The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) mourns the passing, at age 100, of Lieutenant General Edward L. Rowny, a true American hero and great patriot.
Gen. Rowny, a native of Baltimore, was of Polish ethnic heritage. He joined with TFAS to launch the Paderewski (now the Rowny Paderewski) Scholarship Fund in 2004 to enable students from Poland to attend a TFAS summer institute in Washington, D.C. He was very proud of the fact that the scholarship fund became permanently endowed at the time of his 100th birthday. As a young man, he benefitted from a Polish-American scholarship fund that enabled him to visit Poland to study that country’s history and culture.
Gen. Rowny’s distinguished U.S. Army career saw him in command of troops during World War II, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam. After Germany’s defeat in 1945, he was transferred from Europe to the Pacific Theater and assigned to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff, serving as his spokesman. In 1950, he helped plan the brilliant landing at Inchon, Korea, which drove the invading North Koreans into full retreat.
In 1971, Gen. Rowny was appointed a U.S. representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with the Soviet Union until he resigned from the Army in protest over the Carter Administration’s endorsement of the SALT II agreement, which he strongly believed was tilted in the Soviets’ favor and would undermine U.S. national security. After Ronald Reagan’s election, Rowny was appointed chief negotiator, with the rank of ambassador, to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) talks. He continued as an arms reduction advisor and negotiator through the first half of George H.W. Bush’s term until retiring from nearly 50 years in uniform and public service. He received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. His citation noted: “Rowny was one of the chief architects of peace through strength.”
In retirement, Gen. Rowny received many honors and accolades, including the Walter Judd Freedom Award from TFAS in 2007. He fulfilled a 50-year ambition by spearheading the return of the remains of Polish patriot Ignacy Jan Paderewski from the U.S. to Warsaw. Earlier this year, he served as an honorary host committee member of the TFAS 50th Anniversary Gala and attended the celebration at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 28, 2017.
TFAS president Roger Ream said “Gen. Rowny had a truly distinguished career and led a full and remarkable life. While he was a proud, dedicated American patriot, Poland always held a special place in his heart. That’s why it was such an honor for me and my colleagues at TFAS to work closely with him to provide opportunities for young Poles – the future leaders of Poland – to live, learn and intern in Washington, D.C., and be able to return to their homeland as advocates for freedom and free markets. While we will miss Gen. Rowny, we are grateful for all he accomplished and honored to have known and worked with him. We salute the legacy of Edward Rowny and extend deepest sympathies to the Rowny family.”
In lieu of flowers, Gen. Rowny’s family has asked for memorial gifts to be made to the Rowny Paderewski Scholarship Fund.