15 January 2013
The United States has lost a great Soldier and fine man to cancer. Rob struggled with the disease for about 20 months before passing yesterday. It is with great sorrow that I write these words.
In combat, Rob was courageous and tactically expert. I got to know him in the Deuce Four battalion in Iraq, where Rob was recon platoon sergeant.
Few battalions in Iraq or Afghanistan saw as much combat as the Deuce Four. Recon platoon was the leading edge. I was lucky enough to do many missions with recon, and we were close neighbors for five months during some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Later I came back and had dinner with Rob and his wife Coleen at Fort Lewis and we kept in touch.
During the combat time, Rob brought courage and steadiness to his platoon, and kindly offered much time to help make my dispatches accurate.
Staff Sergeant Adam Lingo of Deuce Four wrote to me yesterday, “He told me something that stuck with me and made me understand why he was a great leader he said "don't ever forget what it was like to be a private. You take care of your Joes and they'll take care of you!"
After Iraq, Rob Bowman helped with my book, Inside the Inferno. In 2011, when I learned he had cancer, I called from Afghanistan and we enjoyed a long conversation via satellite phone. It was an honor to call Rob a friend.
During our call, Rob was his normal self, exuding confidence in the face of a lethal enemy. He remained inspirational. Even on the day that he died, I had gone for a walk and wondered how he was doing. Rob is one of those men in war whom you never forget, and always remember.
Numerous people in the Deuce Four contacted me with the news. All of these veterans are terribly saddened.
Goodbye Rob Bowman. You are missed and remembered by many people. Rest in Peace.