Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Private First Class Marvin Robert "Bobby" Owen

United States Army Military Police Corps, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, August 19, 1978

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Reflections for Private First Class Marvin Robert "Bobby" Owen

I was stationed at WSMR, working for National Range Recovery. I had post housing with my wife, who worked as a civilian at the range. Our house was near the back wall (facing the organ mountains), and it was thick as well as at least three feet high. The rain clouds gathered in the Organ mountains, and then - sort of like a toilet bowl as I used to say, they circulated back out towards the post, then back into the mountains. I think it was 11 inches of rain that fell in a few short hours. It was so heavy that it was actually difficult to stand outside and breathe in it. As I was a block from that wall, at one point we could hear watter lapping over the top of it, and then eventually water was coming down some of the streets. I had a friend whose house suffered a broken wall, and flooding, and that was the case with a number of homes the next day as I found out. As I was a member of a REACT squad, others will know what that entails, I got a call the next morning early. In typical gruff form that I was sort of used to by then, I was told to go to the motor pool and mount up for retrieval of bodies. Not a good start to any morning. As I recall it the family that was swept away while crossing an arroyo with a small bridge, was a newly arrived dentist, his wife, and two kids. They stalled out on the crossing, and water was climbing up quickly and pushing their vehicle. PFC Owens put his truck between the oncoming water and their vehicle, and hoped thereby to save them from being swept away. As we gathered later a large amount of water then came sweeping into that pass, and it was very high. It swept them all off that access road, and into the desert. I believe they travelled four miles out, before being mostly buried in the mud. There were 5 ton wreckers and other large vehicles in the south end motor pool, and they were pushed around like toys. There was another guy in that area that was swept into a culvert, but managed to get out, and crawl up on a bank. I did not have to see the bodies thankfully. They were discovered before I got there, but I did see what was left of the vehicles later that day. PFC Owens selflessly put himself in harms way to save that family, and we all knew it. He was a hero for all of us way before they named it Owens road. I did not go back to research any of this, and I may have some things wrong. But it was painful then, and it's still painful now. I saw too many accidents and deaths at WSMR, including my own best friend in a wrecker accident in the mountains. Sorry to make such a long story of this, but at least I told it, before I'm gone myself. Hopefully in my sleep.

PFC K. Wells
WSMR National Range Recovery

September 2, 2022

Gone but never forgotten. Rest in peace hero Bobby Owen. Condolences to your family and friends.

SP4 Lynn Meuwissen
259th MP Co WSMR, NM 1977 - 1979

August 19, 2022

Owens was in my squad but I was just getting to know the guys. I was working El Paso Gate that night and knew a storm was happening but had no idea of the intensity until I returned to the main post. I was also part of the search party. It was unreal, like something that other people experience. Last week I visited the post. I hadn’t seen it since 78. No more MP’s there. Now I am 70 years old and I am not sure what memory is real, just bits and pieces. I remember his memorial service and that I cried.

SP-4 P. Lewis
Retired Somerset Cty Sheriffs Dept.

May 12, 2022

Though I did not know him, one of my first duties on WSMR as an E-1 Private Military Policeman (1983-1985) was to stand guard on Owen's Gate. I was facing in the direction of the flood zone in which he made the ultimate sacrifice for others in need, as my senior partner relayed the story of SPC Owens speeding towards danger to save a family in need. I remember thinking that if or when the time comes to test me, that I too would be as brave. SPC Owen's story was an inspiration that influenced the rest of my MP career.

SGT R. Sprayberry
259th Military Police Co./ 259th Detective Agency (Texas)

September 22, 2021

Gone but not forgotten. Thank you for your dedicated service and sacrifice.

SP4 Lynn Meuwissen
259th MP Co WSMR, NM 1977 - 1979

August 19, 2021

You are not forgotten. You will always be a hero to me. Continued condolences to your family and friends.

SP4 Lynn Meuwissen
259th MP Co WSMR, NM 1977-1979

August 20, 2020

Thank you for your service and rest in peace always knowing that no passage of time will ever erase your heroic actions and sacrifice.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 19, 2020

Rest in peace PFC Owen.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 18, 2019

I never got to meet you, but from everything I ever heard, you were what a man should be! You help make my decision to even serve an easy one! I know you were with me every step of the way! I love you Uncle Bobby! Thank you for everything you gave and giving me strength to be at least half the man you are!

Steven P. Brewer LCpl/SP4
USMC/LA ANG

May 11, 2019

Sadly my first recollection upon my arrival at the 259th MP Company in 1978 was standing in formation for your service . God Bless you Brother , You will never be forgotten !

SP4 John Boudreau
259th MP Co WSMR 1978-1979

January 17, 2019

It's now been 40 years since we lost a true American hero. You are NOT forgotten. Rest in peace PFC Bobby Owen and condolences again to your family.

SP4 Lynn Meuwissen
259th MP Co WSMR 1977-1979

August 19, 2018

Hi Jim, this is Karl, I was on LC gate that night. I remember very well and will never forget his last words as he transmitted them over the radio. I remember you as well. Marvin was totally dedicated to the professional and told me days before this occurred he wanted to work for New Orleans P.D.. He was a true hero and (to this day) don't know if I would've done the same!!

sp4 Speiser
friend

December 10, 2016

I remember Bobby Owens who will always be a hero to me. I was also assigned to the 259th MP Co at that time and remember the rainstorm. He was so brave with his actions and finding him and the family of four during the search was so sad. God Bless you Bobby.

James N. Miller Pfc
US Postal Service

September 5, 2015

You are not forgotten, Bobby! Rest in peace. Hooah, Brother!

SP4 Meuwissen 259th MP Co 1977-1979
Retired Sergeant Minneapolis Police

August 19, 2015

IN HONORE CASORUM
The promise... Always honored, never forgotten.

Sgt. T. J. Jones
Greater Cleveland Transit Police Department, Ohio

August 19, 2014

I came across this page tonight and immediately recognized Marvin from MP school at Fort McClellan. I'd previously had no idea he'd died. What a shock . . . but I must say, his actions were heroic and in keeping with the highest standards of the U.S. Army and the Military Police Corps.

SP4 Jeff Salter
296th Military Police Company

October 16, 2013

I was an MP with the 259th MP Co assigned to the PMO desk & radio operator the night that we lost PFC Owen. Owen was assigned as Patrol Car 133 which at the time was responsible for checking certain areas up range. He was coming back on post when this tragedy occurred. My heart sank when we lost radio contact with him after he described his predicament. It was a horrible night losing a family of four and PFC Owen.
When we searched the arroyo at day break I was in the search line when his body was recovered. I'll never forget him and will always consider him a hero for trying to save that family.
I will always remember 19 August 1979 and the 259th MP Co at WSMR. Hooah PFC Owen. God Bless you and your family.

SP4 Meuwissen
Retired Sergeant Minneapolis Police

August 26, 2013

PFC Marvin R. Owen was and still is my big brother in my heart. I was in the Army myself stationed in Germany at the time of his death. It was very hard for me when I got the call of his death. Before I got the call I was in bed sleeping and I woke up crying telling my roommate that I had to go home something was wrong at home. I said to my roommate that I just saw my mom crying and telling me to come home. I thought something was wrong with my mom and maybe 20 seconds letter someone was knocking on my door saying I had a phone call. It was a very close friend of the family that was calling me telling me what happened. I was on a plane the next morning heading home. I was told my brother drowned but I could not understand how does someone drowned in the middle of the desert. It took me a long time to get past this. I was in the Army far from home so after his funeral I had to go back. I did not have my family to lean on. I was alone. I just talked to my brother as if he was sitting next to me. One day a friend said a few words to me and it just seemed to melt all the hurt and pain of missing fall away. I talked to my brother still today. I will miss him until the day I die. I know one day I will be with him again.

Michele OWEN Desselle
Sister

May 26, 2013

Thank you PFC Marvin R. Owen for your service and ultimate sacrifice for others. I served in the 259th Military Police Company approximately a decade after your death and we did company runs in your honor. I would often stop at the wash where you lost your life trying to save others and reflect on your sacrifice. You are not forgotten!

Lieutenant Ron Bayne #559
Scottsdale Police Department (former U.S. Army MP)

May 11, 2013

I will never forget that day I was only 11 years old when the Military showed up at our parents house and to young to know what was happening I knew it was bad. The military personel that came that day not only had to tell my parents what had happened but my 4 older sisters and myself what had happened. My world fell apart that day and they stayed with us all tring there best to hold us all together and for that I say thank you to them. I miss Bobby so much he was the greatest guy I will have ever met he was my big brother and now 35 years later I wish more than anything he was still hear but God must have needed another Police officer there and he was picked. Today I have a son that is 12 years old and we speak of uncle Bobby almost on a daily bases and I wish he was here to see him but in my heart I know that is why he is such a great kid because his Uncle Bobbyis helping me and my wife to raise him the right way. Bobby is the reason I will never give up on making the world a better place just like he was trying to do himself. I miss and Love you Bobby.

Mark Owen
Little Brother

May 9, 2013

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 35th anniversary year of your death. I am priviliged to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

I pray for the solace of all those that love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever. Thanks to your friends for sharing their devotion to you through their reflections.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg Officer Larry Lasater, eow 4/24/05

March 18, 2013

Thank you for your service and for helping to make America a safer place.

Deputy Brian Jones
Boulder County Sheriff's Office, CO

December 15, 2012

PFC Owen,

What a brave young man. Your family is no doubt very proud of you. Thank you for your service and sacrifice to your country and the state of New Mexico. You are proudly remembered.

Rachel Vanetti
Law Enforcement Wife

September 29, 2012

You are not forgotten. I saw the bridge and memorial a month ago and it reaffirmed to me that joining the MPs many years ago was the right choice. You are an example to all of us.

SRB
FBI

September 7, 2011

It has been 33 years since the end of your watch and you have not been forgotten. You are a hero.
R.I.P Sir!

Wm Jean-Paul Rochat
Swiss Army, MP

August 19, 2011

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