Sgt. 1st Class David L. McDowell, 30, was a platoon sergeant assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash.He was born in Hawaii on Oct. 17, 1977.
He was wounded by enemy fire while conducting combat operations and later died on April 29, 2008 near Bastion, Afghanistan. McDowell was serving in his seventh combat deployment. His previous deployments were to Afghanistan and Iraq.
After graduating from Poway High School in Poway, Calif., McDowell enlisted in the Army from his hometown of Ramona in July 1996. He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning,Ga., as an infantryman. After graduating from the Basic Airborne Course there, he was assigned to the Ranger Indoctrination Program also at Fort Benning.
He graduated from the Ranger Indoctrination Program in November 1996 and was then assigned to 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in December 1996. He served there as an automatic rifleman, machine gun team leader, fire team leader, rifle squad leader, and weapons squad leader. In 2005, he was assigned to the Regimental Training Detachment as a pre Ranger Course instructor at Fort Benning. Following that assignment, McDowell returned to 2nd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment as a platoon sergeant in 2006.
His military education includes Basic Airborne Course, Nuclear Hazards Course, Ranger Course,Warrior Leader Course, Jump master Course, Combat Lifesaver Course, Basic Non commissioned Officer Course, and the Advanced Non commissioned Officer Course.
McDowell’s awards and decorations include Bronze Star Medal with Valor device, Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, three Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three NCO Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.
He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and Meritorious Service Medal.
He is survived by his wife Joleen, son Joshua and daughter Erin of Lakewood, Wash., his mother Laurie Ann Wathen of Julian, Calif., and father Steven L. McDowell of Hope Mills, N.C.
As a Ranger, Sgt. 1 st Class David L. McDowell distinguished himself as a member of the Army’s premier light infantry unit, traveled to all corners of the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and fought valiantly to “uphold the prestige, honor, and high ‘esprit de corps’” of the Ranger Regiment.