CPT Bartt D. Owens (USMA '94)
CPT Bartt D. Owens (USMA '94)
CPT Bartt Derek Owens was born in Middletown, OH, on 17 Oct 1971 to Penelope and Ronald Owens (deceased). By the ninth grade, Bartt was focused on fulfilling his dream of serving in the military and becoming a senator or congressman later in life. He worked diligently throughout his time at Franklin High School in Franklin, OH, to achieve his goal while participating as a member of the cross-country, track and golf teams. Bartt’s classmates recognized his unique blend of intelligence, toughness and leadership ability by electing him class president and vice president of the National Honor Society. By graduation, Bartt had earned a 4.66 grade point average and graduated in the top two percent of his class.
Bartt continued to excel at West Point as he pursued his dream of becoming an officer. Those who knew Bartt well appreciated his honest and blunt assessment of any situation, especially when his straightforward style was combined with his dry and irreverent sense of humor. He earned lifelong and loyal friends, because Bartt was a genuine and reliable individual.
Upon graduation, Bartt was commissioned a second lieutenant in Aviation after earning a bachelor of science degree in international relations. Shortly after graduation, he married Leah, the love of his life and high school sweetheart and the only girl he ever dated. They moved to Ft. Rucker, AL, for flight school and the start of a career in the military. As always, Bartt rose to the top of his class and endeared himself to the instructors with his tendency to play REM’s “It’s the End of World” from his Nissan 300Z as he arrived at the flight line at 0500 hours.
Upon completion of the CH-47 qualification course, Bartt was assigned as a flight platoon leader to B Company, 7th Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Ft. Campbell, KY. As a platoon leader in 7th Battalion, his leadership skill and common sense approach meshed well with the soldiers and aviators in his unit. He continued to refine his aviation skills and developed a reputation as a skilled planner and pilot who could be counted on to accomplish the toughest missions. After successfully completing his stint as a platoon leader, Bartt served as the battalion S-1 and as the A Company flight operations officer. Bartt and Leah were blessed with their first daughter, Megan, while stationed at Ft. Campbell, and it was obvious from the day of Megan’s birth how happy Bartt was to be a father.
From Ft. Campbell, Bartt and Leah moved to Ft. Rucker, AL, for the Aviation Captain’s Career Course, and they were joined by the newest addition to the Owens family, their second daughter, Lauren. Once again, Bartt’s joy to be a father was obvious to his friends and family. During Bartt’s second assignment at Ft. Rucker, his friends learned about his love for the 4th of July in the form of an epic fireworks show at an unsuspecting elementary school’s parking lot in Enterprise, AL.
One consistent character trait of Bartt Owens was a quiet and unwavering determination to be the best in anything he did. His desire to be the best and serve with the best led him to assess for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). After completing the career course at Ft. Rucker, AL, Bartt joined the Night Stalkers in September 1999.
With the 160th SOAR, Bartt completed the Special Operations Aviation Qualification Course and the MH-47E Qualification Course and took command as a platoon leader in E Company, 160th SOAR. As the only platoon leader in E Company, Bartt was part of the advance party as the company began operations in the Republic of Korea. He later deployed his unit to multiple locations across the Pacific Command in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
During his last deployment supporting OEF in the Philippine Islands, Bartt died in a helicopter crash. The MH-47 aircraft crashed into the ocean after ferrying U.S. Special Forces and supplies from Zamboanga to Basilan Island, where Muslim guerrillas were holding an American missionary couple and a Filipino nurse for nearly nine months. More than a month after the crash, his body was recovered and returned to the United States.
There is no doubt that Bartt died doing exactly what he loved and felt he was meant to do—leading the finest soldiers in the world to protect the United States.
Bartt’s family was the only thing he loved more intensely and passionately than service to his country. He thoroughly enjoyed the little things in his family life, like reading to his two girls before tucking them into bed, helping them with gymnastics, and rolling around the family room floor wrestling with them.
His military education included the Combined Arms Services Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, two Army Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal Aviator Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. He was rated in the OH-58 A/C, CH-4D, and MH-47E.
Bartt is deeply missed by his friends and family. He was a good and loyal friend, great husband and father, and an exceptional aviator and officer. His example in life is a legacy we continue to remember and emulate.