RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
At a young age Edwin Bowser was introduced to the wrong side of the law, but an arrest that happened more than 20 years ago turned it all around and led him to be the man he is today.
Bowser recalls being a child running around in the back of a car with no backseat, a routine traffic stop turned into an arrest when drugs were found in the car.
“He pulled us over and I hated him for it,” Bowser said. “It wasn't until later in life that I realized what came of it, the second and third order effects.”
Now Tech. Sgt. Bowser is assigned to the 569th U.S. Forces Police Squadron where he runs a flight charged to serve and protect the Kaiserslautern Military Community, spanning 1,100 square miles.
No, Bowser did not come into the Air Force “open general,” he came in at the age of 17 with a purpose and the desire to be a Defender.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than me,” Bowser said.
Having family members who spent time in prison, he witnessed first-hand rehabilitation by the system. Those memories inspired him to become a law enforcement officer.
“If I can, through a career in law enforcement, help at least one person,” Bowser said. “It makes it all worth it.”
Bowser’s more than 15 year military career has taken him all over the world with seven duty stations, four deployments and multiple temporary duties.
“I've traveled the world and met people that have made life changing impacts, and I’ll keep in touch with them for the rest of my life,” Bowser said. “The Air Force has afforded me so much, I've been to corners of the world and I never thought I would get to go.”
For the last three years, while stationed at Kapaun Air Station, his dedication and leadership abilities have led him to the position of flight sergeant. He also stands in as the flight chief, a step above his current grade, when needed.
“Tech. Sgt. Bowser is one of the most well-respected Defenders amongst his peers and is not afraid to lead from the front,” said Senior Master Sgt. Roy Lock, 569th USFPS superintendent. “He’s a constant source of professional development for his subordinates and always creates time to maintain relationships with his fellow NCOs and supervision.”
Squadron leadership gave the 86th Airlift Wing leadership Bowser’s name with an outstanding recommendation to name him Airlifter of the Week, and May 12 he was recognized in front of his flight. Later that same day, squadron leadership came to him again. This time with news from big Air Force – his name was on the list for promotion to Master Sergeant.
“Tech. Sgt. Bowser will continue to develop and grow his flight Airmen,” Roy said. “Without a doubt he is preparing the next line of Defenders to take over his position one day.”
As a flight sergeant, Bowser is charged with multiple duties to include oversight of day to day operations for off base law enforcement, as well as the Integrated Defense Forces protecting on base assets. Of course, there is always the administrative side that includes reviewing case files, criminal incident reports and law enforcement interventions, but every part of the job includes working with Airmen.
“The most challenging part of the job, I would say, is leading today's Airman,” Bowser said. “What I mean by that is when you look back in our time, there wasn't really a need to explain why to do something. We were told to do it and we did it. But today's Airmen are empowered, and they want to know ‘why’ and for good reason.”
Bowser works for his Airmen, ensuring they get the recognition they deserve, submitting them for awards, as well as providing discipline and corrective actions when needed.
“He is one of the most genuine individuals I’ve ever met,” Roy said. “He embodies human compassion, empathy and sympathy to every scenario.”
Changing leadership styles to suit the Airmen requires stepping outside the comfort zone and going through the freezing and unfreezing stages of change, Bowser said.
“Today's Airmen definitely want to know the ‘why,’” Bowser said. “And I feel like that gives them the motivation to knock stuff out of the park, and to do what needs to be done.”
When he isn’t leading a flight of Airmen he is making memories at home with his wife and two children.
“That feeling you get when you walk in the door and they're just like “da-da,” and they come running,” Bowser said. “Every worry goes away.”
Bowser claims his wife is a superhero, taking care of both children throughout the day, cooking three meals a day, playing and cleaning up after them.
“I get to come to work and converse with people,” Bowser said. “Because of COVID she hasn't been able to do that for a while.”
So when he gets home he enjoys helping where he can.
Some of his favorite memories growing up are the simple ones, food on the table and Mom helping him with his homework. He and his wife strive to make those memories for their little ones too. They sit around the table together, eat as a family, and when the weather is nice they take a walk down one of the many trails near their home.
“(I love) watching them grow and being able to provide for them, knowing they have everything they need and a lot of the stuff that they want,” Bowser said. “Not only all that, but to have my health and to be able to provide for them is my biggest achievement.”