VIP Biography - Major General (Retired)
Ken Bowra 1971 Vietnam MAC-SOG
ILT Ken Bowra and Recon Team (RT) Sidewinder. MACV-SOG, Command and Control North (C.C.N) - TFIAE (click to view larger photo)
ILT Ken Bourd 1971 Vietnam. MAC-SOG (C.C.N). Recon Team Side Winder. "Barv Mantagnud Tribe" (click to view larger photo)
Major General (Retired) Kenneth R. Bowra graduated as a Distinguished Military Student from the Citadel Military College of South Carolina, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry branch of the U.S. Army in 1970. His initial assignment was as an airborne rifle platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Bowra served in the Republic of Vietnam as a reconnaissance team leader ("One Zero") of Recon Teams Idaho and Sidewinder in MACV-Studies and Observations Group TF1AE (CCN). As a SOG Team Leader in Vietnam, Bowra conducted numerous deep special combat operations against North Vietnamese targets with an indigenous Montagnard team and one other American. He later served as an advisor to Cambodian Infantry Battalions, serving as an A-Team executive officer and commander. In 1974, Bowra was assigned to Military Equipment Delivery Team Cambodia, where he again advised and assisted Cambodian forces until he was evacuated during Operation Eagle Pull, just prior to the collapse of Phnom Penh and the fall of the Khmer Republic in April 1975.
Following his return to the States, Bowra served as a company commander in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado; and with the 2nd Battalion (Ranger) of the 75th Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. During the period 1977-78, MG Bowra was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
From 1983-88, Bowra served in the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, participating in several special operations missions including deployment in the initial assault of Grenada in 1983.
As commander of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), MG Bowra designed and deployed the first-ever U.S. de-mining program in support of operations in Afghanistan. Operation Safe Passage was later adopted by the United Nations. Under his command, the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Special Forces Group also conducted numerous classified programs in support of the Afghan Mujihadeen and their resistance from Soviet occupation.
MG Bowra has commanded Special Forces units from the Operational Detachment Alpha, battalion and Group level. While commander of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Bowra supported Special Operations combat and humanitarian missions in Somalia during the period 1992-93, as well as conducted border surveillance and coalition warfare missions in Kuwait. Under his command, the 5th Special Forces Group also conducted multiple regional engagement missions throughout Southwest Asia and Africa - including Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kenya.
From November 1993 thru January 1996, Bowra served as the Commanding General, Special Operations Command South, U.S. Southern Command in the Republic of Panama. He commanded over 500 Special Operations deployments, to include counter-narcotic humanitarian relief operations in support of the U.S. Regional Security Strategy in Central and South America. He formed, deployed and commanded a Joint Task Force to conduct peace-keeping operations in the Peru-Ecuador War. This multinational force is credited with stopping the conflict, the withdrawal of 10,000 combatants and demobilization of 150,000 additional belligerent forces.
In May 1996, MG Bowra assumed command of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg. As commanding general, he was responsible for organizing, training, equipping, readiness and world-wide employment of 10,000 Special Forces soldiers assigned to the command. These include operations in Bosnia, Central and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Additionally, Bowra published and implemented the first "Human Rights" Policy which provided specific guidance and responsibilities and was critical for deployed Special Forces soldiers.
MG Bowra assumed command of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in March 1998. As commander, he was responsible for the institutional training base for all individual training for the Army Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations personnel, as well as for selected soldier from foreign countries. He additionally managed and executed the worldwide U.S. Army Security Assistance Program.
In March 2000, Bowra served as the Deputy Commander of NATO's Headquarters, Kosovo Forces. He provided oversight of all KFOR operations and served as second-in-command of the 44,000 multi-national NATO Command. He was responsible for the support of Kosovo's first-ever municipal elections, as well as for the employment of Russian forces in support of KFOR.
In January 2001, MG Bowra was assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff, Allied Forces Northern Europe NATO, and as Senior U.S. Military Representative in the Netherlands. He provided executive leadership for over 10,000 U.S. military and civilians, and served as the Senior U.S. Tactical Commander in the region.
In May 2003, Bowra organized and led NATO's first out-of-Europe mission to Afghanistan - where he conducted reconnaissance to prepare NATO for the assumption of the International Stability Mission in Afghanistan.
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