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This information comes from the biographical file for pilot Rowell, CR-700000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.




Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link.


Military Aircraft of the Davis Monthan Register, 1925-1936 is available at the link. This book describes and illustrates with black & white photographs the majority of military aircraft that landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield between 1925 and 1936. The book includes biographies of some of the pilots who flew the aircraft to Tucson as well as extensive listings of all the pilots and airplanes. Use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author, while supplies last.


Art Goebel's Own Story by Art Goebel (edited by G.W. Hyatt) is written in language that expands for us his life as a Golden Age aviation entrepreneur, who used his aviation exploits to build a business around his passion.  Available as a free download at the link.


Winners' Viewpoints: The Great 1927 Trans-Pacific Dole Race is available at the link. What was it like to fly from Oakland to Honolulu in a single-engine plane during August 1927? Was the 25,000 dollar prize worth it? Did the resulting fame balance the risk? For the first time ever, this book presents the pilot and navigator's stories written by them within days of their record-setting adventure. Pilot Art Goebel and navigator William V. Davis, Jr. take us with them on the Woolaroc, their orange and blue Travel Air monoplane (NX869) as they enter the hazardous world of Golden Age trans-oceanic air racing.


Clover Field: The First Century of Aviation in the Golden State. With the 100th anniversary in 2017 of the use of Clover Field as a place to land aircraft in Santa Monica, this book celebrates that use by exploring some of the people and aircraft that made the airport great.



Rowell published at least two articles based on his experience with Marine Corps combat during the Second Nicaraugan Campaign, 1927-1933:

Maj. Ross Rowell, "Aircraft in Bush Warfare," Marine Corps Gazette, September 1929, 180.

Maj. Ross Rowell, "The Air Service in Minor Warfare," United States Naval Institute Proceedings, October 1929, 872.

Click this link for images of Rowell at Tucson.

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Ross E. Rowell (Source: NASM)
Ross E. Rowell

Ross Erastus Rowell was born September 22, 1884 at Ruthven, IA. He died September 6, 1947 at San Diego, CA. He was educated at Iowa State College and the University of Idaho, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps August 3, 1906.

Rowell received his primary flight training at Pensacola, FL and advanced training at the Army Air Corps school at Kelly Field, TX.

He served in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Philippines and in France. He was in command of the air squadrons during the 1927-1928 Nicaraguan campaign, and was decorated for his service there (below).

Newark Star-Eagle, DFC Ceremony, October 25, 1929 (Source: NASM)
DFC Ceremony





Review this PDF download (937KB) to learn some of the details of his air service in Nicaragua. The documents in this download give a sense for what it was like to manage logistics and tactical activities and to report on battle in a remote location. Rowell and a fellow Marine received the DFC for the engagement documented for July 16, 1929. The news article, right, is from the Newark Star-Eagle of Friday, October 25, 1929. It documents the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.


On the light side, he kept a pet monkey while in Nicaragua. The Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of May 30, 1928 reports the following.

Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, May 30, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)
Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, May 30, 1928 (Source: Webmaster)

Rowell landed at Tucson three times, each time flying Marine Corps aircraft out of San Diego. One of his flights (his first landing on Tuesday, December 14, 1926) was an east-to-west transcontinental trip. He landed solo in the Boeing FB-1, A-6888 (c/n 742). He noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Transcontinental flight."

About three years later, his second and third landings were in a Curtiss OC-1 Falcon observation plane, A-7945. He landed solo eastbound from San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX on Tuesday, November 19, 1929. On Wednesday he turned around and flew back to San Diego carrying as passenger one Captain Shearer. No reason was given for this round-robin through Tucson. However, these visits were documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter of December 4, 1929, shown below. Perhaps this flight was the first leg of Shearer's tip to Seattle, WA via Oakland, CA.

Two Tucson Visits Documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, December 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)
Two Tucson Visits Documented in the Bureau of Aeronautics Newsletter, December 4, 1929 (Source: Webmaster)

Soon after he landed at Tucson he became commanding officer of the aircraft squadrons of the West Coast Expeditionary Force stationed at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, CA. He received a commendation there for his safety record, 8,315 flights of 8,084 hours without a serious crash.

He enjoyed a 40-year career with the Marine Corps. He served as Director of Marine Corps Aviation from May 30, 1935 until March 10, 1939. His WWII experiences are documented on Wikipedia. He rose to the rank of Major General.


Dossier 2.2.154

UPLOADED: 01/15/07 REVISED: 08/31/11

The Register
I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Rowell and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.



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