1st Lt John Henry Prowell
June 28, 1915 – May 24, 1944
Graduation Date: February 16, 1943
Graduation Rank: 1st Lt
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 301st Fighter Squadron
Service # O-797222
John was one of eight children born to John Prowell and Millie Butler. At the time of his birth, his father was employed as a fireman for a coal mine. By 1930, his father was working for a coal yard, and ten years later, his father owned his home and was working for a construction company. At that time, John was still living at home. Two years later, he enlisted at Ft. McClellan in Alabama, entered the Tuskegee Air Cadet program, and in February of 1943, he had completed his training. He was assigned to Montecorvino Airfield in Catanzaro, Italy with the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter group in the 12th Air Force.
On May 24, 1944, Lt. Prowell was flying a P39 on a routine convoy patrol when he signaled to 2nd Lt. Gene C. Browne that his radio was out. Lt Browne assumed the lead position, and noted that Lt. Prowell was behind him and did not seem to be in any kind of trouble. After steering back on course, Browne noticed that Prowell was no longer behind him but presumed that he had returned to base before him. When Browne landed to refuel, he learned that Prowell had not returned. At that point, Browne went back out in search of Prowell and noticed an oil slick in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Upon closer investigation, he could see sea marker dye in a May West life preserver but no body nearby.
Lt. John H Prowell, Jr. was pronounced Missing in action on May 24, 1944 and presumed dead on May 25, 1944. His name is inscribed upon the Tablets of the Missing in Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. A memorial marker was placed at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama.