Kenneth “Knobby” Russell Knowe was born in Newport, Rhode Island. He was the youngest of three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo A. Knowe. He was a 1932 graduate of Rogers High School, Newport Rhode Island. Kenneth entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1932 with the class of 1936, majoring in Business Administration. He was a member of Phi Beta Chi Fraternity and participated in the Army ROTC program for three years earning the grade of Sergeant.
Kenneth left RISC in June 1935 and completed two years of training at the YMCA School at Silver Bay, New York. In 1937, he accepted a position with the Newport Rhode Island YMCA as the District Director of the National Aquatics Committee. He was instrumental in developing members of junior groups of the local association into swimmers.
Kenneth left for military training on 21 March 1941 with the 30th Division, Camp Wheeler, Georgia. On 12 February 1944, First Lieutenant Knowe sailed for Europe with the 30th Infantry Division and settled on the south coast of England to participate in further training for the upcoming invasion of Europe. On 6 June 1944, 1LT Knowe started crossing the English Channel to France with the 30th Infantry Division to invade the Continent of Europe and destroy the occupying German forces.
1LT Knowe was assigned as an Infantry Platoon Leader, 1st Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. He was involved in combat operations throughout his assignment with the 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division. His unit tore through the elite German 1st SS Division at St. LO and again at Mortain, thereby allowing General George Patton’s armored forces of the U.S. Third Army to go forward and race across France which helped to shorten the war by many months.
The German 1st SS Division was then reorganized and was again faced by the 30th Infantry Division in the “Battle of the Bulge” during the great Ardennes-Alsace Offensive near Malmedy, Belgium, during the winter of 1944-45. Again the 30th Infantry Division tore to shreds this “elite” enemy division which was never again to return to battle.
For Extraordinary Heroism in Action, First Lieutenant Kenneth Russell Knowe, Infantry U.S. Army, was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart (Posthumously).
Silver Star Citation
The Commanding General of the 30th Infantry Division cites in General Orders: Headquarters, 30th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 100 (1944). The Silver Star is awarded to First Lieutenant Kenneth Russell Knowe, 1st Battalion, 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry division for extraordinary heroism in action near Malmedy, Belgium on 8 October 1944. 1LT Knowe was cited for bravery as he led attacks against the enemy and fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire as he led his soldiers to engage the enemy. During the attack, he was killed in action.
First Lieutenant Kenneth R. Knowe was buried with full military honors in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. 1LT Kenneth R. Knowe was a son of Rhode Island who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to Rhode Island and America. He is a heroic member of the “Greatest Generation.”