Major Marion P. "Dutch" Owens was born in East Point, Georgia, on April 30, 1921. Upon graduation from Russell High School, he went to work for Western Electric Company. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, passed the 2-year college equivalency test in lieu of the 2-year college credit required for pilot training, and was accepted as an aviation cadet. Owens attended several pre-flight, basic and advanced flying schools, piloting aircraft including the Stearman PT-17, the Vultee BT-13, North American AT-6, and the 9th Air Force Curtiss P-40 Warhawk combat fighter. In 1944, Owens served in combat with the 401st Fighter Squadron, 370th Fighter Group, in Belgium. In 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Flying Cross for displaying conspicuous gallantry in action after he led a flight of six P-38s in an attack on more than 50 German ME-109 aircraft. Owens was personally credited with three enemy planes destroyed, another probably destroyed, and another damaged during the dogfight. On another mission, while escorting a group of B-26 medium bombers, Owens led eight P-51s in retaliation for an attack on the bombers by the new ME-262s, the first German jet-propelled aircraft. He was credited with one ME-262 destroyed and another damaged. In clashes with the much faster, higher flying ME-262s, Owens' tactics during this engagement became the model for U.S. fighter squadrons for the rest of the war. He was recognized as an "American Fighter Ace" and is a member of the American Fighter Aces Association. He also was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Air Medal with Eleven Oak Leaf Clusters, among other medals and decorations. His love of the P-38 led him to join some of his combat squadron friends as a founding member of the National P-38 Association, which is dedicated to preserving the history and accomplishments of "This Wonderful Lady of the Skies". Owens was an active member of the Albany, Georgia, Flying Club for over 25 years and was an accredited flying instructor with more than 6,000 hours of flying time.
For his outstanding accomplishments in aerial military combat as well as his leadership in civilian aviation, Major Marion P. "Dutch" Owens was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 26, 2003.