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Honoring Major General William G. Bowdon

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


HONORING MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM G. BOWDON-- (Extensions of Remarks - June 25, 2004)

SPEECH OF
HON. DARRELL E. ISSA
OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2004

Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Major General William G. Bowdon for thirty-four years of outstanding and dedicated service to the United States Marine Corps and his country. Major General Bowdon will retire from the
Marine Corps on July 1.

Graduating from Louisiana State University in 1970, General Bowdon entered the Marine Corps in August and reported to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He received his wings at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas, in February 1972, and reported for flight duty at El Toro, California.

General Bowdon completed F-4 Combat Qualification Training in Yuma, Arizona, in December of 1972. In January 1973 General Bowdon departed for his first Fleet Marine force tour and, following this assignment, served his country as a flight instructor.

In January 1977, General Bowdon received his first overseas assignment in Iwakuni, Japan. He returned to the U.S. the following year to attend Amphibious Warfare School at MCB Quantico, VA.

In August 1982, General Bowdon attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA. After graduation he reported to Marine Training Support Group at the Cecil Field, Florida, Naval Air Station as the Executive Officer.

Major General Bowdon assumed command of VMFA-333 in July 1988 and deployed the "Shamrocks" to the Western Pacific. After this command, Major General Bowdon reported to the National War College at Fort McNair for the training that would prepare him for the great responsibilities our nation was about to entrust in him.

Following graduation then Lt. Col. Bowdon was assigned to the Joint Staff, J-4 Directorate, in the Pentagon in June of 1991. He was promoted to Colonel in August of the following year. In June of 1994 General Bowdon returned to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 11. He was promoted to Brigadier General on October 1, 1996, while assigned as the Assistant Wing Commander of the 2nd Division Marine Aircraft Wing in Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Major General Bowdon assumed the duties as the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point in April 1998. He served as the Deputy Commander of the Marine Forces Reserve in New Orleans for one year in 1999. After that he went on to command a number of posts before assuming command of our nation's largest West Coast Marine Corps base, Camp Pendleton, on June 24, 2002.

Mr. Speaker, I have the distinct honor and privilege of representing California's 49th Congressional District, the home of the Marines of the 1st Division based at Camp Pendleton. For the past two years, I have also had the honor of working with General Bowdon during the one of the most significant times in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps' storied First Division.

Last year the 1st Division Marines, along with a U.S. Army Division and a British Division, crushed a much larger Iraqi force that had been set-up to defend the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. The victory achieved by America and its allies, thanks to outstanding training, technology, bravery, and command, was the quickest and most decisive defeat of a modern military power in history.

The Marines of the First Division, who spearheaded this victory, were trained at Camp Pendleton and many left their families behind in the care of Camp Pendleton and communities like Oceanside, Fallbrook, and Vista while they were serving in Iraq. As the commanding officer of Camp Pendleton, General Bowdon played a crucial role in preparing the Marines of the 1st Division for the great victory they helped achieve in Iraq and for successfully executing the largest troop rotation in the history of the U.S. military.

One of General Bowdon's finest qualities as a commanding officer, however, is that he cares about Marines and their families well beyond their training and their ability to perform under fire on the battlefield. General Bowdon and I have worked together on a number of issues on Camp Pendleton including getting better housing for Marine families, improving recreational facilities for enlisted Marines, strengthening relations between Camp Pendleton and the neighboring city of Oceanside, and seeking out improvements to the quality of water on base. As commander of Camp Pendleton, he was truly dedicated to both his duty as a U.S. Marine and to his fellow Marines with whom he served.
General Bowdon has received awards including the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Major General Bowdon has had an exemplary career filled with distinction. It has been a great pleasure to know and work with General Bowdon and an honor to offer this testament to his dedication, service and hard work for America.

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