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5/1/17

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Paul Bowen USMC Obituary



      Lieutenant Colonel Donald Paul Bowen USMC(Ret) died 23 April 2017 after a lengthy illness. Raised in Philadelphia, he received his appointment from Pennsylvania, was in the 23rd company, and lived in the 6th wing of Bancroft Hall. On graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, USMC. 
     Following training at The Basic School, Quantico, Virginia, he received flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida and earned his wings.  He flew F-J2 and F3D aircraft at MCAS Cherry Point, NC.  Don then moved to NAS Atsugi, Japan and flew F3D’s.  His next assignment was MCAS, El Toro, California where he flew F8U Crusaders. In October 1961 Don attended the Naval Test Pilot School, NAS, Patuxent River, Maryland, and then spent two years testing advanced ordnance systems on tactical aircraft.  In 1965 he returned to NAS Atsugi, Japan, and deployment to Danang, South Vietnam, where he flew F-4B combat missions.  In 1966 Don attended the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico.  Afterwards, he was assigned to NAVAIR, Washington as Class Desk Officer for the new A-7 attack aircraft.  In 1968 he attended graduate school, George Washington University, Washington, where he earned an MBA.  He then returned to Chu Lai, Vietnam.  Assignments led to him becoming CO, VMFA-115.  He flew the F-4 and C-117, and completed 350 combat missions. Don’s last duty was in OPNAV in the Pentagon.  During his career he flew more than 50 different aircraft.  Personal decorations include the Legion of Merit w/V, the Distinguished Flying Cross, 22 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal w/V, 2 Presidential Unit Citations, and 3 Navy Unit Commendations.
     Don retired in 1974 and became Marketing Manager, Sundstrand, Washington, D.C.  He ended up in St. Louis, Missouri where he met and married Carole in 1980.  Don re-retired in 1989 and moved to Fort Pierce, Florida where he invested his heart and labor in The Semper Fi, a trawler.  Don subsequently sold it, bought a Maule STOL aircraft, and returned to flying.  Don’s last flight was an emergency landing when his single engine quit and didn’t restart.
       In 2009 he incurred significant health  problems, inhibiting his mobility. Preceded in death by brothers Gerald and (Reverend) Joseph, Don is survived by his wife Carole, sons Gregory and Mark, daughter Susan L. Nelson, grandson Ryan D. Welsh, stepdaughter Paige E. Estes, brothers John and Paul, and sister Rosemary Wachinski. His cremated remains will be inurned in the Columbarium, Arlington National Cemetery

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