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He was designated a naval aviator in June 1996 and has flown the SH-60B Seahawk and T-34C Mentor throughout his career.
His operational assignments include an initial squadron tour with the Scorpions of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 and a detachment officer-in-charge tour with the BattleCats of HSL-43. He served as Assistant Air Operations Officer aboard USS ESSEX (LHD 2) while forwarded deployed to Sasebo, Japan. Serving as amphibious liaison officer onboard USS LINCOLN (CVN-72), CAPT Dowdell supported Indonesian tsunami relief operations. During his tour as Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, the EasyRiders of HSL-37 were awarded the 2011 Battle Efficiency award and selected as Navy nominee for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Phoenix Award for outstanding maintenance. He reported aboard USS BOXER (LHD 4) as the Executive Officer in December 2016, and assumed command of BOXER, July 19, 2018.
Ashore, CAPT Dowdell was a primary flight instructor with the VT-27 Boomers. Post command, CAPT Dowdell served on the Joint Staff, Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate (J-8) as JROC Secretariat Branch Chief and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Requirements. Following his assignment with the Joint Staff, he served as a Federal Executive Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a public policy think tank. CAPT Dowdell most recently served as Deputy, Command Information Officer (CIO) for Business Operations, OPNAV N1.
Over the course of his career CAPT Dowdell accumulated over 3,000 mishap-free flight-hours. Personal decorations include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and multiple unit and campaign awards.
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