Joe D. Dowdy

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Joe Dowdy
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of serviceSeptember 1979 – May 2004
RankUS Marine O6 shoulderboard.svg Colonel
Commands held1st Marine Regiment
Battles/warsBeirut (1982), Somalia (1993), Iraq War (2003)
Other workNASA

Joe D. Dowdy was the commanding officer of the Regimental Combat Team 1 (RCT-1) during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


He led his unit to within 130 km of Baghdad before being relieved of command on April 4, 2003 by Major General James Mattis, the commanding officer of the 1st Marine Division.[1] He was replaced by Colonel John Toolan, then chief of staff for the division. According to the spokesman for the 1st Marine Division at the time, Lieutenant Eric Knapp, Dowdy's removal "was a decision based on operating tempo." This decision was controversial to many in the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense. Dowdy became the Special Operations Manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in February 2007 but as of May 2012 was no longer employed there. He lives in Cocoa Beach, Florida, with his family.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

The replacement of Dowdy and his role in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq is referenced in the episode "Stay Frosty" of the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. The episode highlights the discontent within the Marine Corps over the decision, most notably amongst its officers.[citation needed]


  1. Ricks, Thomas E. (April 5, 2003). "Key Marine Commander Is Removed; No Explanation Given for Decision". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  2. "Kennedy Biographies: Joe Dowdy". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. May 2012. Retrieved January 7, 2017.

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