Bowden earns colonel rank in reserves

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Most military promotions are awarded at military installations. However, Lt. Col. Ben Bowden received his promotion to colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve before a hometown crowd in Andalusia on April 27.

Officials from Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, Fla., where Bowden is assigned to the Air Force special operations command, conducted the ceremony. Angie Bowden had the honor of pinning the new rank on her husband.

The promotion rate is only about 16 percent of those eligible to be selected, so Bowden, a Brundidge native, said he is excited and feels blessed, deeply honored and humbled by the promotion.

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“I was actually notified in December that I had received the promotion,” Bowden said. “I assumed the rank on April 1 and was very honored that the ceremony was held in Andalusia where my family and friends could share the experience with me.”

Bowden began his military career at the University of Alabama where he was enrolled in the ROTC program. He received his commission as an Air Force Second Lieutenant when he graduated in 1989.

He applied for a deferment to active duty so that he could attend law school at the University of Alabama.

Upon graduation from law school, Bowden served on active duty in Germany and Italy and came back to the states in 1997. He joined the Albritton Firm in Andalusia and became a partner in 2008. As an Air Force reservist, he was deployed to Iraq that same year.

When Bowden returned home, in the fall of 2008, he was appointed probate judge of Covington County by Gov. Bob Riley.

Bowden stood for election to that position in March and won the contested election and a full term as probate judge of Covington County.

“Being probate judge was a big change, from an advocate to making decisions,” Bowden said. “As an attorney, you are an advocate and you press and argue for your side. As a judge, you can’t be for either side. Decisions rest with you so you have to give much more serious thought and weight to things. But, then, you have more control of your life as far as scheduling, things like that. Your quality of life improves.”

Bowden said that looking back on his military career, five years on active duty and 15 years in the Reserves, it has provide him with valuable life experiences that he couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

“I’ve been able to travel overseas and be involved in important headline kinds of events,” he said. “But, first, I would recommend active duty to any young person. It gives you a sense of service and it’s a maturing experience. And, then the Reserves, which provide you with opportunities to contribute and serve and, at the same time, have roots.

“It’s not always easy being in the Reserves because you have to go off for training and have to be away from your family and your civilian job. But there are so many benefits to military service. Both active duty and the Reserves are options well worth considering.”

Bowden and his wife have two children, Anna Beth, 17, and Sim, 13. They make their home in Andalusia, which is their home away from home.

Bowden is the son of Lawrence and Sara Bowden of Brundidge.