Robins engineer receives long-awaited Bronze Star

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 ABW/PA
Every so often, a ceremony is held at Robins to award a Bronze Star, but one held Aug. 21 was quite different from the rest.

For starters, the award wasn't pinned on an Airman in uniform. It was given to an air conditioning mechanic wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt and a Georgia Bulldogs cap.

The Bronze Star, the nation's fourth highest combat medal, went to Roy Bowden for his service in the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Brigade in Iraq from May 2005 to May 2006. Mr. Bowden served as a section leader, leading 40 combat convoy patrols in some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq.

He left the Guard upon returning and with his departure, the fact that he was awarded a Bronze Star was never relayed to him. Mr. Bowden, who was a sergeant in the Guard, didn't know he had won the award until he was looking at his record online earlier this year.

Today he works as a civilian in the 78th Civil Engineer Squadron at Robins. Despite being an Air Force base, Guard leaders asked to have the ceremony here.

"We thought it was very important to show this memorable event to Roy's family and co-workers," said Col. Steve Joyce, rear detachment commander for the 48th Brigade Combat Team.

Mr. Bowden said he was trying to get some information online in February for his job application at Robins when discovered he had been awarded a Bronze Star. It was signed by the Secretary of the Army in November, 2007.

"I was kind of shocked," he said. "You don't fight wars for medals, but it's nice when you get one."

A man of few words, Mr. Bowden didn't have much else to say after getting the award, except to express his gratitude for the honor.

Colonel Joyce, who officiated the ceremony, said Mr. Bowden's superiors called him "a natural-born leader that soldiers want to follow."

Col. Carl Buhler, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing, spoke at the ceremony, noting that he was only 61 days removed from combat duty.

"You can be damned proud of the U.S. Army and the Guard," Colonel Buhler said. "No service will win the war by itself; it's the efforts of men and women like you on the front that makes our jobs in the Air Force easier each and every day."