Lou Makowski was born in 1930 in Vandolah, Florida. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Air Force for Navigator Training on May 19, 1953, and was awarded his navigator wings at James Connally AFB, Texas, on June 16, 1954. Lt Makowski next completed Navigator-Bombardier Training and B-47 Stratojet Combat Crew Training in November 1955, followed by service as an RB-47 navigator with the 10th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio, from January to February 1956, with the 3rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Lockbourne from February 1956 to April 1957, and with the 4th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Lockbourne from April 1957 to April 1958. His next assignment was as a B-47 Navigator-Bombardier with the 32nd, 352nd, and then the 514th Bomb Squadrons at Lockbourne AFB from April 1958 to March 1965, and then as a B-47 Navigator with the 301st Air Base Wing at Lockbourne AFB from March to August 1965. Maj Makowski attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from August 1965 to June 1966, and then served as a B-57B Canberra navigator with the 13th Bomb Squadron at Clark AB in the Philippines from July 1966 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on October 6, 1966. After spending 2,342 days in captivity, Col Makowski was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and then attended Air War College at Maxwell AFB from August 1973 to June 1974. His next assignment was as Deputy Director of Plans, Policy and Programs; Executive Officer for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans; Deputy Director for Manpower; and then Assistant Director of Administration with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans with Headquarters Strategic Air Command from August 1974 to December 1979. Col Makowski then served as Assistant Deputy Commander for Maintenance of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California, from December 1979 to June 1981, followed by service as Special Assistant to the Commander of the 14th Air Division at Beale AFB from July 1981 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 3, 1983.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For the period October 1966: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the above period while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. This individual resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.