great loss then as it still is today.
Thank you, Col Rowe, for your congratulations on my new beret all those many years ago.
I cherish my autographed copy of Five Years to Freedom. (About which Col Rowe would say he didn't make enough from to be able to give copies away, he'd sign it if you bought it.)

04-21-2009, 12:19
It was interesting being in SF when I was because many of the legends were still around. The last time that I saw Colonel Rowe he was at a bookstore in the Cross Creek Mall signing copies of his book for anyone who bought one. He was a real gentleman. Colonel Rowe's accomplishments in Special Forces epitomize the ideal of the Green Beret.

04-21-2009, 12:28
He was a Great Person, Officer and SF soldier. He was an inspiration for all of us who meet and knew him. He is greatly missed.

Rest in Peace Sir...

04-21-2009, 13:16
I treasure his book and wish I had been presented the opportunity to have him autograph it.

Rest in peace, sir.

04-21-2009, 13:53
RIP Col Rowe, Vaya con Dios

04-21-2009, 14:01
RIP, Warrior..................... :(


04-21-2009, 14:21
In 1968, I was at Ton Sohn Nhut AFB and observed a comotion near Hotel 3 (Chopper pad) In the middle was a very emaciated figure wearing black pajamas and a green beret. Had I known that it was an SF Officer who had just gotten hi freedom from the VC after 5 years, I would have stopped and at least shook his hand.

In 1970, I was attending the MATA course at Fort Bragg when they put up signs in the entrance stating that we were to have a guest the afternoon.

It turned out to be LTC Nick Rowe who addressed the audience in Vietnamese.

One of the Vietnamese Instructors told LTC Rowe that his Vietnamese was crude and uncultured. LTC Rowe advised her that he hadn't the luxury of learning it in a Saigon drawing room, but had actually picked it up in a cage in the Rung Sat zone.

They cleared the auditorium and only allowed those with a top secret clearance back in for a classified briefing about what to expect if any of us were captured during our upcoming advisory assignments.

God Bless you Colonel Rowe.

wet dog
04-21-2009, 14:56
I finished ABN school, - 03 Jun 87 and shipped to Bragg, for Advance International Morse Code, prior to Phase I. I arrived between two 18E start dates and was asigned to C. A, 1SG Bachlor, for grounds keeping and pine cone pick-up duty.

All of the early RP63 arrivals were issued yellow PT suits, lawn-mowers, rakes and paint brushes. For 5 weeks we did all the little high speed low drag jobs around the post. 1SG Bachlor assigned 6 students to assist the 82nd in DZ parachute recovery. I was told that morning by 1SG Bachlor, "to go into town" and buy a good folding/locking pocket knife.

A few of us after hours found a Ranger Joe's. While looking through a few samples, a kind older looking gent, advised the group that a Buck Lite is a great knife for under $10.00. He asked if we were stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, we said we were. He asked what company, none of us answered directly, one guy said, we were students. I chimed in and said, Company "A", Ground Maintance Det. He laughed and said, 1SG bachlor, he's your boss? We all said yes.

He wished us well and excused himself, we thought that was kinda wierd.

Later that weekend, late Sunday night, the BN Staff Duty NCO, arrived at our barracks and informed us that we were to report early Monday morning with all our gear to the BN CDR for instructions.

At the appointed time of arrival, LTC James Nick Rowe walked into his office, the kind gent who helped us sellect our simple $10.00 Buck Lite knives.

For 3 weeks we were priviledged to work with "The Man", over hear his instructions to SERE Cadre and students alike. The job I was given was office runner, file clerk and sometimes "Guard". For the first time in 5 weeks, I got to wear something other than yellow PT gear.

To this day, I still have the ratty, paper back copy of 'Five years to Freedom'. On the inside cover, signed in his pen, "Good Luck" - Nick

04-21-2009, 18:33
God Bless you , Colonel. May you Rest in Peace.

Red Flag 1
04-22-2009, 06:28
Rest In Peace Sir!

Thank you for your service!

04-22-2009, 06:38
Rest In Peace

Utah Bob
04-22-2009, 08:25
Helluva man! May he Rest in Peace.

09-15-2009, 22:34
I never knew Nick as a soldier, but knew him as a friend.. He had alreay escaped and had his freedom back before I ever went to S.E. Asia.. I arrived In-Country in early '69 and was a Lurp with the Cav..

The last time I talked to Nick I needed a guest speaker at a POW - MIA function I was putting on in my hometown of Tyler, Texas.. It had been awhile since I had seen or talked to him, so I didn't know he was fixin' to be a proud father..

We talked, laughed, and had just a good conversation.. I never thought for one minute that would be the last time we would ever talk..

I told him I understood why he couldn't come up so I got Robbie Risner to do it..

My wife's autographed copy of "Five Years To Freedom" is one of her most prized possessions.. Every year we make the trip to Arlington and place a Texas Flag at his grave.. If you haven't seen his head-stone you are missing something beautiful.. There is a short bio etched in the stone, but the carved Beret is fantastic.. Last year when we were there to place the flag someone had laid their wings on top of his stone.. That gesture tore me up.. I should stop now and get this sand out of my eye..

Rest Well My Dear Friend, you deserve everything heaven has to offer plus much more..


09-15-2009, 23:29
Every year we make the trip to Arlington and place a Texas Flag at his grave.. If you haven't seen his head-stone you are missing something beautiful.. There is a short bio etched in the stone, but the carved Beret is fantastic..


In April of 89, I was retired and living near Dallas. When I read in the paper that he had been Killed, I was devistated, especially when I learned the details. That following Sunday, at Church, I raised up his name, and that of his family to be prayed for, I gave the details of his life to a Congrigation, that, for the most part had never heard of him. I told of the two times I had met him, once at Bragg, and once at Devens, at a Prayer Breakfast. I told them about his faith and belief in God and how that faith helped to carry him through all those years in captivity.

Later, after the service, a woman in the Congrigation, came up to me with tears in her eyes. Her name was Jane Ellen - she told me that she went to School with Nikky - back in McAllen, Texas. Some how, she had not yet heard of his death. The following Sunday, she showed me an Autographed pencil sketch of Nikky - a smiling Lt. (apparently made from an older photograph. She said it was done by one of their High School Friends and they got him to sign it when he had come hom for a visit. To this day, when Jane Ellen and I see each other (we both still go to the same Church) we give each other nodding glances, and I know we are both thinking of Nikky.

Claymore, you mentioned his grave stone in Arlington - here is a picture of it.


09-16-2009, 00:09
Claymore, you mentioned his grave stone in Arlington - here is a picture of it.



What a beautiful story.. One of them kind, like the old saying goes, "You can tell to your grandchildren.."

If I were allowed to post images I have an excellent closeup of the Beret..

Those of you that served with Nick were in the presense of a great man.. He was SF thru and thru, and it carried on into his personaL life..

In Peace & Patriotism,


09-17-2009, 00:22
My wife's autographed copy of "Five Years To Freedom" is one of her most prized possessions.


I tried to buy a copy of that book back in the Mid 80's up at Devens - in the PX - they did not have it and told me they could not get it - had to order it through a local book store. So I got two. Since then, I have acquired a few more, but usually only have one on hand. I give it to my friends to read any chance I can - if I don't get it back, I buy another one. Its the best I can do to keep his memory alive.