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col. edmund bowen longest-serving marine
Col. Edmund Bowen pictured in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in 2011.|Photo by DVIDS

Longest-Serving Marine Officially Retires After 43 Years

Col. Edmund J. Bowen, the nation's longest-serving marine, has called it a career after over four decades of service.

The nation’s longest-serving Marine has officially retired after more than 43 years of service.

United States Marine Corps Col. Edmund Bowen called it a day during a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C. honoring his stellar career, Stars and Stripes says.

A native of Staten Island, New York and the second eldest of nine children, Col. Bowen worked as a paper carrier and then at a supermarket, and was training to be a boxer before he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and was sent off to Parris Island, S.C. in September of 1972.

Col. Bowen’s enlisted assignments included serving as an 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; NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge), Recruiting Sub-Station, Brooklyn New York; and senior NCOIC for Engineer Equipment Platoon, 1st Landing Support Battalion and 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Pendleton.

Col. Bowen also served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Operation Restore Hope in Somalia; Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad, Iraq; and two tours of Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

According to Stars and Stripes, Col. Bowen was highly decorated during his time in the Corps, earning a 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.

He also graduated from Marine Corps Engineer School, Amphibious Warfare School, Advance Logistics Officer Course, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Air War College, not to mention holding a bachelor degree in management from Linfield College, a master of Military Studies from the Marine Corps University, and a master of Strategic Studies from the Air University.

His sister, Sharen, told Stars and Stripes that he also mentored young adults in Staten Island — where he still lives to this day — who are interested in joining the military.

In other words, Col. Edmund Bowen, the longest-serving Marine, has had an absolutely amazing career.

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