On Sunday, May 10th, 2020, CMSgt (Ret) Chesley E. “Buddy” Bowden Jr. died after a sustained bout with various cancers.
Buddy was a Tennessee native, born in Memphis in 1942 and entered the U.S. Army in 1959 serving with the 101st Airborne Division during such historic events as the integration of the University of Mississippi and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Leaving the Army in 1962 he worked for Firestone for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force and eventually becoming a member of the elite Air Force Combat Control Team. During his Air Force career, he would participate in combat deployments in Vietnam and Laos. Afterwards he served as a parachute instructor and parachute team coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy and as a Combat Controller with the 1st Special Operations Wing Combat Control Team. He would eventually retire after 20 years with the highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant. During his deployment heavy career, Buddy attained a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Troy State University and graduated with honors. His qualifications included the Air Traffic Control qualification badge, enlisted Air Crew badge, Master Parachutist Wings, Military Freefall Master Parachutist wings, SCUBA qualification Badge, Parachute Riggers badge, and South Vietnamese Senior Parachutist badge. He also earned the Bronze Star Medal with V device and Oak Leaf Cluster (indicating subsequent award), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak leaf Clusters, the RVN Cross of Gallantry and various unit, service, and campaign awards.
Following his successful Air Force career, he became a licensed real estate broker and led or was a part of several successful business ventures to include working as a right-of-way agent for ATT and traveling the eastern United States before eventually settling in Hohenwald Tennessee with his wife Constance.
He was a Master Mason and a member of Hohenwald Lodge #607.
He is survived by his wife Constance, His sisters Judy (Don) Chandler and Marilyn (Billy) Powers,
His children Beau (Becky) Bowden, Joan (Rock) Murphy, Calley (John) Cook, Sherry (Marty) Petty, and Julie (Joshua) Theiss,
His Grandchildren Ben, Amanda, Andi, Adam, Cassie, Catie, Courtney, Kayla, Miranda, C.J., and Gavin.
His Great Grandchildren Troy, Joey, Kherington, Maddux, Harper, and Teagan.
The family requests that contributions to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation https://specialops.org/ or a charity of their choice be made in lieu of flowers or gifts.
No services will be held at this time.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Chesley "Buddy" E. Bowden, please visit our floral store.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
1137 Marbella Plaza Drive, Tampa FL 33619