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After 43 years, the country’s longest-serving Marine retires

Edmund Bowen

Col. Edmund Bowen, mid­dle, dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny at the Joint Base Myer-Hen­der­son Hall in Arling­ton, Va., on Oct. 14, 2015. (Pho­to: Hai­ley D. Stu­art / U.S. Marine Corps)

Fol­low­ing more than four decades of active duty ser­vice, the country’s longest-serv­ing Marine retired.

Unit­ed States Marine Corps Col. Edmund J. Bowen served his coun­try for over 43 years and was recent­ly hon­ored in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ni­al trib­ute, Stars and Stripes report­ed.

Bowen, who was born and raised on Stat­en Island and the sec­ond old­est of nine chil­dren, enlist­ed in 1972 after work­ing as a paper car­ri­er and went to Par­ris Island, South Car­oli­na, for train­ing. Bowen had pre­vi­ous­ly trained as a box­er when he first joined the Marines, a sport which he con­tin­ued dur­ing the ear­ly years of his mil­i­tary career.

Bowen lat­er act­ed as engi­neer equip­ment oper­a­tor for 2nd Engi­neer Bat­tal­ion, 2nd Marine Divi­sion at Camp Leje­une; pla­toon sergeant, 3rd Shore Par­ty Bat­tal­ion, 3rd Marine Divi­sion in Oki­nawa, Japan; senior non-com­mis­sioned offi­cer at the recruit­ing sub-sta­tion in Brook­lyn, New York; and senior NCO of Engi­neer Equip­ment Pla­toon, 1st Land­ing Sup­port Bat­tal­ion and 1st Force Ser­vice Sup­port Group at Camp Pendle­ton.

In addi­tion, Bowen served in Oper­a­tion Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Oper­a­tion Restore Hope in Soma­lia, Africa; Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom in Bagh­dad Iraq; and com­plet­ed two tours in Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom in Hel­mand Province, Afghanistan.

Dur­ing his ser­vice, Bowen earned the Legion of Mer­it with gold star in lieu of sec­ond award; Bronze Star Medal; Defense Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal with oak leaf clus­ter; Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal; Joint Ser­vice Com­men­da­tion Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Com­men­da­tion Medal with two gold stars; Navy and Marine Corps Achieve­ment Medal with two gold stars; and the Com­bat Action Rib­bon.

Bowen’s sis­ter, Sharen Bowen Grube, said her broth­er was a high­ly respect­ed mem­ber of the Stat­en Island com­mu­ni­ty. He would often men­tor to young res­i­dents who expressed inter­est in a mil­i­tary career and recruit­ed a num­ber of Stat­en Island res­i­dents into the mil­i­tary.

Bowen and his wife, Deb, have four adult chil­dren, all of whom he said have always sup­port­ed his career.

We are a very close fam­i­ly,” said Grube.
After 43 years, the country’s longest-serv­ing Marine retires
After 43 years, the country’s longest-serv­ing Marine retires

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