Longest Active Marine Ended His Career With a Celebration Fitting an American Hero

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Videos by Rare

A Marine’s life is a hard life. It’s also a fulfilling one.

Take the story of veteran United States Marine Corps Col. Edmund J. Bowen, who officially retired after more than 43 years of service in 2017. No one has completed a more lasting career.

He retired during a solemn, ceremonial tribute hosted recently in Washington, D.C., according to Stars and Stripes. At the time of his retirement, Col. Bowen was the longest active U.S. Marine on duty.

Col. Edmund J. Brown
Col. Edmund J. Brown


His retirement ceremony was attended by numerous family and friends who traveled from across the country to Quantico, Va., and then to Washington, D.C., to the Marine Corps Base. Hawaiian-style festivities at clubs in Quantico capped the meaningful night.

Born and raised on Staten Island, Bowen was a savvy young boxer when he joined the Marines in September 1972. He continued to box during his early years in the Corps.

After, he later moved to California to continue his military career, accompanied by his wife, Deb, and their four children.

Col. Bowen attended his Recruit Training in Parris Island, S.C. His enlisted assignments included Engineer Equipment Operator, 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune; Platoon Sergeant, 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan; NCOIC, Recruiting Sub-Station, Brooklyn New York; and SNCOIC, Engineer Equipment Platoon, 1st Landing Support Battalion and 1st Force Service Support Group, Camp Pendleton.

While serving on recruiting duty, he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, meritoriously.

Col. Bowen was appointed to Warrant Officer in 1985, Chief Warrant Officer in 1987, First Lieutenant, Limited Duty Officer (LDO) in 1988, and he re-designated as an unrestricted line officer in January 1991.

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  1. Oh Tim Moxey, please stop writing about subjects of which your knowledge is greatly limited. Col Bowen, undoubtedly has had a long career with the Marine Corps, but he is not the longest serving Marine. You could have simply asked Col Bowen who the longest serving Marine is and he would have informed you that the Grand old man of the Marine Corps is General Archibald Henderson, who served more than 52 years in the Marine Corps and was the longest serving Commandant at 39 years in that post. Thank you for the article on Col Bowen, but please exert a minimum amount of due diligence in the future.

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