Director, National Cemetery System
US Department of Veterans Affairs
A native of Newport, Arkansas, Colonel Bowen graduated from Arkansas State in 1964 with a degree in Agriculture Education and a Regular Army Commission in the Infantry. An ASU ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, he was also a Senator in the ASU Student Government Association, Deputy Commander of the ROTC Cadet Corps, and Commander of the ROTC Drill Team. During his 26 year military career he saw combat with the 82d Airborne Division in the Dominican Republic, served two combat tours in Vietnam, received the Combat Infantryman Badge, and was twice decorated with the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star. His duty positions in the Army included Assistant Professor of Military Science at ASU, Professor of Military Science at ASU, Chief of Army Protocol, Executive Officer for the Director of the Army National Guard, and member of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee for the 1989 inauguration of President Bush. Colonel Bowen retired from the Army in 1989 and returned to Arkansas where he was active in rice and soybean farming in Jackson County. In 1991 he founded JESTCO Fitness, Inc. which operates as "The Athletic Club of Jonesboro." On 20 May 1993, following his nomination by President Clinton, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of the National Cemetery System. In this Assistant Secretary-level position he is responsible for the operation of 114 national cemeteries, and is the highest ranking ASU graduate in the Clinton Administration.