from Huntsville, AL LTC Bowers served with: Born in 1957, Ranger Bowers was 46 years old at the time of his death in 2004.
Complete biography is below the photo gallery
LTC William Earl Bowers 's Biography
During his military service, LTC William Earl Bowers also served in 5th IN and 25th IN Division
Bowers, William Earl
LTC (Ret.) Us Army
Date Of Birth: 09/18/1957
Date Of Death: 09/10/2004
Buried At: Section 25 Site 3549
Arlington National Cemetery
Bill, you will not be forgotten. You truly served with honor and distinction both in and out of uniform.
Bill left for Iraq from Huntsville, AL on August 22, 2004, to head a team from SEI Group Inc., which had an engineering support contract for electrical power generation and distribution systems for U.S. military installations in Iraq. He was to return at the end of September. Bill was killed by gunfire from unknown assailants outside Baghdad on September 10, 2004.
William Earl Bowers was born on 18 Sep 1957 to William and Betty Bowers in Chicago, IL. The oldest of five children, Bill learned at an early age to be a role model, mentor and teacher, even if the lessons he provided were not all conventional. Whether it was volunteering to chaperone his younger siblings’ sleepovers, teaching them to disco, or instigating “Whoopee Time” during driving lessons, Bill always gladly played big brother.
Bill attended Schaumburg High School, lettered in football and wrestling, was a member of the undefeated conference cham¬pion wresting team, and was a member of the National Honor Society. These years evidenced Bill’s good nature, natural leadership and intelligence. Energy and commitment would typify his entire life, whether in support of his family, friends, soldiers, or students.
An appointment to West Point came Bill’s way in recognition of his athletic and academic prowess and his demonstrated leadership ability. After Beast Barracks, Bill found himself in “Chargin’ Charley 1,” where he numbered among those who played the game well and laughed off the trials and tribulations of being a Plebe. He became a member of the H-3 Hawks in Cow year. During his entire tenure as a cadet, Bill absolutely lived by the mantra, “cooperate and graduate.” Bill graduated in the top 20 percent of the class and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.
After the Engineer Officer Basic Course and Ranger School, Bill was assigned to the 588th Combat Engineer Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, Ft. Polk, LA, where he rose in rank to captain and commanded a line Engineer company. In June of 1981, Bill married the love of his life, Evelyn, who characterized him as “the greatest man I ever knew.” After the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, where he was named the honor graduate, Bill was assigned to Northern Illinois University as an assistant professor in the Department of Military Science. After a short tour in Korea with the 2nd Engineer Group, Bill and his family traveled to Hawaii, where he was assigned as the S-3 and executive officer of the 65th Engineer Battalion, as well as the assistant division engineer for the 25th Infantry Division. He then reported to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA, where his expertise as a trainer earned him a fourth Meritorious Service Medal. Bill’s final assignment was as the Third Army deputy assistant chief of staff (Engineer), which began his association with the Middle East, and during which he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Upon his retirement in 1999, Bill was awarded the Legion of Merit.
Bill’s civilian career started in April 1999 when he joined Lockwood Greene Technologies as a project manager and civil engineer on projects which included Refugee Camp Construction in Albania.
In May 2001, Bill joined the SEI Group as a program manager for contracts providing immediate engineering support to military operational contingencies and disaster relief around the world. In this capacity, Bill led teams supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with projects in Kuwait, Qatar, Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he led humanitarian projects in Eritrea, Africa. His exemplary contributions and leadership abilities were recognized by his promotion to vice-president of SEI in May 2002. It was during his final trip to Iraq, in September 2004, that Bill exemplified the phrase “Scouts Out” in clearing the way for others so that they could follow in safety. Unknowingly traversing between the enemy in front of him and an Army unit behind him, he was ambushed by insurgents while traveling alone between U.S. facilities. In what proved to be his final act of selflessness and generosity, Bill gave his body armor to a member of his team so that they did not have to travel without protection.
Bill was buried at Arlington during a driving rainstorm in November 2004. The weather seemed somehow appropriate, as heaven wept with the rest of us as we said our final goodbyes.
Bill Bowers lived life large. In doing so, he became larger than life to his colleagues, his friends, and his family. Those of us in his social circle at West Point remember that he memorized the famous Rudyard Kipling poem, Gunga Din. Although he intended it as a trifle to amuse his friends, prophetically, the poem’s story of a common man who dedicates himself to the service of others and dies in that pursuit turned out to be a metaphor for Bill’s life.
Wife: Evelyn Bowers said her husband was returning "from a mundane business meeting" when his vehicle entered an area that was occupied by rebels, who opened fire. The vehicle was riddled with bullets and he was killed instantly. Evelyn Bowers said her husband would want her and others to continue with their lives. “He was just that kind of guy," she said. "I know he would want us to remember him with happy thoughts."
Civilian Boss: SEI President Eloy Torrez described Bowers as a positive "can-do person." "He was a real patriot. He believed in what he was doing,"
Brother: Bill was not just my older brother - he was my best friend. He was not just an uncle to my sons and an in-law to my wife - he was their hero. He was not just a leader to his people - he was an inspiration. He was not just a soldier - he was a patriot. He lived by the warrior ethos and applied it throughout his life. He always placed the mission first. He always prioritized his family, his country, and his work. Never leave a fallen comrade behind. He took the heaviest risks and covered his people to make sure that they were safe. Never accept defeat. He put his all into everything he did and taught others to always give their best, whether in sports, in the military, or in business. When our firstborn son was christened, we chose Bill & Evelyn as godparents because we hoped that someday our oldest son might be as great as Bill. We also felt that if anything happened to us, we could think of no better people to care for our legacy. We are pledged to do the same for Bill.
West Point Classmate: If a classmate needed help, he was the first to drop what he was doing to assist. Not one to “sweat the small stuff,” Bill was able to keep his perspective and to ground others at critical times. His H-3 roommate remembers, “Bill was always there to help keep me sane and yuck it up when things were borderline out of control.”
65th EN BN, 25th ID Comrade in Arms: Bill epitomized selfless service and was a physical animal. He brought Ranger values with him where ever he served. He was initially assigned to a Readiness Group working with the Reserved Component in Hawaii. The officer originally assigned to our Sapper Battalion wasn’t ready to meet the demands of being a light infantry division sapper. Bill and this officer switched assignments. He jumped at the chance to be with the sappers of the 65th “First In, Last Out” Sapper Battalion. We worked hard and we partied hard. I’m proud to have known and served with Bill. It’s an honor to call him a “friend”.
The William E. Bowers Engineering Scholarship:
The William E. Bowers Engineering Scholarship is awarded to an undergraduate civil engineering major who demonstrates financial need, academic merit, and potential to contribute to community and University. Eligible applicants must also be a member of an intercollegiate athletic team. The scholarship was established for the benefit of the students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville by the SEI Group, Inc. to honor the memory of the late William E. Bowers.