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178th Chief serves community as Guard and Civil Air Patrol member

  • Published
  • By Story by Capt. Lou Burton
  • 178th Wing

The call to serve ones community does not always start with raising your right hand to join the military. Rather, it starts with an innate desire to give something of yourself to serve your community at large which can manifest in a variety of capacities. For Chief Master Sgt. Peter Bowden, 178th Wing Security Forces Manager, his call to service began with another organization long before enlisting in the Air Force. That organization is the Civil Air Patrol.

“I am approaching 35 years of continued service in January 2022,” said Bowden. “I joined as a cadet at age 14 and transitioned into the senior member program in 1992.”

Bowden currently serves as the Ohio CAP Wing Commander as a CAP Colonel. There are 52 wings in the CAP and each state is organized as a wing, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

“Chief Bowden is one of about 50 volunteers who lead CAP efforts in each state as a wing commander,” said CAP Col Richard L. Griffith, Great Lakes Region Vice-Commander. “Here in Ohio he shepherds 1,100 volunteers, 31 squadrons and 7 Air Force-purchased aircraft.”

CAP is a public service organization that carries out emergency service missions by both air and ground through emergency services and operational missions such as search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian services and radio communications. The organization has been a U.S. Air Force Auxiliary since 1947.

“To sum up our missions, we exist to serve America by performing humanitarian missions for our communities, states, and nation; develop our country’s youth through program of military leadership; and educated our citizens on the importance of air and space throughout internal and external programs,” said Bowden. “Finally, we are a part of the Total Force. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserves, and the Air Force Auxiliary (CAP). We are a force multiplier and come at a low cost to our customers.”

Currently, Bowden is working to connect the 178th Wing with CAP program that will be mutually beneficial to both organizations.
“This year I met with Col. Fitzgerald, 178th Wing Commander, to discuss the future of creating a squadron here at Springfield, and she gave me the nod,” said Bowden. “Ultimately, I’d like to see Springfield function as a hub for Emergency Services training and response.”

For Bowden, the ability to help others give back to their communities is a rewarding prospect.

“As a longtime member who has served as a cadet and senior member, I’ve experience benefits as a young adult and over the past 30 years in adulthood,” said Bowden. “As a cadet in middle and high school, I learned valuable life lessons in addition to gaining insight to military life. I enjoyed flying in CAP and military aircraft, adventure activities, and everything involving aviation. As an adult, I’ve come to enjoy the emergency services aspect of our missions, but also by mentoring young Americans who often go on to do great things. In short, I get to serve our communities and help develop young, air minded citizens who want to contribute to their own communities and our nation.”

Bowden’s enthusiasm for the program is inspiring confidence in his own organization.

“I am excited about the experience Chief Bowden brings to this new role, and his vision for recruiting CAP Airmen, building a strong readiness program and partnering with the Air National Guard,” said Griffith. “I would encourage our Total Force partners to reach out to Chief Bowden and see how they can support CAP's efforts across the State of Ohio!”