Cmdr. Paul Bowdich will relinquish command of Helicopter Training Squadron EIGHT to Cmdr. Matthew Bowen, during a change of command ceremony Thursday, April 4 at 10 a.m. in the Naval Air Station Whiting Field Atrium building.
After more than 16 months in the top spot, Bowdich will release the reins of the squadron to his executive officer, who helped the squadron earn numerous accolades during their tenure. Under Bowdich’s command HT-8 exceeded the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) production requirements for helicopter pilots by 5 percent, winging almost 200 military aviators. This encompassed more than 20,000 flight hours during 11,000 sorties for Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and allied nation student pilots. Throughout the demanding pace of training, Bowdich required the highest quality of mentorship from his officers, resulting in a grade of ‘Outstanding’ during the annual CNATRA Flight Instructor Standardization inspection.
Additionally, he reinvigorated the squadron’s partnership with Hobbs Middle School, encouraging membersof the squadron to volunteer more than 460 hours to the community.
Bowdich leaves the “Eightballers” to take up the post of Navigator aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt(CVN-71). It serves as the next step for a career that began in 1994 as a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He attended flight training at NAS Corpus Christi before earning his “Wings of gold” as a helicopter pilot in 1997 with HT-18 at NAS Whiting Field. Throughout his career, Bowdich served three tours with HC-2 “Fleet Angels,” helped establish HSC-22, earned his Master’s Degree through the Naval War College, was the ‘Air Boss’ aboard USS Ogden (LPD-5) and worked as the Coalition Force Generation Officer for U.S. Central Command. He has more than 3,000 flight hours in the UH-3H, VH-3A, MH-60S, TH-57C and T-34C aircraft.
Bowen takes command of HT-8 after nearly 18 years of Naval service. Like Bowdich, he is also a graduateof the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and served tours aboard the USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) and the USS Bataan (LHD-5) before transitioning to Naval aviation. Following his winging (also as a helicopter pilot with HT-18), he reported to HC-6 in Norfolk, Va. Bowen followed that tour with service as part of HSC-26, HC-3, HS-10, HS-8 and HSC-23. He also worked as the Flag Lieutenant to the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force; Director of Personnel for the Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component in Balad, Iraq; Deputy Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations; and Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, before earning his Master’s Degree at the Naval War College.
Cmdr. Robert Sinram will replace Bowen as the executive officer for the squadron.
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