Michael's Dispatches

Rob Bowman Passed Away


image001-1000LTC Erik Kurilla (L) and SFC Rob Bowman after terrible car bomb in Mosul, Iraq (April 2005)

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.

image003-1000SFC Bowman shades his commander's eyes after he was shot in Iraq.

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.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bill Brent · 8 years ago
    So sorry for the loss of your friend. And for the loss of a fine soldier.
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    colette ellis · 8 years ago
    Very sorry for your loss Mike. You now have a special friend in heaven and he will meet you again someday.
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    Neville Arjani · 8 years ago
    R.I.P. Rob Bowman, patriot and hero.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sara Johnson · 8 years ago
    This is a sad story, yet a fine tribute to an amazing American. A story we would otherwise never hear. Thank you for your service SFC Bowman. May the Spirit of God's Peace be with you and your Family.
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    RogerDane · 8 years ago
    Deepest condolences and sympathies. America loses another fine, brave leader, warrior and Patriot. God Speed!
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    Bill Dettmer · 8 years ago
    I didn't know Rob Bowman, except through reading "Gates of Fire" and other accounts of the Mosul campaign. But when I read your report of his passing, my eyes teared up just the same. The injustice of such a fine American and a superior soldier being taken by such an insidious disease after having successfully survived the dangers of hostile file in a hostile land is just demoralizing.

    God bless and protect Rob Bowman...and every other American military member in harm's way.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jesse · 8 years ago
    I will drink to your life and your shadow. Semper Fi Sergeant First Class Bowman. A true warrior.
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    Diana Peterson · 8 years ago
    Words are but dust in the roaring wind, when they try to bring you relief.... and thoughts are but straws on the raging sea, when they seek to soothe your grief; but love is a light in the lonely night, to comfort and show you the way....and faith is a rock on which hope is built, that you will meet again, some day. My heart aches for his family and friends. In the words of my precious daughter-in-law, who just lost her young & vibrant dad on Dec 26th to a vicious, raging cancer........fxxx cancer.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    leyla · 8 years ago
    My best to his family and may we always remember his sacrifices and his courage and strength of honor!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shawn Hodges · 8 years ago
    I had the pleasure of serving with Rob Bowman 04-05 Mosul, and again in 07-08 as one of his Platoon Sergeants, fine man indeed. He tought me alot over the years and for my last 4 years as a 1SG I strived to lead as well as he did. A great leader and friend, will be missed by all that knew him.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter · 8 years ago
    Thanks for your service and life Rob. My condolences to Mrs Bowman.
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    Zabi · 8 years ago
    Rest in peace!!
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    IronV · 8 years ago
    Blessings to you Sgt. Thank you and your family for your service and gifts to your comrades, your family, and our country.
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    Sun Tzu · 8 years ago
    Why can't we have leaders like Rob Bowman leading this country instead of Communist cretins we have right now? :-?

    It remains one of the great mysteries of life I suppose :sad:

    In retrospect I remember vividly Michaels reporting of the firefight shown above wherein Michael and Sgt. Bowman played a key role in saving LTC Kurilla, by Michael picking up the Col's rifle and plastering the enemy with .22 rds :-*

    I think Michael got chewed out by the Colonel, but was thanked by everyone else, including Sgt Bowman!

    I hope Sgt Bowman meets my little brother and my father in heaven and they have a beer or two, or three... 8)

    RIP Bro ;-)
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    Live Fire · 8 years ago
    I believe that God has a special place in heaven for warriors who fight the evil of terrorism and SFC Rob Bowman is in that place. RIP Sgt Bowman - stand tall and at ease. A special thanks to you and your family for your faithful service to this great country. We will never forget!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peggy Pollen · 8 years ago
    Strength and Honor
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    SSG John Philibert · 8 years ago
    I knew SGM Bowman when he was 1SG Bowman from HHC, /2d SCR in Germany. The first time I saw him, he scared the piss out of me. Lex Luthor's doppelganger and ten times as mean. "He eats babies." I thought. I grew to know him at FOB Normandy Iraq from 2009-2010; a place where you REALLY get to know what a person is about. Not only was he a great Soldier, but an outstanding NCO and an inspiring leader. Anybody who may have crossed paths with CSM Bowman is very lucky. Anyone who has gotten to know him is truly blessed. Anyone who has served under him is forever changed - for the better. I'll never forget him. I look forward to seeing him again on that distant shore, where all Soldiers go. Good lookin' out, Hammer 7.
    Thunder Phil out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Carland · 8 years ago
    The Army and this nation has lost a great leader and warrior. I lost a brother. Rob and I first met at pre-ranger training. We survived Ranger school together and had fun at Airborne school. For those who have been there you know what I mean..... He will never be forgotten...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James L. Owens · 8 years ago
    Semper Fi, soldier and God bless your family
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    Charles Lingerfelt · 8 years ago
    We will miss You, Brother!
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    Bryan Andrew · 8 years ago
    I only know of him via Michaels books and dispatches, but he was ddefinitely a good man and outstanding Soldier. I salute you Sir.
    Cpl. Andrew USMC 94-98
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    John Duerr · 8 years ago
    Rob was by far the most liked and respected NCO I ever knew. You could be having a down day but when he came around the corner you did everything in your power to be the best you could be. I remember when we received a new 1ST SGT when we deployed to Iraq we were terrified, but to our surprise when we got there our platoon was tasked to him. It was the best time of my Army career serving again under his command in one of the most hostile place in Iraq at that time. Rob led us into a fight in Southern Baghdad and if we had gone in with any one else I cant say what the out come would have been. With him as our leader and father figure we went in with confidence and a ruck full of courage. Thank you Rob for letting us have that chance to serve and make you proud . It was an honor to serve with you and you will never be forgotten.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Adriane · 8 years ago
    May his family find strength and be comforted ...
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    wolfemanjack · 8 years ago

    I have to wonder if all that damn bottled water that we drink over there isn't partly to blame. It comes in plastic bottles that have warning labels that say something to the effect of "Store in a cool place away from sunlight ... " But that never happens. You know you've got a good bottle when the water only has a faint taste of old diesel fuel. And when it has a strong taste of ODF ... then you just joke with your buddies about getting cancer someday. Sad. Another reason why this damn war needs to end soon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cindy Eisenbise-Geel · 8 years ago
    This is a very nice tribute to him. I dont know the solider Rob but i knew the School Rob.. he was a good guy then, I wasnt one of the popular kids but he always managed a hello for EVERYONE. Even then he had a way of making us feel like we where something. My husband is a career Coast Guard sailor and in reading this he has seen the respect that I seen and you have given in tribute to this great guy, we give him a whoo raaaa
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    Mark Bowman · 8 years ago
    Something about our family that just leads us to the battlefeild. Travel well Brother, see you at Fiddlers Green.

    CSM Mark W Bowman
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    Lindsay · 8 years ago
    Rob I remember the last time I saw you. We went to PF Changs in Stanford, CA and that was the best lunch I had at that time. I am so glad the whole family surprised me that very grueling day. You have amazed me with your strength. I love you cousin! Rest in Peace. Rob Bowman
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    Sb Lewis · 8 years ago
    RIP CSM Bowman. My thoughts and prayers out to all those with whom he served, and to all of his family and his friends. I remember hearing about Rob Bowman on these pages, and I am so sorry to hear of his loss to cancer. My thanks to him for his valiant service to us all...
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    Charles Becvarik · 8 years ago
    RIP Brother!
    It is time to pass the torch.
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    FThomas · 8 years ago
    I extend my condolences to the family of Sgt. Bowman and his friends. All of you lost someone close and very special to each of you in your own private way. Our Nation lost a great soldier and hero. My prayers go out to the family and friends of Sgt. Bowman. May God Keep You and Comfort You in your grief.
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    John Carroll · 8 years ago
    A sad time for Sgt. Bowman's family,Unit and the U.S.
    He epitomizes what is best in our nation and Military.

    God bless and rest in peace Sgt. Bowman.
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    LTC Don Brown · 8 years ago
    Rob Bowman was a great man and a great soldier! The nation lost a hero. RIP amigo. DB
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    Alex Reyes · 8 years ago
    He was my Drill Sergeant during our time in B260 BCT unit. Awesome and proven leader. God Bless.
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    Joe G · 7 years ago
    I haven't kept up with many people from my Army days. I was wondering where some people were and stumbled on this when looking for some of my Drill Sergeants. Rob Bowman was one of my Drill Sergeants and a great one at that. Definitely someone you always remember. Was at Fort Jackson the summer of 99'. Saddened to here of his passing, what a great guy. Thanks for your leadership. Rest in peace

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