May 2, 2014
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Charlottesville dedicated a building today to a former prisoner of war, and Army colonel who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
Alex Rowe didn't have the chance to get to know his father, but he certainly knows his father's legacy.
“It gives you chills,” says Rowe. “While I was sitting there I said wow that my dad they are talking about.”
On Friday, the DIA dedicated a building at Rivanna Station in Charlottesville in honor of Alex's father, Colonel James Nicholas Rowe, who was killed on duty in 1989.
Colonel Rowe was a captured by the Viet Cong in 1963, and was brutally tortured as a prisoner of war for five years.
“He attempted escape three times," Lt. General Michael Flynn said. "The fourth time, basically when he was being taken to where he was going to be executed he managed to escape.”
Col. Rowe used his experience as a POW to help the Army create a survival course for service members who risk capture. Today the DIA and the facility that will bare Rowe's name helps locate service members who are POWs or MIA (missing in action).
“We have the mission to look at every piece of intelligence that is out there to try and bring them back home,” said Lt. General Flynn
"What they do in their daily lives try to protect our solider and try to make sure they can survive while they are in captivity, that’s incredible,” says Alex Rowe.
Although Alex was only 2-years-old was his father was killed while serving in the Philippines, he says hearing stories about his father helps bring him to life.
“The man that I knew for two years was just dad to me, but for them and for the United States he was so much more.”
The SERE Course Colonel Rowe helped create has be taught to more than 100,000 service men and women over the past 30 years.